Balls of butter

For this activity, you will need some whipping cream, a bowl, an electric hand mixer and some bread or crackers.

Pour the cream into a bowl and whip it with the electric hand mixer. If they are capable, have your kids take turns beating the cream. Stop once the cream is whipped and let your kids sample it.

Set aside half the whipped cream. Continue beating the remaining cream until it has turned to butter.

Spread the butter on some bread or crackers for your kids to snack on while you begin your teaching time with the discussion questions. (You might also want to reward the peacemakers in your home later by serving the whipping cream on a treat, such as buttermilk biscuits with strawberries.)

Questions for discussion
  • Did the whipped cream turn into butter slowly or quickly?
  • Could you tell it was about to happen?
  • How can you tell if your joking around is starting to bother someone?

Read Proverbs 30:33: “For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife.

  • What do you think Proverbs 30:33 is saying to us?
  • Let’s read Proverbs 6:16-19 and Matthew 5:9. Does it make God happy when someone is causing someone else to get annoyed?
Key concepts

Just as we didn’t know the exact minute when the whipped cream was going to turn into butter, we can’t always tell when our teasing or joking is starting to bother someone. The best way to prevent making someone angry is to stop fooling around before others get irritated.

The Bible tells us that God hates it when someone causes other people to become angry with each other (Proverbs 6:16-19). The opposite of being a troublemaker is being a peacemaker. God would rather we be peacemakers and He promises a blessing for those who choose to work toward creating peace in situations (Matthew 5:9).

When we consider how our words and actions will impact others before saying or doing things, we can avoid causing difficulties.

To follow up, discuss some different scenarios, sharing ideas about how to keep the peace in each situation rather than cause discord. Here are some example scenarios to get you started:

Your brother has forgotten to take out the garbage. You could tease him saying, “You’ll get no dessert, since you forgot to do your chores.” But what would be a good way to be a considerate peacemaker instead? (Answer: Quietly go to your brother and remind him to do his chores.)

Someone spills flour all over the kitchen counter. You could say, “Wow! You can’t even sift flour properly.” But what would a considerate peacemaker say instead? (Answer with something like this: “Don’t worry, we can wipe it up quick. I know you tried your best.”)

You are excitedly telling your friend about the great weekend you just had, but you notice your friend looks a little bored. You might feel like walking off in a huff saying, “Well, if you’re not interested in what I have to say, just forget it!” But what would be a good way to be a considerate peacemaker instead? (Possible answer: Apologize to your friend saying, “I’m sorry for rudely going on and on about myself. How was your weekend?”)

Relevant Scripture

Proverbs 30:33 “For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife.

Psalm 133:1 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

Galatians 5:25-26 “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

A lesson inside an Oreo

Give each of your children an Oreo cookie, and let them take a small bite. Now let them open the cookie. Point out how the black crumbs tenaciously stick to the white filling. Give your children the task of licking the crumbs away until the filling is pure white again.

As your children are enjoying their Oreos, present this short scenario to them. (Or make it even more memorable by having someone actually arrive at your house all filthy.) Afterward, use the discussion questions to talk about God’s holiness and His zero tolerance for sin:

Imagine that you have just helped Mom and Dad clean the house from top to bottom. The floors have been washed and vacuumed, the garbage cans emptied, and everything is in order. You’ve even washed the walls.

But then, just as you sit down together to have a snack to celebrate the completion of the work, your sister comes home from her soccer game. She is all sweaty and completely covered in mud. Your dad tells her that she is welcome to come into the house and sit with the family, but she will need to shower first and leave her dirty clothing in the washing machine.

Your sister, however, says she is too hungry and wants to come in just as she is and sit with the family at the kitchen table.

Do you think Dad will let her come in?

