Liturgical churches will celebrate Ash Wednesday on February 10 this year. These churches recognize the six weeks before Easter as the Lenten season—a time for personal reflection and repentance. Even if your church doesn’t formally recognize Lent, as a Sunday school teacher you can still help your children see their sins and focus on the forgiveness that Jesus offers through his death and resurrection.
Need some help preparing the children’s hearts and minds for Easter? Here are a few fun and easy activities that demonstrate the power of Christ’s forgiveness!
Nail it to the cross. Encourage your students to write down one or more personal sins on a slip of paper. Build a real wooden cross and have the students actually nail the papers to the cross. (If wood and nails are not an option, make a foam cross and use stick pins.) Say a prayer of repentance with the children and assure them of God’s forgiveness.
Watch it disappear. Purchase a package of effervescent cold relief tablets (like Alka-Seltzer) and write the word “sin” on each one. Hand one to each child in your class. Take a large clear jar and fill it up halfway with water. Put it in a place where everyone can see it. As you hand out the “sin” tablets, tell the class that each of us sins and we can’t get rid of it ourselves. We have to give it to Jesus because only he can take away our sin. Invite the children to drop their sins into the jar. It takes a little time, but soon all of the sins are gone.
Jesus makes me clean. (You will want to practice this before you do it with the children.) You will need three clear jars or cups, water, bleach, and iodine. Label one jar “Us”, one jar “Jesus”, and one jar “Sin”. The iodine goes into the “Sin” jar. “Us” is just plain water and “Jesus” is water mixed with a small amount of bleach—only one or two ounces. (You will want the “Jesus” jar to be clear. If you put in too much bleach, it will change the color of the water.) Be sure to leave room for additional liquid in each jar. Line the jars up where all the children will be able to see them, but not be able to touch or drink them.
Explain to your students that iodine will stain their clothes and their skin, just like sin stains our hearts. Pour some of the iodine from the “Sin” jar into the “Us” jar. The water will turn brown. Add some of the iodine to the “Jesus” jar—it will not stain. Slowly pour a bit of the “Jesus” water into the “Us” jar. (About a tablespoon will do it.) Watch as the water turns clear.
Editor’s note: CTA offers a variety of classroom resources to pair with your object lessons during Lent and Easter. Look for the Jesus Makes All Things New expanding washcloth, the Journey to the Cross prayer box, and the This Love Changes Everything count up to Easter activity sheet.
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