Help with game for 3rd grade ccd

I’m thinking up a game for my lesson on sin and confession. We just covered the 10 Commandments.

I think I’ll have a target on the floor that the kids ( in two teams) have to throw a bean bag. If they hit the target, they pick up a white balloon and run to a station called “State of Grace.”

If they 'miss the mark (sin)" they have to pick up a black balloon and run to a station called confession. Here they drop off their black balloon and run back for a white one. Now, they can go run with their white balloon to a “State of Grace.” First team to get all their members to a state of Grace win.

What do you think? Do you see any problems or improvements of which I haven’t thought?

There is no concrete connection between the game and the Commandments.

Third graders do not have well-developed abstract reasoning abilities. Their games need to be pretty concrete for them to get the connection.

So, the idea of the target/missing the target is a good start-- but they will not make that connection to the things they do in every day life.

I would change the game to have concentric cirles representing the 10 commandments-- maybe even have less than 10 by combining the 1/2/3rd, 6th/9th, and 7th/10th. Whatever circle their beanbag lands on, they draw a card for that commandment. They must then give an example of an action that would be a “virtue” in that situation and an action that would be a “vice” (a.k.a. sin) in that situation.

This would tie in the virtues as the opposite of sin-- temperance, prudence, justice, etc.

For example, I throw my beanbag and it lands on (4). I have to state the commandment (that helps them memorize them) and then I have to give a virtue and vice. The virtue might be doing the chores assigned by parents. The vice might be talking back to parents.

As far as scoring-- well, some games don’t have to have scoring or a winner-- just tossing the beanbag is fun.

But if you want to set it up as a game-- then you could do some variation on the above.

I like the balloons and the state of grace idea-- but again, it’s not real concrete and 3rd graders might not grasp it.

Maybe there’s a way to incorporate those ideas of yours into the part I’ve suggested where you are dealing with concrete commandments, sins, virtues, etc.

How I long for those days when children at this age were set to rote memorization of questions from the Baltimore Catechism instead of this insipid, market-driven approach to making theology “fun”.

Well, when you sign up to teach catechism, you can do it any way you please. Whether or not the children will learn something from you, well now that’s a different story.

Rote memorization has merits and its place in teaching, but it also has many shortcomings.

I don’t advocate games for the sake of games or games that don’t have anything to do with the lesson at hand. But, using a game as a vehicle to teach a lesson is a sound instructional strategy.

I use simple flash cards when I teach 10 Commandments. It is not a game really, rather some kind of activity. There are numbers on one side and the frase: " God said…"
On the other side there side there is a commandment. First I ask kids and they answer and we check together. Then we do group competion: two groups ask one another. I find it really helpful.

The game is a supplement to the main lesson, not the lesson itself.


I should have been more clear. The lesson is a follow up to the 10 Commandments.

It’s actually about sin. We are talking about mortal and venial sins. And, we are talking about Confession.

There are two routes to memorization: repetition and intense experience. I’m trying to use both–but, I only have a hour once a week. My own kids memorize their Catechism.

It’s useless to assign homework for CCD. The kids forget it. The parents lose it. I think my best shot is to go over vital components of the curricula as many times and in as many different ways that I can.

For example, for the 10 Commandments, we:

  1. filled out a worksheet, copying the 10 commandments
  2. discussed the 10 Commandments in detail–what they mean.
  3. read them out loud every week for four weeks.
  4. sang a song 3 times that lists the 10 Commandments set to music
  5. played a game of 10 Commandment Bingo–in which they had to identify the Commandments for prizes
  6. Quizzed the kids orally over the 10 Commandments.
  7. Sent home a copy with a note to parents to have their child memorize the 10 Commandments.

We’ve used repetition, different senses, and games all to teach about and encourage repetition of the 10 Commandments.

But, really, there is a serious limitation to what I can do in a CCD class. It makes me sad that the kids are missing out at home.


One activity that we do is, we have one person be “God” and one person is the person who is seeking a relationship with God (“it”).

The rest of the people are various different sins - stealing, anger, fighting, disobedience, etc. (try to focus on stuff that kids actually do, although someone will probably throw in bank robbery, murder, etc., as well)

You start off with “God” and the person who is “it” standing right next to each other. You say, “This is a good relationship with God.”

Then, the various “sins” start getting in between “God” and “it”, until they are pushed as far apart as possible. (Each sin names himself or herself as they come in between God and the person: for example “I am that time you stole a box of cookies without asking permission”, or words to that effect).

When everyone who wants to has pushed into the line up, “it” then has to name off each of the “sins”; as each “sin” is named, they go back to their original seat, and the line closes up, until finally, all of the sins have been named, and “God” and the person are standing right next to each other again.

You then say, “Naming our sins out loud has a powerfully positive effect on our relationship with God; this is one of the reasons why we go to Confession.” :slight_smile:

If the person needed help remembering what the sins were, say, “This is one reason why we have the priest in the Confessional with us - he helps us to remember things that we may have forgotten.”

oooooooooo. I like! Very much.

I like that activity, too. Another game you might try: First have the class recite the ten commandments together. Write them on the board. Then, divide the group into teams. Each team is given a vice or virtue and asked to identify the corresponding commandment. Every right answer gets a point. The team with the most points at the end wins.

Another suggestion, you can order holy cards with the ten commandments from Autom. If you give Christmas gifts to the kids, they can be a good followup for the lessons.

Reading the post, I am currently teaching 4th adn 5th grade CCD, but find that even my grade levels would not grasp the concepts that you have listed. One “craft” that I do is take two paper towel tubes wrapped in white computer paper. Let them dry fully. Then, on a piece of colored construction paper (not black,brown, or white) the children write the Ten Commandments either writing the Roman Numeral One or the 1. After they have written them down with markers, they take one paper towel tube and blue it about one inch from the outside. Repeat the process on the other side. Their “scrolls” then get wrapped up and you can use red or any other color yarn you have available to “tie” them.

I knew of another 3rd Grade CCD teacher who had the children make “booklets” of the Ten Commandments and how they understood it. Of course, the children’s understanding of the 6th is pretty close to the 4th.

I teach 6th-grade catechism. The kids do fine without games, as I expect they do during the regular school day. I do observe that the 6th-graders seem to be much more on the ball than 5th, more than one extra year of living would suggest.