Questions for discussion
  • Were you able to clean all the black specks out of your Oreo’s icing?
  • Have you ever seen our house so clean that there isn’t even a speck of dust in it?
  • Would it be possible to get every piece of sand, fluff and dirt out of our house?
  • If cookie crumbs, sand, dirt, dust and fluff are like sin, Who is the only One who can get rid of them entirely?
  • What do you think Mom or Dad would say if one of your siblings came into the house all dirty?
  • What would the dirty person be required to do before they could join you and share a snack?
  • What is the thing that God cannot have in His presence?
  • Are we holy enough to deserve to be in God’s presence? Is anyone?
  • What kind of “cleansing shower” does God offer for those who want to be with Him?
  • Is there any sin in your life that you would like to ask God to clean out?
Key concepts

A super clean house is like a super clean heart. We can do our best to tidy our house, and we can make a huge effort to be good – but just like we can’t get all the dirt out of our house, we can’t make ourselves pure enough to be close to God.

God is so perfect that He simply cannot have any sin around Him. God is a holy God and we cannot be with God if we have unforgiven sin in our lives. In much the same way, we wouldn’t like it if a person stomped into our newly cleaned house with muddy feet.

The sister in the story was expected to clean the dirt and mud off herself before coming into the clean house. Likewise, God expects people to allow Him to clean the sin out of their lives before they can spend time with Him in prayer or before they enter heaven.

God is the only One who can forgive our sin and clean the sin out of our lives. The wonderful news is that God promises to make our hearts clean so that we can enjoy being with Him. All we need to do is ask.

Note: For a more in-depth explanation of forgiveness and salvation refer to “The parable of the lost sheep” in the Bible stories section of the forgiveness lesson.

Relevant Scripture

Psalm 5:4 “For You are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with You.

Psalm 24:3-4 “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Manna meal

Your choice of food for this meal could be brown rice, whole grain bread, potatoes, popcorn, crackers or oatmeal. Or alternatively, you might want to make the manna recipe included here to simulate the wafers the Israelites ate in the desert.

Eat your food without any salt, seasoning or added extras like butter, ketchup, sauces or spreads.

During your meal, read Numbers 11:4-35 or consult the “mad about manna” Bible story from the Thanksgiving lesson.

As you eat together, talk about how the Israelites must have felt eating manna day after day for so long. You may also wish to discuss what it might be like to live in underprivileged countries, where people have only one simple meal (or less) to eat each day.

Review your choice of the Scripture verses to help your children understand what the Bible says about contentment.

Finally, practice being thankful for everything – even your “boring” meal – with this thankfulness prayer based on Philippians 4:12:

Dear God, please teach us the secret of being content in any and every situation. Help us to remember to thank You, whether we are well fed or hungry; whether we have lots of things or very little. Thank you. Amen.

Manna wafers

3 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. coriander (optional)
1/8 cup butter, melted, or olive oil
½ cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup unsweetened applesauce (equals one 111 g container of Mott’s brand)
1 egg
sugar to sprinkle on top (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 375 °F.
  • Use a hand mixer to blend the butter, honey, vanilla, applesauce and egg together.
  • Sift in just one cup of the whole wheat flour, 1 tsp. baking soda and ½ tsp. powdered coriander (optional – note that the Bible says manna was like coriander in looks, not necessarily taste).
  • Mix the dough until it is uniformly blended. Continue adding flour until the dough is stiff enough to roll out.
  • Roll the dough as thin as possible. The thinner you roll it, the more authentic it will be, as manna was described as being flaky.
  • If you want to sweeten the wafers slightly, sprinkle the surface of the rolled-out dough with white or brown sugar. Gently roll over the sugared surface to adhere the sugar to the dough.
  • Cut the “manna” into squares or use cookie cutters to punch out a variety of shapes.
  • Place the wafers on a non-stick cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 375 °F for 8-10 minutes. The manna wafers are done when they are lightly browned and spring back when pressed lightly with a fingertip.
Relevant Scripture

Philippians 4:11b “. . . I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

Philippians 4:12b “. . . I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

1 Timothy 6:8 “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

Plugged in to God’s power

Secretly unplug the microwave, toaster or toaster oven. Then offer your children a snack or meal that will need to be prepared using the unplugged appliance. Invite your children to help figure out what the problem is, and don’t intervene until they’ve had a chance to investigate and make some suggestions.

