Looking for creative ways to tell the story of Esther for kids?
In this blog, learn ten simple yet practical ideas to try.
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 (ESV), King Ahasuerus conducted a search for beautiful virgins 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 (Ellen White, Daughters of God 45.2), wasn’t it?
You can imagine the women falling in line with their best dresses and cosmetics. We don’t know exactly, but 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.
Can you imagine her doing her final walk like what we often see from pageants?
Now, it’s time to roleplay the scene.
Assign someone from your kids to play Esther, someone to act like the other women, and another as King Ahasuerus.
Make a script. Memorize your respective lines. Then, put on your appropriate costumes and makeup. And, of course, prepare your props.
Well, it won’t be exactly as it was in the Bible for sure. But at least, you mimic a bit of what really happened and experience what it might have been like.
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! What a fun activity to make Esther’s “beauty queen” story memorable for your kids by actually engaging them!
Why is roleplaying a good method of storytelling?
Here are three reasons why:
- The story comes alive and makes more sense for your children.
- Acting out the scenario allows them to visualize and interpret the story creatively.
- 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 combining 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:
- Assign yourselves to play specific characters in the story to be read.
- Read your lines out loud with expressive voice and gestures.
In doing this, be unique in your interpretation of the characters.
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 reader’s theater, “they’re not just reading a story; they’re living it.”
Susan Finney, a retired educator, gives some tips in 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 take time. In this way, the participants “will 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. Then, cut out unnecessary scenes and characters.
- Scripts are not to be taken strictly as they are. Modify them if they work better in any way.
Now, how should you actually organize it?
The key to organizing Esther’s reader’s theater is a well-written script. Don’t you agree?
With this, make sure that the script conveys the appropriate feelings and emotions of the scenes. And, of course, make sure that everyone has a role to play.
Some portions can be read in chorus. On the other hand, some can be read individually or by pairs.
In addition, utilize your imagination and creativity. You may use sound effects to play in the background. In this way, the performance will become livelier and more meaningful.
Why is it easier to do than roleplaying?
Here are four reasons why:
- You don’t have to memorize your lines.
- You don’t necessarily need costumes, props, lights, cameras, and other equipment.
- There are no blockings to consider.
- You just have to focus on reading and expression.
Isn’t it so simple to do? Yet, it’s a lot of fun.
3. Do Interactive Storytelling
Say goodbye to passive storytelling!
Interactive storytelling is different from your usual storytelling.
As the name implies, it is interactive. Meaning, your kids can recite lines or ask questions. Plus, it also uses props, costumes, and sounds that hook the listeners’ attention.
Thus, it stimulates all senses into 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/She will narrate everything from his/her point of view. For instance, 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 storytelling. Carrying real objects makes the story exciting for kids.
- Think about portions in the story where you can involve the children. For example, upon Esther’s coronation, you can ask them to shout, “Long live the queen!” You can even ask them to clap, jump, close their eyes, pick something from a box, and so on.
- Ask your kids to play a major role. For example, one of them will play a specific act by King Ahasuerus. Let’s say, that scene where he points his scepter to Queen Esther when she arrives.
- Ask other kids to throw lines or ask and answer questions during the entire storytelling process. This makes up for a bigger audience. But 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
If roleplaying and interactive storytelling seem like a lot of preparation to make, why not watch a film?
You don’t have to rehearse anything. You just need to look for a good movie to play.
Then, 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 can 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 state 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. Altogether, these run for approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes with some intermission.
Compared to other Esther musicals, this musical is more accurate with what the Bible says. Also, the actors portrayed 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! Isn’t it interesting?
Dialogues delivered by kids. Songs sung by kids, too.
Yes, 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 of Costa Mesa, California.
Like the second musical we featured earlier, this one also seeks to be as accurate to the Bible as possible. True enough, it is.
But unlike the third one we mentioned, this drama is played by an adult cast. So, you can expect mature singing and acting.
Aside from this, the setup looks realistic. The clothes the actors wear are made of premium fabric. You can also see from the props and backdrops that everything is thoroughly constructed.
5. Challenge the Kids With a Scavenger Hunt
What is it?
A scavenger hunt is a game where the organizers prepare a list of specific items. Then, the participants seek to gather or complete all items on the list.
Every participant’s goal is to be the first to complete the list or get the most items on that list.
How should you do it?
- List some items found in the story of Esther. These are some examples:
- Cups for feasting
- Let your kids search for the missing items and get as many as they can. You can even set a time limit for a thrill.
- As the timer stops, gather everyone. Give a reward to the one who gets the most number of items.
- Sit down with them to tell the story of Esther.
What a physically active game, isn’t it? Your kids now have enough energy to listen to your story without getting bored.
6. Interview Esther
Who says interviews are not fun?
Have your kids interview Queen Esther.
Well, not the real Esther who already died, of course. Instead, assign one of them to be Esther and the rest as interviewers.
Then, prepare some questions for the interviewers to ask the queen. 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 do 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 other girls who weren’t selected?
- How was your life being the wife of King Ahasuerus?
- 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?
- What promises in the Bible did you cling to 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 girls when they feel anxious about their future?
With these prepared questions, the interview will be spontaneous and you can avoid 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 background story
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. It was about January 478 BC. This would have been soon after the disastrous war in Greece.
In April 474 BC, Haman, the royal favorite, cast lots and secured a royal decree. It authorized the slaying of all Jews within the Persian Empire’s borders.
With this decree, Haman sought revenge upon Mordecai (verses 2-6). It was because the latter would always refuse to bow down before him every time he entered the palace.
This decree made the Jews anxious.
Meanwhile, Mordecai reported the matter to Esther (Esther 4:1-7, ESV). He warned her that God wanted her to be queen at this hour of crisis (verses 8-17).
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 was a Jew herself, too. And it was her first time to tell the king this truth (Esther 6 and 7).
But soon, Haman was executed. With this, the king elevated Mordecai to Haman’s former position.
And in June, he signed a decree prepared by Mordecai that, in effect, reversed Haman’s order (Esther 8:1, ESV).
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 prayers and the grace after meals
How can you simulate this feast?
Organize a simple potluck. Prepare food for your family members to eat together.
Alongside, you can perform an exchange of gifts. Also, hold a ceremony of prayer and reading of the book of Esther.
Finally, 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 a quick field trip isn’t a good idea?
These are some Esther-inspired places you can go to:
a. Biblical Lands Museum
King Darius I built the Afadna Palace in Shushan. His successor, Xerxes, believed to be King Ahasuerus, completed it later.
The Biblical Lands Museum in Jerusalem has served as the replica of this legendary palace.
The builders constructed it according to the biblical descriptions and uncovered historical artifacts by a team of French archaeologists. Jean Farrow led these researchers 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 by 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 here 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 her book in the Bible.
Chapters 2, 3, and 4 of the book of Esther 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 and 6. The inner court is one of these.
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. A church is God’s palace, too.
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, too.
10. Invite the Whole Gang 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 find hope and restoration in Jesus, the ultimate Superhero.
How does it work?
The game walks you through the journey 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 XP. The more XPs you get, the more heroes you unlock.
The game consists of 12 questions. These questions range from easy to difficult while 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. Then, they can play with you.
What Have You Learned From This Article?
What do you think of these ten tips to make Esther’s story appealing to your kids?
Which one do you think is the most practical strategy for you to do? How do you plan to do it?
Aside from what we mentioned, do you have other fun and creative ideas to tell Esther’s story?
Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below. We’re excited to learn from you, too.