Looking for creative ways to tell the story of Esther to kids?
In this blog, learn 10 simple yet practical hacks.
Let’s get right into it!
1) Play a Mini Beauty Pageant
Let’s look into Esther’s beauty queen story first.
In Esther 2:3, King Ahasuerus conducted a search for beautiful ladies to replace Queen Vashti. This sounds more like today’s Miss Universe or Miss World beauty pageant.
Esther was one of the many beautiful women brought to the palace for the king’s selection. Such a great honor and privilege for this Jewish girl.
Imagine the women falling in line with their best dresses and cosmetics. They were probably showcasing their signature moves, walks, and communication skills as well.
Then, the verdict of the selection came. Guess what!
Yes, Esther got the crown! The king chose her to be his new queen.
Imagine her doing her final walk as in modern-day pageants.
Now, it’s time to roleplay the scene.
Assign someone among your kids to play Esther, someone to act like any of the other women, and another as King Ahasuerus.
Make a script. Let them memorize their respective lines. Then, have them put on appropriate costumes and makeup. Prepare some props too.
Well, it won’t be exactly as it was in the Bible for sure. But at least, they get a glimpse of the actual scene.
Now, here we go! Lights. Cameras. Actors. In 3-2-1, action!
The girls enter the palace and bow to the king. The king approaches and asks them questions to know them personally and test their wisdom and intellect.
After which, he selects the top seven until he gets down to the best two.
A moment of silence. Everyone feels nervous, especially the two contenders.
Drumroll sound effects. Some nerve-racking music if you desire.
The king announces, “And the winner is…our new queen…Esther!”
He then places the crown on Esther’s head, and the new queen performs her final walk. Everyone claps and congratulates her.
And that’s it! Isn’t it fun? Your kids will surely enjoy this.
Why is roleplaying a good method of storytelling?
Here are 3 reasons why:
- The story comes alive and makes more sense to your children.
- Acting out the scenario allows them to visualize and interpret the story.
- It encourages them to reflect and discuss what they’ve learned from the story.
With these, there’s no way Esther’s story will be boring for your children to learn. What do you think?
2) Conduct a Reader’s Theater
What is it?
Reader’s theater is a storytelling strategy that combines reading and performance. Its goal is to enhance your kids’ reading skills while making sure they understand what they read.
In a nutshell, how is it done?
It is as simple as follows:
- Give your kids specific characters in the story to read and play.
- Let them read their lines out loud with an expressive voice and some gestures.
What do educators say about this activity? What tips do they have for you to nail it?
According to Judy Freeman, an educational consultant, “Reader’s Theater [gives] children the luxury of lingering over a story.” Acting it out several times allows them to “understand all its nuances.”
She adds, “Too often, children read a story and only understand it at its most superficial literal level.” But with the reader’s theater, “they’re not just reading a story; they’re living it.”
Susan Finney, a retired educator, gives some tips for making a reader’s theater meaningful and enjoyable:
- Choose only the scripts that are fun to act out with good dialogue. “Boring scripts are no better than boring stories.”
- Start slowly and let the participants take their time so they can “feel comfortable in the performance mode.”
- Model the part of each character and match the role to the assigned reader.
- Combine parts if there are too many. Cut out unnecessary scenes and characters.
- Scripts are not to be taken strictly as they are. The reader may modify them if they work better in any way.
How should you organize it?
The key to a successful reader’s theater is a well-written script.
Make sure that it conveys the appropriate feelings and emotions of the scenes. Everyone should have a role to play as well.
Some portions can be read in chorus while some can be read individually or in pairs.
In addition, utilize your imagination and creativity. You may use sound effects to play in the background to make the presentation livelier and more meaningful.
Why is it easier to do than roleplaying?
Here are 4 reasons why:
- The participants don’t have to memorize their lines.
- They don’t necessarily need costumes, props, lights, cameras, and other equipment.
- There is no stage blocking to consider.
- They just have to focus on reading and expression.
Simple, isn’t it? Yet, it’s a lot of fun.
3) Do Interactive Storytelling
Goodbye to traditional storytelling!
Interactive storytelling is different from your usual storytelling.
As the name implies, it is interactive. That means your kids can ask questions while you tell a story. You can also use props, costumes, and sounds to make it more interesting.
Doing so stimulates all senses in the learning process.
What are the steps on how to do it?
- Read the story of Esther in the Bible.
- Choose a character inside the story to be the storyteller. He or she will narrate everything from his or her point of view. You may want to choose Esther’s character or a Jew from the Persian Empire.
- Prepare the appropriate costumes or props that the storyteller needs throughout the presentation. Carrying real objects makes the story exciting for kids.
