Playing with the Stories
The Purple Puzzle Tree

The stories in The Purple Puzzle Tree are meant to be fun for young and old. Play with them. Make the sounds! Sing the songs. Identify with the characters and their odd ways.

What follows is a few lines about each story, suggestions about how children might play with these stories and a big question for adults. Why? Because in these children’s versions of the story there are clues about the mysteries of life, the world and what God is doing.

Enjoy! Play! And be part of the puzzle! Yes, play with
Tickle the Tiger.

Tickle the Tiger

The 1st Piece
of the Purple
Puzzle Tree

Title: When God was All Alone

Image for the Puzzle: God sitting all alone with the purple waters. Wondering! God is forever young and relates to all things, especially children.
Text: Genesis 1.1-2.4
Enjoying the Story
That’s the sound the churning purple waters make before God creates the world. God is all alone. Then God looks in the churning waters but only sees purple. So God creates light with lots and lots of colours. God has land emerge from the waters and calls her ‘Baby Earth’. God creates a very high sky with two lights to shine, one by day and one by night. Then God creates life with all kinds of creatures to fill the land and sky. God even creates the happy hippopotamus who has very muddy feet that make a funny sound like phump, shluuurphump, shluuurphump. God makes everything there is and God has so much fun. So God says, ‘That’s very good!’ And that’s very, very good, now isn’t it?
Kids Playing with the Pieces
As you hear the story, try making the CHUUURPLE sounds and answering the questions of the old storyteller.
If you were God what kind of world would you like to create? Play God! Would it be fun making the world?
Why do you think God created a world with light and sky and Earth and living things?
Would you create snakes and mosquitoes in your world?
Why do you think God said ‘Very good’ at the end?
Explore children’s stories about ‘being alone,’ like God at the beginning—and why we are never alone in creation.
The Big Question for Adults
The mystery of the universe! Does this children’s version of Genesis One point to the mystery of why God made the universe?

The 2nd Piece
of the Purple
Puzzle Tree

Title: When the First Man and Woman Came

Image for the Puzzle: Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. Excited to be in the magic garden with God!
Text: Genesis 2.4b-25
Enjoying the Story
That’s the sound the land made when God put an ear down to the ground. God was still alone and had no one to play with. So what did God do? God sat on the ground, took some clay and squeeeeeeezed it to make a boy called Adam. Then God made lumpy animals for Adam to play with. But Adam wanted something else. So God squeeeeeezed one of Adam’s ribs and made a partner that Adam called Eve. Then Adam and Eve were happy and God was happy too because they all had someone to talk and play with. Right?
Kids Playing with the Pieces
As you hear the story, try making the funny sounds and answering the questions of the old storyteller. Play being happy hippos!
If you were God and you were all alone, who would you make to talk and play with?
Are you like the first person God made? Do you have the same blood—or breath?
Imagine you are Adam or Eve. Who would you like to have as a friend? A dog? A kangaroo? A fish? Or something else?
Why was Eve special?
Why were God and Adam happy in the end?
The Big Question for Adults
The mystery of human nature! Does this children’s version of Genesis Two offers clues about the nature and purpose of human beings?

The 3rd Piece
of the Purple
Puzzle Tree

Title: In the Enchanted Garden

Image for the Puzzle: A colourful grinning snake. The snake invites us all to eat from the learning tree.
Text: Genesis 3.
Enjoying the Story
Look! There’s a long green candy cane. No, it’s not. It’s a long green snake inviting us into the enchanted garden of Eden.
In that garden Adam and Eve are invited, by the snake, to eat the fruit from the learning tree. If they do, says the snake, their eyes will pop wide open and they will know just why God is God. There was magic in the air. Eve touched the fruit, ate the fruit and gave it to Adam and me and you.
Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the snake and God was sad. But God still loved Adam and Eve and to show that love, God them two purple gowns to wear.
Kids Playing with the Pieces
As you hear the story, walk with Adam and Eve through the garden. What was magical about that garden? Create a magic garden in your place!
Would you like to talk to the snake? What would you say? Or, be the snake and tell the story!
Don’t you think it would be fun to eat from the learning tree and know as much as God knows? Or is that a trick question?
How does God feel about what Adam and Eve did?
Have you ever done anything like that?
How would you create a room full of temptations? What would it include?
The Big Question for Adults
The mystery of learning and love! Does this children’s version of Genesis Three offers clues about what happens when we disobey God?

