10 Object Lessons to Grab Their Attention

10 Object Lessons To Grab Their Attention

The right object lesson can make a service come alive. You’ve been there when the kids are fully engaged and hanging on every word. They’re positioned at the edge of the chair just waiting to see what will happen next. Kids love to have their minds blown. They’ll keep thinking about it over and over, desperate to figure out how it was done. It’s the thing they’ll all be talking about during Sunday lunch.

Years ago I was doing a kids service in the main auditorium for the entire church. My big object lesson was a needle through the balloon. Pretty cool, right? I thought so, but to be sure I tested the illusion. I practiced it and nailed it every time in my office. Then, I stepped out onto the stage and proceeded to pop five balloons in succession. I wanted to crawl under the stage and escape out of the back. (Needless to say this object lesson will not be on the list.)

Truthfully, I’ve had a number of hits and about 10 times as many misses. Some object lessons have rocked while others landed with a thud. That’s why I wanted to share some of our favorite object lessons with you. Hopefully, this list will save you some time and help you create a fun service for your kids.

  • Miracle Berries
    • This is a fun object lesson because most kids, and adults, have never experienced this before. It works great when you are teaching on Job or how God can turn around bad situations. All you need are lemons and miracle berries. Miracles Berries are an all-natural tablet that dissolves in your mouth, and it basically changes your taste buds. Things that taste sour become sweet. Lemons become as sweet as oranges, apple cider vinegar tastes like apple juice, etc. Choose a volunteer a few minutes before the object lesson, and have the child go ahead and place one of the tablets on his or her tongue. Let the tablet fully dissolve. Then, have them taste the items right there on stage. The child will start devouring the lemon. It’s a great reminder that God can take a sour situation and turn it into something sweet.
  • 8 ft Appearing Candy Cane
    • This object lesson requires the use of a purchased illusion. It’s easy to overuse magic tricks, so I try to sparingly bring them into our services. I do believe, though, that they make an impactful statement. A well-performed illusion is a great addition to an outreach event or a big Sunday. This illusion is called an 8 ft appearing candy cane. It’s made of plastic and rolls up tightly into a cylinder. When fully rolled up, the candy cane can easily fit inside of a small, brown paper bag. Place a regular peppermint stick into the bag, and then pull out an 8-foot tall peppermint stick. The kids have no idea how you got an 8-foot object inside that bag. It’s a reminder that God can take something small and turn it into something big. If you’re looking for a great object lesson for Christmas Eve or family Christmas service, then this is it. Click here to watch a video of the expanding candy cane.
  • 1-Foot x 1-Foot Boxes
    • We love one-foot by one-foot brown cardboard boxes in our kids ministry, and probably have a couple hundred of them stored away. You can do tons of object lessons with them, and they work great for building props. Recently, we taught about David vs. Goliath (click here to purchase this series) and built a life-sized Goliath out of 1’x1′ boxes. It stood about 10 feet tall, so we only needed about 20 boxes to make a sturdy tower. As the Bible storyteller stood next to the box it was easy for the kids to get the idea of how tall Goliath stood over David. When the teacher explained how a stone hit Goliath and the giant tumbled to the ground, the teacher knocked the boxes down with force. Boxes flew across the stage. It was a visual that stuck with the kids. You can find these boxes at uline.com for around $0.74 per box.
  • Five Gallon Buckets
    • You’ve seen inexpensive five-gallon buckets at Lowe’s and Home Depot. When we taught about Joseph in our series Made for Greatness, we focused on forgiveness, so we put the buckets to work as an object lesson. We took three buckets and labeled them “Betrayed,” “Set-Up” and “Forgotten.” Inside of the buckets, we placed weights or dumbells. We chose a volunteer to represent Joseph, and as each problem popped up in Joseph’s life we added a bucket for the volunteer to carry. Then, we had the kid try running and even just walking. Not easy. It was clear that carrying that weight made life difficult. However, when Joseph let go of his hurts and forgave, we took each bucket away. The load lightened as Joseph let go of the pain. Walking, running or jumping was now no problem at all. It’s a reminder of how offense weighs you down. If you want to spruce up the buckets, get spray paint designed for plastic. To make our labels stand out we painted a strip around the bucket with chalk paint. We then drew the words on the strip with chalk pens.
  • Elephant Toothpaste
    • This is a take on the elephant toothpaste experiment by Steve Spangler. This version uses a hydrogen peroxide solution that’s easier to find at a local beauty supply store or Amazon than the original elephant toothpaste ingredients. Also, the larger experiment can shoot foam high into the air which is great if you have 20 feet high ceilings but doesn’t work inside of a regular room. This version allows you to create a great visual in a smaller room.
      • Ingredients
        • 1 Liter Plastic Bottle
        • Hydrogen Peroxide (12%)
        • Dish Soap
        • Food Coloring
        • Package of Active Dry Yeast
        • Warm Water