Explain that the appliance is not working because it’s not connected to its power source.

Now read Ephesians 6:10 and work through the discussion questions to help your children understand that our power source is God! If we “plug in” to Him by praying and asking for help, God can help us make wise choices.

Close by praying this prayer from Ephesians for your children:

Dear God, I ask that You, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, will give ________ and ________ your Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that they may know You better. I pray also that the eyes of their hearts would be opened to understand the incomparably great power You make available to us (Ephesians 1:17-19). Amen.

Questions for discussion
  • Why didn’t the appliance work when we wanted to use it?
  • What powers the appliance?
  • Where is our power source when we want to discern right from wrong?
  • How do we access God’s power?
Relevant Scripture

Ephesians 1:16-19 “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might . . .

Forbidden fruit

You will need small bowls and a variety of sliced fruit, with each type of fruit presented in a different bowl.

Call your children together for snack time. Give them each a small plastic bowl and invite them to select fruit for a snack. Let them know, however, that one bowl of fruit is “forbidden” and they cannot choose from that bowl. (The forbidden fruit may be a favourite, or an unfamiliar fruit.)

As your children go off to fill their bowls, this is your cue to leave. Let your children know that you are leaving for a few minutes to start a load of laundry, use the washroom etc., but will return shortly to pray and eat with them. Give them a minute or two to collect their snack.

Watch your children from a distance, unseen. On your return, invite your children to enjoy their snacks as you talk through the discussion questions:

Questions for discussion
  • Did you think it was strange that I asked you not to eat any of the ________? (Name the fruit that was off limits.)
  • Were you tempted to sneak a taste of the forbidden fruit?
  • Would it have been harder to obey if I had put out your favourite cookies and asked you not to eat them?
  • Imagine that a friendly furry creature suddenly appeared and told you to eat the forbidden fruit because it would give you “mommy power” or “daddy power” – the power to decide when to go to bed, how much TV to watch, when to do chores, and what to eat for dessert and snacks. Would you still have resisted temptation?
  • What Bible story does this remind you of? (Briefly review the story in Genesis 3.)
  • Does God want you to obey your parents at all times, or only when the request seems reasonable?
  • In the Bible story of Adam and Eve, it was a snake who talked them into disobeying God. Who in your life might tempt you to disobey God, or your parents?
  • What should Eve have told the snake?
  • Who can help you when you are tempted?
  • What can you say to friends who try to convince you to do wrong?
Key concepts

In life, sometimes it will be easy to say no to temptation and at other times it will be much harder. Temptation can be even more difficult to resist when another person is trying to convince you that the sin isn’t really wrong. This is what happened to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. A snake tempted Eve, but you may have friends who try to get you to go along with them in doing something wrong.

It’s good to have a plan in place ahead of time so you know what to say and how to avoid giving in to peer pressure. The first thing you should do is ask God to give you strength and wisdom so you can make the right choice. The prayer doesn’t need to be long. It can be as simple as God, please help me make a righteous choice. You can also practice what to say to your friends. Here are some ideas.

  • You can go ahead and do what you want, but I’m going to make my own choice.
  • You may be comfortable doing that, but I’m not.
  • This is my body and I’ll do what I believe is right for me.
  • You make your choice and I’ll make mine.
  • Sorry, I just can’t go along with that. Let’s ________ instead (suggest an alternative activity).
  • I’m not sure if I am allowed to do that. I’ll have to check with my parents first.
  • God is watching and that’s not something I want Him to see me doing.
Relevant Scripture

Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden”?’

I Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Discerning noses and taste buds

You will need strips of cloth to use as blindfolds and various food items to sample.

