INTRODUCTORY ACTIVITY: Give each student a chance to tell what s/he would do if s/he were a queen or king. You may want to pass around a crown or scepter (a rod of aluminum foil) as you do this. Explain that you will be learning about a woman who decided to use her power as queen to bless others at great personal risk.
VISUAL AIDS: â€œEsther Saves Her People,â€? Friend, Sept. 1998, 39, contains pictures that illustrate the story of Esther. You could use these to make flannel board figures, puppets, a coloring pages, etc., to use as a class or by each student as you teach the story.
WORD PUZZLES: Mary Ellen Jolley, â€œEsther, the Lovely Queen,â€? Friend, July 1972, 32â€“33, contains a crossword puzzle that you could use to review the story. Crane Delbert Bennett, â€œQueen Esther,â€? Friend, May 1986, 26, contains a simpler crossword puzzle about this story. Shauna Mooney Kawasaki, â€œQueen Esther,â€? Friend, May 1994, 11, contains a code to solve to find what decision Esther made.
PURIM: Purim is the Jewish holiday that celebrates Estherâ€™s action of saving her people. The holiday is often celebrated by having children boo or hiss whenever Hamanâ€™s name is mentioned when the story of Esther is read. Your class may enjoy booing when they hear Hamanâ€™s name or using a noisemaker (such as a rattle or small glass jar with beans).
PERSIAN ART: Bring a 10-foot segment of white butcher paper and tape it to the wall. Assign each student a portion of the Book of Esther. Give them crayons or markers and have them draw their passage in a way that they think the ancient Persians might have illustrated it. (If you could bring a library book or laptop with images of ancient Persian art, that would be helpful.)
TYPE OF CHRIST: You may want to discuss the ways in which Estherâ€™s life prefigured Jesusâ€™, including most obviously that she saved her people but also three days of fasting as an allusion to the three days Christ spent in the tomb. Ask your class if they can think of other similarities.