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Upstairs – Downstairs


As a family night activity with younger children 


Helps children understand that God did for us what we could not do for ourselves 


  • Schedule an evening to take the family out for ice cream or some other favorite dessert.
  • Note: If you live in a one-story home, you will need to find a location with a staircase for this particular activity. You will also need to bring a Bible with you to the dessert place.


Follow the steps on the next page to serve up a great experience.

STEP ONE: Build Anticipation

Tell the children that you want to take them out for ice cream or some other favorite dessert. Ask, “Are you willing to accept a challenge to earn the privilege of going?”

STEP TWO: Pose the Challenge

Go to the top of your staircase and explain the following to the children waiting below…

  • Share the Goal: “I want you to pretend that I am God in heaven. I want you up here with me very much. Let’s figure out how to make that happen.”
  • Explain the Rules: “You need to do your best to get up here to where I am. But no part of you (including your clothes) can touch the stairs or the railing. You have five minutes to figure it out. Now go!”
  • Wait & Watch: Silently wait as the children try to think through a solution. They will likely try to “cheat” in one way or another. Clarify that there is only one acceptable solution.
  • Give Hints: As time runs down, Mom or Dad should give hints so at least one child figures out the solution: “God” can come down the stairs and carry you up the stairs on his back!

STEP THREE: Discuss the Meaning

Once each child has been carried upstairs, load everyone into the car and head out for dessert. While eating, explain that Jesus Christ is God who came down from heaven to do for us what we could not do for ourselves.

STEP FOUR: Discuss and Pray

Read Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:8 together aloud and explain that we all sin and that no one can do enough good to get to heaven. But God wants us with Him so much that He came “downstairs” to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves!

End your time together having each child say a brief prayer of thanks to God for the free gift of salvation.

© 2010 Inkling Innovations