Telephone fun

Science with a twist

Make your own tin can telephone.

Discussion point: Communication is about taking turns talking and listening; when you pray, take time to listen to God.

This activity helps illustrate the direct connection we have with God when we pray. The concept is based on Psalm 66:18-19.

You will need two clean, empty tin cans or paper cups, an awl or nail (to punch a hole in the tin can) and a 10- to 12-foot length of string. Kite string is ideal.

  • Be sure that the tin cans have no sharp edges. Punch a hole through the base of each tin can. The hole should be just large enough for the string to fit through.
  • Have your children help you thread one end of the string through the hole in one of the cans. Tie some knots at the end of the string to keep it from being pulled back through the hole when the string is pulled tight.
  • Thread the other end of the string through the base of the second can and tie it off. Now your “telephone” is complete.
  • Have each child hold one can and instruct them to pull gently, making the string taut. Let them take turns talking into one can and listening with the other can. As one person speaks into one can, the sound vibrations travel through the string to the other can.
  • Point out that when one person speaks, the other person needs to be listening, or communication cannot take place. Explain that talking to God also works this way. He listens when we pray. When we talk with God, we also need to take time to be quiet to listen to what God wants to say to us. Communicating is all about taking turns speaking and listening.
  • Have your children try to use the tin can telephone while you are holding the string with your hand. This stops the vibrations from travelling through the string, preventing the children from hearing each other. Liken this to cherishing (or holding on to) sin in our hearts. Psalm 66:18 says that when we cherish sin in our hearts, God does not listen. God is always ready to listen when we want to confess our sins.
  • After you have had fun playing with the tin can telephone, decorate the exterior of the cans. Add phrases like, “God hears me when I pray,” and “I can hear God when He speaks to me.”
  • End your time by letting your children know that there is no need for string or a tin can telephone when they want to talk to God. They can talk to God anywhere, at any time.
Relevant Scripture

Psalm 66:18-19 “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.”

1 John 5:14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”