Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Godly Play: The Flood and the Ark

To be honest, I have always hesitated to tell this story. Because it is a story that is so familiar to almost every child and adult, I have feared it might be difficult to get past their already firmly formed perceptions of it. However, my kids have been aware for some time that there is a Godly Play story about the Noah and the ark, and after seeing it on the shelves in the Godly Play room in Wittenberg a couple of weeks ago, they have been asking for it. So, I decided to learn and tell it to them this week.

My materials for "The Flood and the Ark". There is also a small
Playmobil dove in a basket that is not shown in this picture.
Yes, my ark and the animals are from Playmobil. Though I would love to have the beautiful wooden one made by the Lindenwerkstatt Panitzsch, I can't justify spending the money when we have a Playmobil one already that the kids really love. I added a wooden rainbow, Godly Play wooden figures for Noah and his wife, and a brown felt underlay.

The rainbow, the sign of God's promise
never to flood the earth again.
Noah and his wife with the stone altar they built to
thank God for making the water recede.
The story is told with poetic language, such as, in explaining the reason for God sending the flood: "People began to do bad things. God decided to send a great flood of water to wash everything and make it clean again." Of course, there is a direct correlation here with baptism and words about the flood appear again in the Holy Baptism story. 

My son, the 9-year-old Bible scholar, was quite irritated when the story only mentioned the dove and left out the raven that was sent out as well. This happens frequently when Godly Play stories leave out information that he deems important. It drives him batty when we skip over the plagues in the Exodus story. I explained to him that Godly Play stories aren't strictly historical accounts and try to get to the heart of the story rather than explaining every detail that may or may not be important.

During the Wondering, my 6-year-old daughter became interested in how we got the stories from the old Testament in the first place. This led to a great discussion about stories being passed down orally and eventually being put into writing. I told her that I'd have to tell her "The Story of Writing" from Montessori's Great Lessons at some point. 

During the Creative Time, they both chose to paint and worked on pictures that had absolutely nothing to do with Noah and the ark, which I suspected they would. I suspect it will take them a few weeks to wrap their heads around this overly familiar story and consider it more deeply.

Special Note: After I wrote this post, Storyteller let me know that there is a note in Godly Play Vol. 2 that says, "When you reach the part where the waters go down, you may want to introduce the raven before telling about the dove. We omit the raven from the main presentation because it can be a distraction, especially for younger children." Wish I had seen that before I told this to my son!


  1. Quick comment! The English script of the story includes a note that the raven can be added when telling the story to older children. I don't have the books with me here in England so I cannot quote it exactly, but you might even want to check with someone else and add a little edit or footnote to your post.

  2. The timing of this post in our day here is quite interesting.

    You'll recall from my blog that it is Noah and the "gluing of cotton balls on rainbows" that Dinah used as her way of expressing her dissatisfaction with the way godly things were presented to her in Sunday school (: This came up again today...

    I've been working on our Advent celebration stories -- 24 of them. I have gotten all the topics planned -- but only 4 of the lessons written. One of these is Creation and one is Eve's taking of the fruit. I first thought that these were such familiar stories to me that there really wasn't going to be anything in there to add beyond the "and then this happened, the end." However, when I re-read,carefully, the Bible passages about both creation and the fall, I couldn't believe what I had missed all of these years!

    The girls and I were talking lightly about my work on the secret advent lessons coming up and I told them what I had found. How many times I had heard and read these stories adn, yet, God had something new in both for me when I prayed for guidance for our lessons. And that tomorrow I'm going to be writing the lesson for Noah --insert two little girls groaning..."Noah?! Not Noah!"

    "Let's wait and see what new and deeper truths God might be waiting to reveal with a fresh reading of Noah's story."

    "Okay Mama." come sarcastic voices.

    "And......(long pause)....I'm looking most forward to gluing cotton balls onto a rainbow!"


    I'm excited to see if God reveals something "more" to me in this familar story tomorrow. (:

    And I really like the idea of washing the world clean, as well as the similar symbolism of baptism.

    See, maybe he's already working it out for me through you(:

    1. I really chuckle picturing that conversation with your girls! Childen are so astute in their observations. I am glad that you are countering the "cotton ball" experience by presenting these familiar stories again.

      I once read Berryman's reaction to child who complained about hearing a story again. Berryman replied something like this, "Hmmm . . . you don't like to repeat things, huh? Well, I guess there's now point in repeating your birthday this year, right?" Of course, this got a reaction from the child and led to a meaningful discussion about how we repeat many things in life, because we grow and change in the process.

      Let us know how it goes!