Keep Your Language Minty-Fresh


BLOG6.20I was in
another room when I heard what seemed to be Morse code coming from
my television. It turns out that it was the censors blocking what
seemed to be every other word.  At least the objectionable
words were bleeped out. More and more, it seems, foul language has
been sprinkled throughout movies, video games, and books, many of
which are aimed at young kids. One study has found that the more teens hear
swearing in television and games, the more likely they are to
repeat the taboo words themselves.

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If you have kids with vile vocabularies or who use hurtful
language with others, here is an activity you can do with them to
help them understand the power of their words.

You’ll need: A travel-sized tube of toothpaste
for each child, a paper plate for each child, and some hand wipes
for each child

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Give each kid a paper plate and toothpaste tube and say that you
have a challenge. Tell them that they have 10 seconds to squeeze as
much toothpaste out of the tube as they can onto the paper plate.
After you call time, explain that therealchallenge is that they
have 30 seconds to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Give kids time to try to put back all they squeezed out. Some
creative types may get a little back in, but the majority of the
toothpaste should still be on the plate.

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Distribute the hand wipes and let kids clean up. Afterwards, ask
the kids these questions:

  • How did you feel trying to get the toothpaste back into the
  • How is getting the toothpaste out and then back into the tube
    like the words that we say?
  • (Read Psalm 34:13) Why do you think God wants us to watch what
    we say?
  • What are some things you can do instead of using bad or hurtful

It is easy to say to a child who uses bad language “that’s bad,
don’t say that” and let it go, but you would be missing an
opportunity. Explain what the Bible says about bad words, and then
encourage kids to find other words to say or other outlets for
their emotions. Use 1 Thessalonians 5:11 as a starting point to
show that God wants us to be helpful with our words, not hurtful.
Before long you will be busting putdowns and hearing
uplifting, encouraging language coming from your kids.

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About Author

David Jennings

David has served kids around the world for the majority of his life. From Texas to Romania, he has followed where God has led him. Most recently, he served for six years as a children's director in the great state of Alabama before moving to Colorado to work for Group as an associate editor.


  1. Children's Ministry Magazine

    I have used this object lesson many times. A great song to go along with this is Steve Green's song-"Keep Your Tongue From Evil".

  2. Children's Ministry Magazine
    David Jennings on


    I asked my co-workers about "Keep Your Tongue From Evil", and one burst into song! She even did the part where you hold your tongue while singing. I agree, it would be a perfect fit for this! Thanks for the tip.

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