- Think about portions of the story where you can involve the children. For example, during Esther’s coronation, you can ask them to shout, “Long live the queen!” Or, they may just clap, jump, dance, and so on.
- Ask one of your kids to play a major role (e.g. that scene where King Ahasuerus points his scepter to Queen Esther when she arrives).
- Ask other kids to throw lines or ask and answer questions during the presentation. Keep it as natural and unscripted as possible to make the portrayal realistic.
Compared to roleplaying, interactive storytelling is more spontaneous and doesn’t need to be rehearsed at all.
4) Watch an Esther Musical Film
If roleplaying and interactive storytelling seem like a lot of preparation to make, you might prefer to just watch a movie.
You don’t have to rehearse anything. Just choose a movie and you’re good to go.
Now, get your popcorn. Sit back and relax while the television does all the entertainment for you.
Here are some of the best Esther musicals you may consider:
This film is produced by Sight & Sound Theatres, Virgil Films & Entertainment, and Virgil Films.
It gives life to Esther’s story with its brand-new, original stage production.
Magnificent set. Special effects. Live animals. Stunning props and costumes. Seamless cinematography. Appropriate music and sounds. Commendable acting.
This Broadway-style musical is produced by Five Lanterns Productions and performed by Wisdom Builders high school students in Indianapolis.
The script is written by Aaron Alsmeyer and Beth Walsman. The music and lyrics are composed by Aaron Alsmeyer.
The film runs for approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes with some intermission.
Compared to other Esther musicals, this one is more precise about what the Bible says. Also, the actors portray their characters with maturity.
This musical is performed by the children of Christ United Methodist Church.
Yes, unlike the other musicals we mentioned, this one is an all-children production!
Dialogues delivered by kids. Songs sung by kids too. Interesting, isn’t it?
They move and sing too young for their roles but their props and costumes will make you forget they’re actually children.
See for yourself by watching this!
This play is co-written by Henry Gainey and Amber Gainey Meade. It is performed at the Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California.
Like our second featured musical, this one also seeks to be as accurate to the Bible as possible. True enough, it is.
But unlike the third one, this drama is played by an adult cast. So, you can expect mature singing and acting.
Aside from this, the setup looks realistic. The actors’ dresses and costumes are made of premium fabric. You can also see from the props and backdrops that everything is thoroughly constructed.
5) Challenge the Kids With Scavenger Hunt
What is it?
Scavenger Hunt is a game where you prepare a list of specific items. The participants have to go around and find those items.
Every participant’s goal is to be the first to complete the list or at least get the most number of items.
How should you do it?
- List some items found in the story of Esther such as the following:
- Cups for feasting
- Have your kids search for those items, getting as many as they can. You may set a time limit for some thrill.
- As the timer stops, gather everyone. Reward the one who gets the most number of items.
- As they settle down, begin telling them the story of Esther.
6) Interview Esther
Who says interviews are not fun?
Assign one of your kids to act as Esther and the rest as interviewers.
Then, prepare some questions for the interviewers to ask her. But, they can also ask any questions they think on the spot.
Here are some questions to give you an idea:
- What was your real name? What did it mean?
- Where were you from?
- Who were your parents?
- What tribe did you belong to?
- What were you doing in Persia?
- How did your cousin Mordecai influence you while growing up?
- Were you aware that you’re beautiful?
- How did it feel like being chosen as a candidate for the new queen?
- Were you scared to go before the king?
- What beauty regimens did the Persians use?
- How did you feel when the king pointed his scepter toward you?
- How was the experience of being crowned as the new queen?
- What happened to the women who weren’t selected?
- How was your life as the king’s wife?
- Did you enjoy your stay in the palace?
- Have you always dreamed of becoming a queen?
- Which would you prefer, being beautiful or being wise?
- Which Bible promises did you claim when you learned that somebody wanted to kill your people?
- How were you able to save your people from Haman’s plot?
- What advice would you give young women when they feel anxious about their future?
With these prepared questions, the interview will be spontaneous, thus avoiding dead air. But again, your kids may add impromptu questions as they desire.
7) Celebrate the Purim
What is it?
Purim is a feast celebrated by the Jews in commemoration of God’s deliverance in Queen Esther’s time.
The story behind it
As we’ve learned from her story, Esther’s tact and charm brought her the royal favor and title of the queen.
She assumed this position during the seventh year of King Ahasuerus in 478 BC. This would have been soon after the disastrous war in Greece.
In 474 BC, Haman cast lots and secured a royal decree, authorizing the slaying of all Jews within the borders of the Persian Empire.