The 4th Piece
of the Purple
Puzzle Tree

Title: In When the Purple Waters Came Again

Image for the Puzzle: A floating zoo. Noah rides the purple waves of the flood in a boat full of animals.
Text: Genesis 6.5-9.17.
Enjoying the Story
CHURPLE! CHURPLE! CHURPLE! There’s that sound again!
The people on Earth had become so very bad that God split the world in two. God opened the deep below and the heavens above. The purple waters began to churn around and say ChUUURPLE once again. Noah was chosen to make a floating zoo where all of the animals could live while a big flood covered the land. After one long year of flooding, God made the world anew. And God promised never to destroy Earth with purple waters again. And the rainbow is the sign of God’s covenant promise.
Kids Playing with the Pieces
As you hear the story, make the sounds of the purple waters when they cover Earth again…as well as the sounds of the animals.
Why does God send the Flood? Was that fair to the animals?
Imagine you are one of the animals—perhaps a kangaroo—how would you feel about that big flood? \
Or turn the classroom into a boat with each child being one of the animals. What would it be like in that boat?
Imagine you are Noah. What was special about Noah and his family?
What would it be like inside his floating zoo?
Do you like rainbows? What does the rainbow tell us?
The Big Question for Adults
The mystery of rainbows! Does this children’s version of the Flood story suggest something about God’s special relationship with Earth?

The 5th Piece
of the Purple
Puzzle Tree

Title: In the Land of the Great White Castle

Image for the Puzzle: The top of a tower. We cannot reach God by building human towers, no matter how high.
Text: Genesis 11.1-9; 12.1-9; 15.1-6.
Enjoying the Story
“Good heavens! Good Lord!
It’s time that we were famous!”

Back near the beginning of time, some people wanted to be famous and forget about nutty Noah. So they decided to build a castle that would reach to the heavens where they thought they could play with their gods. Ridiculous! When God looked down to see just what was up, God decided to tangle their tongues so they would not be able to communicate and finish their tower. So the tower was never finished. But God had a plan, like a puzzle, to show people God loved them. And Abraham was a special part of that plan that God has for all of us. So Abraham left home to be with God in a new land.
Kids Playing with the Pieces
As you hear the story, join the people building that tower.
What was their plan? What do they say? Where did they want the tower to reach?
Why did God think the tower was so tiny?
Imagine you have come to build one day and you speak German, others in the group speak Chinese, or Hindu, or Australian. Start talking in different languages. What does it sound like? What happens?
Or collect the word for God from several languages, e.g., Gott (German), Elohim (Hebrew) and Theos (Greek) and say them all at the same time.
Why did God pick Abraham? Who is Abraham?
The Big Question for Adults
The mystery of grace! Does this children’s version of the Babel story offers clues about the plan of God in a world of deluded ambitious people?

The 6th Piece
of the Purple
Puzzle Tree

Title: When Laughing Boy was Born

Image for the Puzzle: A Laughing baby! When God makes a baby we see God’s joy – and ours – reflected in the baby. We have a laughing God!
Text: Genesis 18.1-15
Enjoying the Story
Abraham was a merry old man
And a merry old man was he … Why?

Well, Abraham is ninety nine and Sarah is just as old. Hard to imagine! Yet God has promised them a son to keep God’s promise rolling along. Amazing! And the birth of that son is announced by three hot angels on a burning hot day. Wild! No wonder Sarah laughs her head off! And no wonder the baby is called Laughing Boy! And no wonder, perhaps, that merry old Abraham and laughing Sarah are blessed by an excited God to be part of God’s plan.
Kids Playing with the Pieces
As you hear the story, sing the song ‘Abraham was a Merry Old Man’ and act like you are an old man.
Pretend to be Abraham. What would it be like to be 99?
How would you feel if three hot angels told you Sarah, your wife, would have a son?
Why did Sarah laugh? Would you? Would you like to have a brother called Laughing Boy?
Have a laughing babies’ day. Make a poster with a baby picture of every child in your group.
Isaac means ‘laughing boy’. Do you know what your name means?
The Big Question for Adults
The mystery of birth! Does this children’s version of the birth of Isaac reveal something about the mystery of birth in God’s plan for us?

The 7th Piece
of the Purple
Puzzle Tree

Title: In How Tricky Jacob was Tricked

Image for the Puzzle: Jacob the Trickster. What is his future after tricking his dad and then being double crossed by his uncle?
Text: Genesis 27 & 29.
Enjoying the Story
Imagine a Bible story where someone tricks his mum or dad and God goes along with it!

