Use these three amazing science experiments and devotions for your children’s ministry.
Kids wonder: “How is a rainbow formed?” “Why are my fingerprints different from anyone else’s?” “What makes popcorn pop?”
Kids are fascinated by the way the world works, and they love to learn about the science behind everyday phenomena. Kids especially enjoy experimenting with objects and scientific properties as they discover firsthand how these things work. This natural fascination is a wonderful jumping-off place to help kids learn about God’s power and his plan for each of his children.
You may have wondered how to tap into this natural fascination. Here are three simple, but amazing, science devotions for your children’s ministry.
Science Experiment #1. Blowin’ in the Wind
Exploration Element: Use water currents and wind to help kids see how God can change the direction of their lives.
Bible Benchmark: “The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded” Genesis 7:24-8:1.
- a Bible;
- a large, clear glass bowl of water;
- a small toy boat that will float in the bowl;
- talcum; and
- towels (optional).
Spread newspaper over a table or on the floor. Place the bowl of water on the newspaper.
Tell the story of Noah and the ark, or read the account found in Genesis before beginning this activity. Then read aloud Genesis 7:24-8:1 to the group.
Gather kids around the bowl of water. Say: Let’s pretend that the water in this bowl is the ocean. It looks pretty calm, doesn’t it? Put the toy boat in the bowl. Say: The water still looks calm, but water always has some motion to it. Have the kids blow gently on the water surface. Ask:
- What is happening to the water surface?
- Why does the wind make the water surface change?
- What happens to the boat when the water moves?
Say: Wind that blows across the surface of the water makes currents. A current is the movement of a liquid in a particular path or direction. Sometimes currents are really strong-currents in a river make the water travel around rocks and tree roots. A current in the ocean can be strong, too- strong enough to make the water change the path of other objects such as boats or people who are swimming.
To help us see the currents in our ocean, let’s add some talcum to the water surface. Have one child sprinkle talcum on the surface of the water, and then have kids gently blow across the water surface again. Say: The talcum helps us see how the water currents change the water’s surface as the wind blows on the water.
Bible Tie In
When God remembered Noah and the animals on the ark, he sent a wind over the earth so that waters would go down and there would be dry land again for the people and animals to live on. We can remember that the wind God sent cleared the way for people to live on the earth again.
In the Bible, the Holy Spirit sometimes acts in the form of the wind (Acts 2). Ask:
- How do you think the wind might be kind of like God’s Spirit in your life?
- What were ways God could change the direction of your life as the wind changed the direction of the water?
Say: If the way you life is going doesn’t seem quite right, God’s Spirit, like the wind, can help change the direction of your life. God will help you live the way he wants you to if you trust him and allow him to work in your life.
Science Experiment #2. Friends Stick Together
Exploration element: Use the bonding properties of water to show kids that they should stick by their friends.
Bible Benchmark: “A man of many companions may caom to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer that a brother” Proverbs 18:24.
- a Bible,
- two pieces of paper for each child,
- various stackable plastic containers,
- paper plates,
- at least two stackable plastic drinking glasses, and
- a few spray bottles of water.
Give each child two pieces of paper and a pen, and say: I’d like you to draw pictures of some things a friend has done or said that made you angry. Give kids a few minutes to do this, and then say: See if you can get your two pieces of paper to stick together without folding them. It doesn’t work, does it? Sometimes when a friend says or does mean things to us, we don’t want to be that person’s friend anymore. We want to walk away from him or her.
Give a few kids the spray bottle and say: Now I’d like you to take turns spraying a little water on your pieces of paper. After you’ve done that, try to get them to stick together. Give kids a few minutes to do this, and the ask:
- Did it work? Why do you think that is?
Invite kids to repeat the experiment with the plastic containers, the plastic drinking glasses, or the paper plates. Ask:
- Why do you think these things stayed apart when they were dry but stuck together when they were wet?
Say: The pieces of paper, the plastic containers, and the paper plates stuck together when they were wet because the molecules in water are very attracted to each other, so they stick together really well. Ask:
- Can you think of a time you had to stick by a friend? Tell me about it.
Read aloud Proverbs 18:24, and then say: Just as the pieces of paper and the other things stuck to each other, God wants us to stick by our friends even when they say or do mean things to us. The next time one of your friends does something mean to you, try to remember this Bible verse. Ask:
- What are some things you could do to stick by a friend?
- What could happen if you don’t stick by a friend?
Say: When we stick by our friends even though bad things are threatening to pull us away from them, we are showing our friends what God is like. God is the best friend of all, and he sticks by us no matter what.
Science Experiment #3. Jiggle, Shake, Quake
Exploration Element: Kids experience miniature “earthquakes” as they explore how to build their lives on Jesus.
Bible Benchmark: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” Colossians 2:6-7.
- a Bible,
- two 9×12-inch aluminum baking pans,
- four boxes of flavored gelatin,
- two cups,
- marshmallows, and
- a box of toothpicks.
Prepare two pans of flavored gelatin (use two boxes for each pan). Chill the pans of flavored gelatin overnight.
- Have you ever been in an earthquake or seen the results of one one TV?
- What causes earthquakes?
Say: Earthquakes are caused when the tectonic plates under the surface of the earth shift. Sometimes they run into each other, and this causes the ground above the plates to shift and shake. We’re going to experience miniature earthquakes today.
Have children form two groups, and have kids sit in their groups at a long table. Give each group a pan of flavored gelatin and a cup of marshmallows. Say: The gelatin in your pan represents the earth, and the marshmallows are you building materials. Using the marshmallows, you’ll need to build a house that can stand up by itself. Give one group the box of toothpicks, and say: I’m giving toothpicks to this group to use along with the marshmallows.
After groups have built their houses, test them by shaking the table. Ask:
- Which building didn’t fall (or didn’t fall as easily)? Why?
Say: Some places on earth sit on the place where tectonic plates come together. These places are called faults. In some faults areas, such as Southern California, it’s important to build buildings with special reinforcements to keep the buildings from falling during earthquakes. The toothpicks one group used were kind of like the special reinforcements put into building in a fault area. Ask:
- What kinds of situations in your life might feel like an earthquake?
Read aloud Colossians 2:6-7, and ask:
- According to this Scripture, what do we need to do to reinforce our lives?
- What does this passage tell you about following Christ and doing what he says?
- How can you reinforce your life with Christ?
Say: Just as the toothpicks reinforced our marshmallow “buildings,” God wants us to reinforce our lives with faith in his Son, Jesus. No matter what “earthquakes” or problems we may come across in our lives, God will strengthen us through our faith in Christ.
If you enjoyed these science experiments, you’ll love Amazing Science Devotions for Children’s Ministry. The devotions in this book make great children’s sermons, fun Sunday school lesson introductions, or excellent activities any time you want to give kids’ faith a little boost while indulging their natural curiosity about how and why things work.
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