Here’s a fun activity to do with kids to help them learn to respond in the right way when they are treated unkindly by others. All you need is a ping pong ball (with a cute smiley face drawn on it) and some kids with their thinking caps on.
To begin this activity, start with a good Bible story, such as Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, which illustrates a situation where someone was angry and did not handle their anger in the way God wanted. Explain to the children that anger is an emotion God created us to have, but we are commanded in Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry and do not sin.” While it is okay to be angry, it is not okay to sin in that anger. We must think of way to keep our anger under control and handle the situation in a way that is pleasing to God.
Show the children the ping pong ball with the smiley face. As you hand it to one of them, give a dilemma to solve, then have him or her bounce the ball off of a wall or the floor. As he or she catches it, ask how they could bounce back with kindness in the situation you gave them. Let him or her have time to think and respond. If help is needed, others may give suggestions.
Some examples of dilemmas might be: 1) You’re standing in line at the movie theater and someone cuts in front of you. 2) You get a new bike for Christmas and your friend comes over Christmas day and wants to ride it. You let her ride it and she accidentally runs over a nail in the street causing a tire to go flat. 3) You have practiced for weeks to get the lead part in a play, but the part is given to a kid who loves to be the center of attention and brags all of the time. He tells you that you’re just not ready to handle that big of a part yet. 4) You are invited to a birthday party and as the birthday boy opens the book you brought, he makes a face and says he doesn’t like to read. 5) You know there was one homemade chocolate chip cookie left in the jar in the morning and you asked your sister to save it for you and not eat it. When you go to the kitchen that afternoon, she is sitting at the table munching the last bite of the cookie.
The point is to “repay no one evil for evil“. (Romans 12:17) We can’t control what other people say or do, but we can control what we say and do. Learn to handle anger in a way that is pleasing to God and bounce back with kindness.