Jacob and Esau were twins. Esau was hairy and Jacob was tricky! Jacob and his mother scheme to trick old Isaac who is almost blind. Not very nice! The plan is to get Jacob’s blessing, that special gift a parent hands down to a child. The trick works, Jacob gets the blessing and runs away to live with his uncle Laban. And the trick Laban plays on love-sick Jacob is just as clever. Tricky Jacob is tricked! In spite of all the tricks, Jacob has God’s blessing, the promise to be part of God’s plan.

Kids Playing with the Pieces
As you hear the story, play the role of Jacob. Listen to the plan of your mother Rebecca. Get some hairy stuff to wrap around your hands and neck. Then trick poor old Isaac.

Is it fun, being tricky Jacob? What part do you like best?

Do you feel sorry for your old father?

How does Esau feel? Why does Jacob run away?

What’s it like being tricked by Laban?

Why does God still bless tricky Jacob?

The Big Question for Adults
The mystery of blessing! A blessing empowers! What clues about the mystery of blessing are found in this children’s version of the story of tricky Jacob?

The 8th Piece
of the Purple
Puzzle Tree

Title: When Jacob Buried his Treasure

Image for the Puzzle: Digging a hole to bury gods! When you have wrestled with God and survived, idols belong in the ground.
Text: Genesis 32.22-32; 35.1-4.
Enjoying the Story
Three cheers for Jake!
Three cheers for Jake! Why?

Jacob had some treasure. Not like the treasure pirates find, but goofy gods with great big goofy gold ball eyes. When Jacob decided to go back home to Canaan, he chose to take his goofy gods with him. On the way he wrestled with a stranger who turned out to be God! Yes, God! And Jacob won the match. So three cheers for Jake! And Jacob managed to get another blessing from God. A new name! Not tricky Jacob, but Israel, the Winner! Then Jacob realised he had to change. So he took God’s advice and buried his goofy gods under an old oak tree. Wouldn’t you?

Kids Playing with the Pieces
As you hear the story, take some of your old toys from home and pretend they are idols that Jacob and his family loved. Bow down to them in fun. Then take them on a journey back home.
What happens on the way back? Who jumps on your back?
And when you grab that person, what do you say?
When you realise you might have died, what do you do?
Have fun burying the idols and singing the Jake song!
The Big Question for Adults
The mystery of prayer! Are there clues in this children’s version of the story of Jacob about what it means to wrestle in prayer with God?

The 9th Piece
of the Purple
Puzzle Tree

Title: In When God Told Us God’s Name

Image for the Puzzle: Moses beneath the burning bush. After escaping the mud puddles of Egypt, Moses learns God’s secret name.
Text: Exodus 2.11-3.20.
Enjoying the Story
Muddy puddle! Muddy puddle!
Muddy puddle oooooh!

The people of God hate to play in the mud making bricks for Pharaoh, especially as they are slaves. When one slave is whipped by a slavedriver, Moses kills him. Moses flees to a mountain where an old priest has goats. There Moses sees a bush that burns with God’s presence but does not burn away. God speaks from the bush and tells Moses to go back to Egypt to rescue God’s people. But Moses is tongue-tied and scared. He doesn’t even know God’s name. God then tells Moses that God’s secret name is really I AM I AM.

Kids Playing with the Pieces

Pretend to be playing in the mud and sing the muddy puddle song. Why didn’t the people of God enjoy singing that song?

Why does Moses flee from the mud puddles of Egypt?

What was odd about the bush that was burning? Who spoke to Moses from the bush? Play the role of Moses and stutter your answers to God’s questions.

What was God’s secret name? Do you know the meaning of God’s name?
What is your name? Find out what your name means and put it with God’s name on the tree!

The Big Question for Adults

The mystery of God’s name! Does this children’s version of the story of God’s name help us understand something about the mystery of God’s presence?

The 10th Piece
of the Purple
Puzzle Tree

Title: Is That God at the Door?

Image for the Puzzle: A father splashing blood on the door. God sees the blood and keeps the killer out!
Text: Exodus 7-8; 11-12.
Enjoying the Story
“Boo Moses, boo!
Your tricks will never do!”

