Children think and learn in different ways during their different phases. Orange says that elementary-aged children think and act the most like scientists during this phase, meaning they want to see how things work and they learn the best through concrete evidence.
I saw this in action this morning in our elementary large and small group times during a couple of activities we did. This month we are adapting a curriculum from North Point that teaches kids about the gospel using these 6 statements - God loved, God gave, We believe, We receive, We show, We shine. This morning we concentrated on the 2 statements " God loved" and "God gave". Two of the activities gave a great visual and experiment to demonstrate what Jesus did for our sins. These activities would be great to do at home, especially leading up to Easter!
1. Jesus Washes Away our Sin
Supplies: 3 clear bottles - 1 marked YOU with water, 1 marked SIN with a few drops of iodine and water, 1 marked JESUS with bleach water
Directions and Script: (Pull out the iodine jar labeled “SIN”) This dirty water is like our sin. Sin is whenever we do something that we know we shouldn’t do. And the terrible thing is that we are ALL going to do things that are wrong. (Pull out the water jar labeled “YOU”). No matter how hard we try, unfortunately, we ALL sin.
(As you say the next part, pick up the iodine jar and start to pour it into the jar labeled YOU so that so that the water turns black. Pour the iodine continuously and slowly, so it’s clear that these are all examples of sin not to imply that sins are cumulative.) If we do something that our parents told us not to do… that’s sin. Whenever I tell a lie… that’s sin. Whenever you take something that doesn’t belong to you… that’s sin. Whenever we’re mean to someone… that’s sin. Whenever we do something that GOD tells us not to do… THAT is sin.
And here’s the deal… our heart is so full of sin that there is NO WAY we can get it clean by ourselves. I can’t get my heart clean and you can’t get your heart clean. And that means we have a big problem. We ALL have a sin problem.
Now, our problem just gets worse. Because, you see, God… he has NEVER sinned. He is perfect. He has never done anything wrong. His heart is perfectly clean. There isn’t even one tiny dot of sin. God is perfect, and we are not, so our sin… it keeps us separated from God.
We have a sin problem. But because God loved us, God had a plan – a plan to take our sin problem away.
Jesus went to the cross and died for our sins. But Jesus did not stay dead and buried in the tomb. No way! Jesus rose from the grave. He is alive! He beat death! So when Jesus died on the cross FOR us (pour liquid from JESUS jar into YOU jar) and God raised Jesus from the dead, God forgave our sin! (YOU jar should now be clear and you can hold it up). God forgave us!
Trying to be perfect and follow rules and always be good wouldn’t take our sin problem away. We needed a Savior. So God gave us Jesus to be our Savior.
(Pour more iodine into YOU jar) And no matter how hard we try, we still can’t be perfect. We will still disobey and yell at our sister, and talk bad about our friends. (Jar should still be clear) And we’re still forgiven because God loved us so much that he gave us Jesus.
That’s what Easter is all about! That’s what we believe! That’s why we celebrate today! God loved us so much that he gave us Jesus to take care of our sin problem!
2. Jesus Washes Away the Sin in our Heart
Supplies: Styrofoam plate, red and black marker, a wipe
Directions and Script: Ask your child to draw a heart onto the plate with the red marker.
We are going to do an illustration of what God did for us at Easter. Do you know what sin is? Yes, sin is whatever we say or do that God doesn't want us to do. When we lie, when we don't obey our parents, when we are mean to a friend; all these things create sin in our hearts. (Have your child write these sort of things in black marker in their heart.)
So what can we do about this sin in our heart? We can't do anything, but God already did something. What did He do? Right, He gave us Jesus! What does that mean? He gave us Jesus to take away our sin problem. That means we can take this cloth, and wipe our hearts clean because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. (Have your child wipe away the black words in the center of their hearts.)
Isn't that amazing? That's what Easter is all about!