With this decree, Haman sought revenge against Mordecai. It was because the latter would always refuse to bow down before him every time he entered the palace (Esther 3:2-6).
This decree made the Jews anxious.
Meanwhile, Mordecai reported the matter to Esther. He warned her that God wanted her to be queen at this hour of crisis (verses 1-17 of chapter 4).
Eventually, Esther appealed to the king on behalf of the Jews. She would do everything to save them from the deadly consequences of the decree.
However, the problem was that she herself was also a Jew. And it was her first time to tell the king this truth (chapters 6–7).
But soon, Haman was executed. With this, the king elevated Mordecai to Haman’s former position.
Soon, he signed a decree prepared by Mordecai that, in effect, reversed Haman’s order (verse 1 of chapter 8).
How has it been traditionally celebrated?
In joyful celebration of their miraculous deliverance, the Jews declared a festal period known as Purim. Hebrews called it Lots.
This feast served as a remembrance of Haman’s casting of lots connected with the decree for slaying the Jews. At the same time, it commemorated Esther’s bravery and devotion in saving her people from the dangerous plot.
During this time, they performed the following:
- Mishloach manot – exchange of food and drink as gifts
- Mattanot la-evyonim – donation of charity to the poor
- Se’udat Purim – eating of a celebratory meal
- Kriat ha-megillah – public recitation (“reading of the megillah“) of the Scroll of Esther, usually in synagogue
- Al HaNissim – additional recitation to the daily prayer and grace after meal
How can you simulate this feast?
Organize a simple potluck for the family.
Alongside, you can perform an exchange of gifts or hold a ceremony of prayer and reading of the book of Esther.
You may also coordinate with your local community, school, or church to donate charity to the poor.
8) Take Your Kids to Palaces and Museums Featuring Esther
Who says field trips are not a good idea?
These are some Esther-inspired places you can visit:
a. Biblical Lands Museum
King Darius I built the Afadna Palace in Shushan, which his successor, Xerxes, believed to be King Ahasuerus, completed later on.
Serving as the replica of this legendary palace is the Biblical Lands Museum in Jerusalem.
The builders constructed it according to the biblical descriptions and uncovered historical artifacts obtained by a team of French archaeologists led by Jean Farrow in the late 1960s.
For instance, the king’s throne overlooks the exit to the courtyard.
True enough, the Bible describes the original throne as facing the courtyard. Here, the king could see Queen Esther dressed in her royal garment.
b. Louvre Museum
This museum in France houses the archaeological findings of the same team of French archaeologists we mentioned earlier.
These were some of the items they uncovered:
- Bases of columns
- Capitals of the columns engraved with the heads of bulls
While most of these are in the Louvre Museum, some are still in Persia, where the excavations took place.
c. Shushan Palace
This palace is no longer in its original state. Fortunately, it left some remains on the outskirts of the city of Shush in western Iran.
Historically, it used to be a winter palace of the kings of Persia. Eventually, it became the setting of Esther’s story in the Bible.
Chapters 2–4 of her book describe the palace with a massive gateway. When you enter it, you can see a large public square.
Then, there are several courtyards based on chapters 5–6, one of which is the inner court.
9) Go to a Church Near You
What if there are no palaces or museums near you? Or what if you’re out of budget?
Well, it won’t cost you much to visit the nearest church in your locality.
Bring your children and their favorite Esther storybook with you.
After praying and touring around the church vicinity, find a quiet place to settle. Now, begin the storytelling session.
If the minister is around, you can also invite him to give insights into the story. He may answer your kids’ questions as well.
10) Invite the Whole Family to Play Esther in Heroes: The Bible Trivia Game
What is this game?
Heroes: the Bible Trivia Game is developed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in coordination with Hope Channel International, Inc.
It introduces you to the Bible characters portrayed as “heroes” whose inspiring stories have lessons to learn from. But ultimately, it leads you to finding hope and restoration in Jesus, the ultimate Superhero.
How does it work?
The game walks you through the lives of various Bible characters from Genesis to Revelation.
These heroes ask you trivial questions about their lives based on the Bible. You must answer the questions correctly to accumulate “experience points” or XPs. The more XPs you get, the more heroes you unlock.
Each round consists of 12 questions ranging from easy to difficult as the game progresses.
To help you answer difficult questions, you can buy special effects named after the heroes themselves. For instance, the Daniel Effect reveals the Bible verse that leads you to the correct answer.
What’s more exciting is that you can challenge your family and friends. Just share with them the link to the game and they can play with you in multiplayer mode.
What Have You Learned From This Article?
Did you enjoy this article?
Which one of these 10 storytelling hacks do you like the most?
Do you have other ideas of telling Esther’s story to your kids?
Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below.