The people laugh at Moses when he tries to find ways of making Pharaoh buckle and send God’s people home. What he does with his magic stick turns out to be plagues of snakes, frogs, locusts and more. Pharaoh refuses to let God’s people go until the last plague. A frightening moment! The father of the house splashes blood on the door. God sees the blood and stands guard. The killer passes by and kills each first born son of Egypt. But God’s people are safe. Then Pharaoh shouts ‘Out! I’ve had enough of you.’ And God’s people start walking home…alive and free.

Kids Playing with the Pieces

Pretend your yard has one, two or three plagues. What might they be? Rats? Snakes? Spiders? What would you do? What if these plagues came inside?

Why didn’t Pharaoh let God’s people go after there had been a plague?

Re-live the last plague. Sit around in a circle with sandals on, eating some bread and some sour salad. Splash some red blood on paper attached to the door. Wait for the killer to pass. Who is in the house guarding the door? Someone plays Pharaoh and shouts ‘Out! You’re through!’

How do people feel when they finally leave? What might they do? Would you like to use the prayer of God’s people at a meal?

The Big Question for Adults
The mystery of life! What does this children’s version of a near death experience for God’s people tell us about the mystery of life with God.

The 11th Piece
of the Purple
Puzzle Tree

Title: In the Middle of a Wild Chase

Image for the Puzzle: Moses before a wall of water. The people of God are chased but escape beside a wall of water.
Text: Exodus 14.
Enjoying the Story
‘We’re off! We’re Off!
We’re leaving Egypt land”

The people of God escape from Egypt but soon discover Pharaoh and the Egyptians are in pursuit! They hear the Egyptians cry, ‘You’ll die! You dogs!’ Then they reach a mighty sea and the wind blows ferociously like a tornado. It blows into the water of the sea, pushes the water back until it becomes a mighty wall of water on one side with a muddy path on the other. The people of God race across the mud. Then Pharaoh chases them again. Suddenly an explosion! When God’s people have crossed the muddy path the wall of water collapses and drowns the Egyptians! So the people sing, ‘Three cheers! We’re free!’

Kids Playing with the Pieces

Imagine you are running from the Egypt soldiers and you sing the people’s song. Sing with loud shouts and wild cries. Sing even louder as the Egyptian army gets closer. Then imagine the wildest wind you ever heard. Everyone blows as wild as they can as a hurricane comes. Suddenly there is no escape. The sea in front and Pharaoh behind! What do you do?

Then the wind blows the sea to one side. There is a big scary wobbly wall of water. What do you do? What’s it like running beside—almost beneath—a wall of water way over your head? When the wall collapses, what happens?

Why do you sing the song, ‘Three cheers! Three cheers’?

The Big Question for Adults
The mystery of freedom! How does this children’s version of the Exodus from Egypt highlight the mystery of freedom?

The 12th Piece
of the Purple
Puzzle Tree

Title: This Old Man Called Moses

Image for the Puzzle: Moses holding high two tablets of stone! From Sinai to the Promised Land this old man called Moses does ten great deeds.
Text: Exodus 16, 19, 20; Numbers 13, 21, 34
Enjoying the Story
This old man, he said One,
God alone is God my son’

Ten mighty moments associated with Moses bringing the people of God home from the day they leave Egypt until when they reach the Promised Land. Each moment is captured in the verse of a song. One God revealed, two tablets of stone given, three priests prepare a covenant, four men climb the mountain, five fierce people kinds of people in Canaan, six days of manna to eat, seven as the day of rest, a snake like an eight wrapped around a pole, nine tribes to cross into the Promised Land and ten deeds to remember as Moses dies. And so the Israelites when rolling home!
Kids Playing with the Pieces

Find a place that can be Mount Sinai. There is fire raging on top where God dwells. Someone can play Moses while all sing the verses of the song.

Moses gets 2 stone tablets from Sinai from inside the fire! It’s hot!
Three men make a covenant and all say AMEN! Special bond!
Four climb the mountain with Moses. Fearsome!
Five are giants that scare God’s people. Wild!
Six boxes of manna can be frosted flakes falling from the sky. Weird!
Seven all sit and wait. Peace!
Eight is Moses’ bronze snake surrounded by biting snakes. Scary!
Nine is the group who go to Canaan. Home at last!
Ten everyone sings the last verse to honour Moses when he dies.
What would it like to be Moses? Do people love him?

The Big Question for Adults
The mystery of wilderness! What are some of the ways this children’s version of Moses’ life reflect the mystery of life as wilderness?