During our John the Baptist Unit Study, one of my children dressed up like John the Baptist. We drew pictures of John the Baptist, made crafts, and dramatized his life. After hearing the Word of God regarding John the Baptist in the four gospels, I read the chapter about him from Wilkinson and Boa’s Talk Through Bible Personalities. My children had a well-rounded view of this prophet by the time we started doing hands-on activities.
The Birth of John the Baptist
First we saw prophecies that foretold the coming of John in Isaiah and Malachi. The birth of John the Baptist was surrounded by strange events, since his father Zacharias saw the angel Gabriel and didn’t believe the news when the angel told him that he was going to have a son in his old age. So he was struck dumb and wasn’t able to speak until the birth of his son. Meanwhile Elizabeth saw Mary, the mother of Jesus, and John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit and jumped in her womb before he was even born!
Here is a craft about the birth of John the Baptist:
Here is a video clip about the events surrounding the birth of John the Baptist, which is part of The Nativity Story:
John the Baptist Eats Locusts and Honey
In the wilderness, John ate locusts and wild honey. You can have your kids taste honey and observe a grasshopper in a terrarium. (Pet stores sell crickets for cheap, but beware that they chirp at night and are irritating.) John looked like a wild madman.
Here are a couple of activities depicting the wildness of John the Baptist:
- John the Baptist Preached in the Wilderness Coloring Page
- John the Baptist Tree Ornament (scroll halfway down)
Here is a printable craft about grasshoppers:
Here are some of my kids’ drawings of John the Baptist living in the wilderness:
John the Baptist Preaches Repentance
He spoke in sharp rebukes and harsh words, and people flocked to him to hear him preach and be baptized by him. He preached the gospel: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”
Here is an activity to help children learn how to repent of sin:
When Jesus walked towards him, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” He said he was not worthy to untie the sandal of Jesus. Here is a hands-on activity about untying sandals:
The Baptism of Jesus
John baptized Jesus. At His baptism, Christ’s identity was confirmed by God the Father speaking, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The Holy Spirit descended as a dove at the same time.
Here is a video clip about the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist:
Here are some activities and printables to help you as you study the story of John baptizing Jesus:
- John Baptizes Jesus Coloring Page
- Another John the Baptist Coloring Page
- Baptism of Jesus Slider Craft
- John the Baptist Printable
- John Baptizes Jesus Craft
Baptism of Jesus: Hands-on Lego Activity
Here is a re-enactment of the baptism of Jesus, done with Legos:
John is Beheaded
Even before John was born, he leaped for joy when Mary the mother of Jesus entered the room. John recognized the presence of Jesus even before birth. So why did he doubt when he was in prison? John’s doubts probably came from the fact that he didn’t know that Christ was going to come again, and a lot of the prophecies weren’t being fulfilled. Jesus answered John with Scripture that was being fulfilled at the first coming of Jesus.
Christ said this about John: “Among those born of women, there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.” (Matthew 11:11)
Because Herod was not happy about being told he had done the wrong thing to marry his brother’s wife, he had thrown John into prison. Later when Herodias’ daughter danced for Herod, he granted her any wish she desired. After consulting with her mother, she asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.
Back when I taught at a Christian school, every Reformation Day, the students would come to school dressed up as characters from the Bible. One year I had a kid come as the head of John the Baptist on a platter on a table. I though it was clever how the head was covered up and uncovered by another student. A bit gruesome, but biblically correct. Thus ends the life of John the Baptist.
If you enjoyed this John the Baptist Unit Study, you will love the huge Bible section of the Unit Study Treasure Vault!