    • Add 4 ounces of hydrogen peroxide to the 1-liter bottle. Add a squirt of dish soap and some food coloring. Swirl the contents. Mix the package of yeast with four tablespoons of warm water in a plastic cup. (Make sure it’s not too thick.) Pour the yeast mixture into the bottle, the foam will expand and slowly explode out of the bottle. The reaction will be small enough, though, to use with a low ceiling. It may take a few seconds for the reaction to take place. Click here to watch a video of this experiment at Steve Spangler’s site.
  • Mason Jars
    • This object lesson uses two mason jars with rings, water, index cards and a mesh screen. But, it really gets the kids’ attention. Fill both mason jars with water. Place an index card over the mason jar that doesn’t have the mesh screen over the opening. Press down hard and turn the jar upside down over a pan or bucket. When you take your hand away the index card will stay put and the water will not spill. Take the index card away and the water rushes out. Repeat this process with the mason jar that has the mesh on the opening (placed under the jar’s ring). Choose a volunteer and tell them you’re going to turn it upside down over them. No big deal, right? The water didn’t spill while the card was there. Oh wait, you’re also going to remove the index card. Now the stakes are raised. It’s going to take faith on the part of the volunteer to trust he or she won’t get wet. Remove the card. This time only a couple of drops will come out. Keep the mason jar straight throughout the lesson, as tilting it can throw off the pressure that keeps the water from spilling. We used this object lesson in conjunction with the story of Abraham trusting God.
  • Water Into Wine
    • The miracles of Jesus are amazing stories of God’s power at work. It’s important that kids understand that Jesus’ power is still at work today. This object lesson is a great addition to teaching about the wedding at Cana. In this story we see Jesus perform the first miracle of turning water into wine. For this object lesson you’ll need the following ingredients:
    • Pour some of the sodium carbonate into the bottom of one of the glasses. Then fill the other glass with water and add phenolphthalein. When you pour the water into the empty glass containing the sodium carbonate the water instantly turns from clear to red. Definitely an attention getter. As with all of these object lessons, it pays to practice them ahead of time and experiment to make sure you get the optimal impact. Click here to read more about this object lesson.
  • Wonder Pad
    • I love the Wonder Pad. It’s an easy trick, but a total attention grabber. We’ve used this object lesson to show how we need God to make miracles happen. It would also be a great way to drive home the story of Samson. It demonstrates the difference between Samson with God and without His power. You can write on the any of the sheets of paper in the Wonder Pad. On the first sheet write “with God,” and on the next sheet write “without God.” When you rip out the first sheet and hand it to the kid, he or she can rip it easily. Hand the volunteer the next page. He or she won’t be able to rip it. Alternating pages have a special coating that makes it nearly impossible to tear with your hands. It’s fun to use two volunteers. Choose a small kid for the rippable sheet, and a big kid for other. It highlights the necessity of relying on God.
  • Lotta Bowl
    • This is by far the most expensive object lesson included on the list. For ones that cost extra like the Lotta Bowl, I like to check first if any of my children’s ministry friends have one I can borrow. There are times when we have some extra budget, and this is a fun one to splurge on. The Lotta Bowl looks like a silver vase or urn. What you don’t see is that it’s hollow on the inside. Around the rim is a hole where you fill the inside with water. There’s also a hole in the inside basin. Once you fill the hollow interior with water the basin fills as well. Simply place your finger on the hold around the rim and the basin stops filling with water. Pour it out in front of the kids. It looks empty. Turn it up, take your finger off of the hold, and the basin refills. Pour it out again. The kids’ minds are blown. It’s a fun illusion to us when teaching on the loaves and fish story. God provides.
  • Lemon Juice
    • One Easter, we wanted to demonstrate how Christ took our place on the cross. We wanted to emphasize the fact that His suffering and death was for our benefit. So, we started the Bible story with a game. Games are a great way to disguise an object lesson. The kids don’t even realize they’re learning until they get a truth smackdown. In this game, we brought up two kids and had them compete. The competition was who could drink a glass of lemon juice…without sugar. That’s right, no lemonade here. The first kid to drink the juice, or the one who drank the most in 30 seconds, won a piece of candy…for a friend. We actually let both contestants take candy to a friend, but we did not give anything to the contestants. They took a hit so a friend could be blessed. It was a powerful reminder that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was for our benefit.

These are just a few simple object lessons, but they could easily spur many more ideas and applications. What’s your favorite object lesson that didn’t require an expensive prop?

This article originally appeared here.

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Dwayne Riner
Written by Dwayne Riner. Dwayne is the head writer for Equip KidMin curriculum, he has been in children’s ministry for over two decades.