Lessons in the sand

Science with a twist

Fill two toy sand buckets with sand to impress on your kids that ingratitude gets in the way of appreciating God’s blessings in our lives.

Here’s what you need to do to set up the demonstration:

  • Prepare in advance by gathering your two sand buckets. Take one of the buckets and cover the opening of the bucket with strong, clear plastic. Firmly secure the plastic in place with strong tape.
  • Gather your kids and visit a park where there is a sandbox. (Or alternatively you can stay indoors and use rice or cornmeal instead of sand.)
  • Once you reach the sandbox, place the two buckets side by side in the sand. The open bucket represents a thankful person who appreciates their blessings. The “closed” bucket represents a person who finds faults with their blessings or is ungrateful.
  • You go first to show your children how this works. Think of something you are thankful for. “Children” might be a good first example. As you pour a scoop of sand into the open bucket say, I’m thinking of a gift from God: I’m thankful for my children.
  • As you try to pour a scoop of sand into the closed bucket add, But some days I’m tempted to complain about all the work I have to do to take care of my children. For more drama you could add, I have to change diapers, make meals, pick up toys, do piles of dishes, wash the floor and bathe kids too!
  • Now invite your children to think of things they are grateful for, and ways they can be ungrateful for the very same thing. For example, a child might pour sand into the open bucket saying, I’m grateful for food, then pour sand into the closed bucket saying, But I don’t like soup.
  • Once the open bucket is full, compare the two buckets. Explain that, like the full-of-sand bucket, a person who notices and appreciates their blessings will feel like their life is full and comfortable. On the other hand, the empty bucket is like an ungrateful person who doesn’t notice all the wonderful things he or she has in life. They will feel like their life is empty and that they are missing out, even though they experience many blessings from God.
Relevant Scripture

Psalm 145:5 “On the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works, I will meditate.

Psalm 145:6 “They shall speak of the might of Your awesome deeds, and I will declare Your greatness.

Psalm 145:7 “They shall pour forth the fame of Your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.