In the story of Daniel in the den of lions, Daniel trusted God, although he believed it might cost him his life. While he was probably worried about being thrown into a den with a hungry, ferocious lion, Daniel chose to obey God and keep his commandments.
This lesson is age appropriate for students who read and write on their own, but modifying it for early childhood education classes is very simple. Just simplify the questions and facts to an age-appropriate level.
10 Fun Facts about Daniel
Share these fun facts about Daniel with your class. You will be surprised at how well they remember the lesson after learning these interesting things about Daniel and his life.
- The Babylonians kidnapped Daniel when he was a child.
- He lived in the king’s palace and trained to be a helper for the king.
- Daniel’s Hebrew name meant, “God is my Judge.” (1) The Babylonians changed his name to Belteshazzar, which means, “protect the king’s life. (2)
- Daniel was one of the top three politicians in King Darius’ court. His position was similar to a prime minister’s position in today’s world, and he helped the king rule his kingdom.
- Daniel was the king’s favorite, which made the other politicians jealous.
- Because they were jealous, they tricked the king into making a law they knew Daniel would not obey because it was not God’s will. Their trick failed and cost them their lives.
- Even the king had to obey the law, so when Daniel broke the law, the king had to sentence him to being thrown into the lion’s den even though he liked Daniel.
- King Darius was so worried about Daniel that he could not eat, sleep, or relax.
- Impressed by Daniel’s faith, the king made a decree ordering everyone to worship God.
- Daniel trusted God to protect him even though he was probably scared when he was in the lion’s den.
After sharing these facts and giving the class a few minutes to discuss what they have learned, transition to reading the Bible story.
The Story of Daniel in the Den of Lions
Invite the students to sit at the table, and give them each a Bible. Help them find the story of Daniel, which is in Daniel 6:1-28. It’s important to encourage elementary age kids to read the stories from the Bible rather than just reading the stories to them or telling the stories because it helps them make the link between the stories and the Bible. Stress to them that this is a true story rather than a fairy tale or made-up story like they might see on television or read in a book. Let the kids take turns reading the verses aloud.
Daniel in the Lion's Den Discussion Questions
Use the following to encourage discussion about the lesson and help students internalize the information. You can copy and paste the italicized text into a word processing program and print copies for each child, write the questions on a whiteboard and let the class answer them orally, or simply use them as traditional discussion questions for a classroom session. Choose the method that best suits your teaching style and your student's learning styles.
- What did Daniel do that was wrong?
- Why did Daniel disobey the king’s decree?
- Who saved Daniel from the lion?
- How did he do it?
- How did the king feel about putting Daniel into the lion’s den?
- What was the first thing the king did the next day?
- What new decree did the king make because of Daniel’s faith in God?
Teacher’s answer key (these are just suggested answers; the actual answers may vary based on the student's comprehension of the lesson materials.)
- He prayed to God rather than obeying the decree.
- He knew the law was not pleasing to God.
- God saved Daniel from the lion.
- He sent an angel to shut the lion’s mouth.
- He was so upset he couldn’t eat or sleep.
- He raced to the den to see if Daniel was all right.
- He ordered everyone to worship God.
Daniel in the Lion’s Den Piggyback Song
Try this catchy little song to reinforce the lesson of the story of Daniel in the den of lions. It utilizes the piggyback method of using a tune with which kids are familiar to teach unfamiliar words. Sing to the tune of “London Bridge”:
Daniel’s in the den, oh no, den oh no, den oh no.
Daniel’s in den, oh, no, who can save him?
God can save him, yes – He can! Yes, He can; yes, He can!
God can save him, yes; He can, from a lion.
To adapt this portion for early childhood education students, let them play the game "London Bridge" and sing while they play. Because younger students are fond of repetition, they will enjoy singing and playing the song over and over, thus increasing their recall and retention.
Finishing the Lesson
The story of Daniel in the den of lions offers many teachable aspects such as trusting God regardless of one’s circumstances and how God protects His children. This story shows why it is vital to obey God.
A good way to extend the lesson is by asking the class to think of one way that they can be obedient to God’s commands in the upcoming week. Encourage them to write their answer on a piece of paper and show it to their parents. Using simple Daniel in the lion's den crafts such as cupcakes decorated like lions is another good way to finish the lesson.
1, 2 - Holman Bible Concordance for Kids, Holman Bible Publishers, 1999
The KJV Kids’ Study Bible, Zondervan, 1991
Author’s classroom experience