What comes to your mind when you think about Thanksgiving? I’m guessing you probably don’t think about the world’s deepest trench or largest desert. But these are exactly the types of things mentioned in Psalm 95 as the psalmist exhorts his readers to praise God with thanksgiving. I want to show you a simple lesson/devotional for kids that unpacks Psalm 95:1-7 to help us all remember WHY we should give thanks to God.
For this interactive lesson you’ll need: a Bible, a world map or globe, and pictures of the places mentioned in the lesson (which are already included in the article below and are also available as printable visuals and PPT slides if you want to use them with more than a few children). Once you’ve got these things gathered, grab your kids and let’s get started!
God is Worthy!
I’m going to say some different pairs of items, and I want you to guess which one is worth more money. Which is worth more, a pile of paper or a pile of gold? A toy car or a real car? A doll house or a real house? A football or a football stadium? Different things have different worth. Some things are worth a little, and others are worth a lot. There is another word that sounds like worth—worthy. Worthy means to have worth or value and to be special. God is the most worthy of all! God is deserving of great honor because he is so amazing. He deserves our thanks because he’s so awesome! Nothing or no one has more worth than God. He is worthy of all our thanks and all of our lives! That’s our Big Idea. Every time I ask, “What’s the Big Idea?” I want you to shout back, “God is worthy of my thanks!” We’re going to shout this a lot as we read the Bible and pretend to travel around the world to visit some incredible places that will help us learn that God is worthy.
(Just for fun you may even want to line up seats in rows like in a train or airplane as you pretend to travel to the places mentioned below. Of course, you should also make train, plain, and submarine sounds as you go along too! Wooooooooh! Woooooooh! Vroooooooooom!)
We’re going to pretend to take a trip today. I’m going to read a Psalm (song) from the Bible that helps us learn about thanking God. This Psalm talks about different parts of the earth that show how great and powerful God is! (Read Psalm 95:1-2.) We’re going to start our trip right here. These verses tell us to sing to the Lord and come to his presence with thanksgiving. Say with me, “God is worthy of my thanks!” Let’s sing a song of praise to God right now. (Sing a simple praise song the children already know such as “God is So Good”.) The rest of this Psalm is showing what it looks like to thank God. As we travel, we will find many reasons that God is worthy of our thanks!
Our next stop is the country of China. (Show picture of the Great Wall of China and point to China on the map.) This is the Great Wall of China. It was built by the Chinese emperors (who were very powerful kings) over hundreds of years in an attempt to protect China from enemies. But as impressive as these emperors and their wall seems, this is nothing compared to how impressive and important God is. (Read Psalm 95:3.) God is above every ruler that has ever lived. He is the greatest! We should thank him for being so great. What’s the Big Idea? God is worthy of my thanks!
The next stop on our trip is the Grand Canyon in the United States (show picture and point to Arizona, USA). This canyon was formed a long time ago by an enormous flood that covered the whole earth, and it is huge and amazing. It shows how deep the earth can be and how creative God is! (Read Psalm 95:4a.) In God’s hand are the depths of the earth. Nothing that happens in the depths of the canyon escapes God. He can see every snake, bird, rock, and scorpion, and knows every detail about all the plants and animals there and the people who are visiting and hiking there. We should thank God for being so awesome! What’s the Big Idea? God is worthy of my thanks!
Our next stop is Mt. Everest in Nepal and Tibet (show picture and find on map). We’ll need our winter gear here as we pretend to climb! This mountain reaches over 29,000 feet—the highest in the world! Many adventurers have tried to reach the top of Mt. Everest, but it’s very difficult. (Read Psalm 95:4b.) Even this huge mountain is nothing compared to how great and awesome God is. God created all the mountains—they are his! He knows everything that’s happening on Mt. Everest all the time. We should thank God for making and knowing everything. What’s the Big Idea? God is worthy of my thanks!
For our next stop, we don’t need a plane—we need a powerful submarine! We are going near Guam and the Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Then we are going to go down, down, DOWN to the Mariana Trench, the deepest location on earth (show picture and point on map). If you put Mt. Everest into the Mariana Trench, the tip of the mountain would still be 7,000 feet under the water! (Read Psalm 95:5a.) God created the oceans and seas. He knows everything that is happening in the Mariana Trench, even though people would have no idea. What’s the Big Idea? God is worthy of my thanks!
We’re going to go from a wet place to a very dry one. Did you know that Antarctica is actually the largest desert in the world?! It’s dry AND cold—very cold! (Show picture and point on map, then read Psalm 95:5b.) God made the dry land! He made the very dry lands (the deserts) as well as the jungles and the farmlands and everything in between. He made it all because he is the amazing Creator and he owns it all! We should thank God for being so magnificent! What’s the Big Idea? God is worthy of my thanks!
The last stop on our trip is the city of Jerusalem in Israel. This is a picture of a tomb in Jerusalem that is very near the place where God’s Son, Jesus, died on a cross to take the punishment we deserve for sin. After Jesus died, he was buried in a tomb a lot like this one, but on the third day he came back to life. This is the greatest reason of all to give thanks! We can thank God because he made the way for us to be saved from sin so we can live with him forever instead of being punished forever for our sin. (Read or quote John 3:16.) What’s the Big Idea? God is worthy of my thanks!
That’s the end of our trip! We’ve traveled quite a bit today, without even leaving our room! God made all of those amazing things, and so many more! There are amazing things God has made and done in this earth and in space that people haven’t even discovered yet. These things show how awesome God the Creator is. The Bible tells us what our response should be to all these things. (Read Psalm 95:6-7.) We should worship and bow down before God, our great Creator. He not only made these amazing things we talked about today, but also, he made us. You were created to show God’s awesomeness and thank him in a way that the tallest mountains and deepest oceans cannot. He put special thought and care into making you. His love for you and every person is greater and stronger than you can ever imagine. That is a reason to give thanks to God! God made you, and he made you to give thanks back to him for how amazing he is. What’s the Big Idea? God is worthy of my thanks! Let’s take a minute and thank God for being the amazing Creator. If you’d like, you can pray a sentence prayer thanking God for something or someone he has made. (You could even finish up by teaching the kids a memory verse about giving thanks to God. In fact, we just made up a simple memory verse song that uses one of my favorite tunes to help kids memorize Psalm 107:8! Check it out below!)
If you’d like way more ideas to help you teach kids about giving thanks, check out the resource below. This devotional is adapted from lesson 2 of the free “Thank You, God!” activity kit which includes more than 40 interactive games and activities to help kids develop a thankful heart. You can download this FREE kit on our resources page. You can also find another article with “25 Thanksgiving Ideas for Kids” on our blog. Enjoy!