God is closer than you think.
Materials: Package of individually-wrapped Wint-O-Green LifeSavers candies.
Theme: God is everywhere
Scripture: John 8:12
Age Level: 6 to 12
Prep Time: Five minutes, plus time to buy candies
Activity Time: 10 minutes
You’ll need a very dark room. Pass out one LifeSavers candy to each child, and tell children to save the candy.
Say, “God is all around us. He knows our every thought, and he’s always with us.”
Read aloud the Scripture, then ask kids to discuss ways they know God is with them. Ask them for examples — a recent prayer that was answered or a time they turned to God for comfort or help.
Say, “Sometimes, even though we know God is with us, it’s easy to think of him as far away. When things seem bad or lonely, we might forget that God is with us. Here’s one way to help us remember that God is always with us.”
Form pairs. Have partners face each other. Then turn off the lights and make sure the room is as dark as possible. Have each child open the LifeSavers candy. On the count of three, have one partner bite down on the candy with his or her front teeth. Tell the other partner to watch for a large blue spark from his or her partner’s mouth. Then switch roles.
Say, “When you bit down on the candy and broke it, it made a reaction kind of like lightning. The sugar molecules were stressed as you bit down. The pressure of your bite created an electric charge-the spark that you saw. God is like the charge in the candy. He’s always there, but sometimes we forget about his presence. But when the dark, stressful times come, God responds with a big spark of his love.”
This experiment is stinky, so it’s best performed outdoors.
Materials: Tea bags, whole fresh cranberries, distilled water, teapot, stovetop, white vinegar, clear household ammonia, four clear containers.
Age Level: 6 to 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Activity Time: 15 minutes
Alert: This experiment must be performed by an adult. Dispose of the liquid by pouring it down the drain immediately after the experiment is over.
Before class, brew strong tea with distilled water. Remove the tea bags and discard them. Boil 1 cup of cranberries in distilled water. Strain the cranberries, saving the leftover water. Pour the tea into a container and the water from the cranberries into a different container, filling each about one-third.
Pour vinegar into a third container and ammonia into the fourth container, filling both. They’ll look just alike, so be sure you know which is which.
To begin the discussion, ask kids to give examples of sin. After several examples have been given, say, “It’s true — humans are sinful, and we do things that aren’t pleasing to God. But Jesus gave his life to wash away our sins.”
Hold up the containers with tea and cranberry solutions in them. Say, “These containers of liquid represent our sin. Now imagine that this liquid (vinegar) is Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. What do you think will happen when I add it to our sin?”
Add vinegar to the tea and then to the cranberry solution. Their colors will lighten considerably. Ask kids to explain what happened.
Then say, “What do you think happens when we keep sinning and never ask for God’s forgiveness? Let’s see.” Add ammonia until the solutions become very dark.
Say, “Still, no matter how bad we think our sins are, we can always ask for God’s forgiveness. So, let’s try to reverse what’s happening.”
Add more vinegar, and the liquid lightens. You can alternate darkening and lightening this solution as long as you have space in the containers.
Say, “What’s happening to the solutions is called a reversible reaction-that means that the color can be changed back and forth. An example of an irreversible reaction is cooking a scrambled egg. After the egg is cooked, you can’t make the egg raw again. How is Jesus’ death for our sins like the reversible reaction we saw today?”
Let kids witness God’s transforming power in our lives.
Materials: Clear container for each child (at least 6 inches deep), sugar, water, a saucepan, food coloring, straws, cotton string, paperclips, fine-tipped markers, tape, access to a stovetop.
Theme: God’s impact on our lives
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:18
Age Level: 6 to 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes the day before the activity
Activity Time: 30 minutes, plus several days for crystals to grow
The day before class, bring 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar to a boil for every four children in your class. Once the solution boils, add sugar until it thickens to a syrup. Remove from heat and allow the solution to cool on its own overnight. The next day, distribute the solution into the clear containers. Fill the bottom of each container with the sugar solution to a depth of 1 inch.
Give each child a container, a straw, a paperclip, and a 10-inch length of string. Let each child add one drop of the food coloring of his or her choice.
Have kids each tie one end of the string around the middle of their straws. Then attach a paperclip to the bottom of their strings. For best results, have them moisten the strings with water and rub sugar along the string. Then have them lower the paperclip end of the strings into their sugar solutions and rest the straws on the mouths of their containers. Have them tape their straws in place, then write their names on their containers.
Read aloud the Scripture. Say, “God’s influence on our lives is very powerful. It changes the way we see ourselves, and the way others see us. This solution is made of two things you use every day — sugar and water. Right now, it looks pretty plain. Take your container home and put it in a safe place in your kitchen. Each morning when you get up, check to see what changes are happening.”
Within a week, kids should see dramatic changes. Sugar crystals will grow. The longer kids let the crystals grow, the larger they’ll get. They can eat the crystals as long as the containers are kept in a clean, dry area.
For more great science devotions, check out Amazing Science Devotions for Children’s Ministry.