  • Begin by explaining to your kids that when they identify foods based on their smell or taste it is called “discerning.” Tell them that some smells and tastes are easier to discern than others are.
  • Next, have your children put on blindfolds and present them with different foods to taste and identify. Start with some easy to identify tastes such as peanut butter, chocolate, banana, root beer, apple or orange juice. Then you can progress to more challenging taste tests such as 7 Up pop versus Sprite, corn syrup versus Aunt Jemima syrup, and dried cranberries versus raisins.
  • For smell testing, begin with easy to discern smells like vanilla, bread, banana or a cooked hotdog. Your harder to identify items could be a sliced orange, sandwich meat or cheese.
  • After your identification game, use the discussion questions to talk about how discernment is important in life.
  • Close in prayer, asking for God’s help in discerning right from wrong.
Questions for discussion
  • When do you need discernment?
  • Who teaches kids the difference between right and wrong?
  • How do parents decide on family rules of right and wrong?
  • Which two smells or tastes did you have a hard time identifying?
  • Besides asking your parents, how can you decide what is right or wrong?
Key concepts

Every day people need to decide between what’s right and what’s wrong. Sometimes telling between right and wrong is very obvious. Other times it’s more difficult to discern what’s right and what’s wrong.

When children are young, parents teach their kids what actions are right and what actions are wrong, and typically parents expect their children to follow a set of family rules. Ideally these rules are based on what God says in the Bible.

If their parents are around, kids can depend on their parents to help them decide between what’s right and what’s wrong, and what’s good or evil. God has also given us the Bible to help us understand the difference between righteousness and sin. In addition to the Bible, God gives us His Holy Sprit to serve as our counsellor or guide to help us to become discerning and wise.

Relevant Scripture

Job 34:2-4 “Hear my words, you wise men, and give ear to me, you who know; for the ear tests words as the palate tastes food. Let us choose what is right; let us know among ourselves what is good.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Me and you in a chocolate fondue

Find and follow your favourite chocolate fondue recipe. As you add “bricks” of chocolate, pretend the chocolate chunks are bricks of gold.

While you and your kids watch the chocolate melt, talk about how gold is heated up to high temperatures to burn off any impurities and improve the quality of the gold. The heat makes the gold pure.

In the same way too, the “fire” or the stove top are like the difficulties we face in life. As we experience trials, God wants to use our discomfort to teach us to trust Him.

When life gets hard we can be tempted to:

  • feel sorry for ourselves
  • lose hope in God
  • get angry and blame others for our circumstances
  • have a bad attitude
  • refuse to believe that any good can come out of the situation.

However, that’s not how God wants us to respond. Instead, God wants us to keep a hopeful and joyful attitude and remember that He is with us. In that way, we cooperate with God so He can use our trials to make us pure, like refined gold.

We know exactly when it is time to take the chocolate off the stove, so it doesn’t burn. So it is with God: He knows exactly how much “heat” we can handle.

As you enjoy your fondue together as a family, share a simple summary of the story of Job, a man who loved God even when God allowed all kinds of dreadful things to happen to him. Follow up by asking the questions for discussion.

Questions for discussion
  • What do you think Job meant when he said in Job 23 “My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and have not turned aside”?
  • What do you think Job meant when he said, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my portion of food”?
  • Job said that although he knew God was at work, Job couldn’t see Him. Have you ever wondered if God is really with you?
  • Job also said that God was testing him so he could “come out as gold.” What kind of a problem could make you feel like God was testing you?
  • Has there ever been a time when you thought life was getting too hard for you to handle?
Relevant Scripture

Job 23:8-12 “Behold, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive Him; on the left hand when He is working, I do not behold Him; He turns to the right hand, but I do not see Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my portion of food.”

Proverbs 17:3 “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.”

Sweet and sour candies

Mix some sweet candies, such as jujubes, in a bag together with some sour candies. Have your kids close their eyes as they choose a candy from the bag.

Talk about how life sometimes seems disappointing when something happens that we don’t like, or we have to make a change that we don’t like. Explain that sometimes circumstances that seem “sour” to us at first can still turn out to be okay.

Next, take turns listing aspects of life that involve change. Help your kids practice “looking on the bright side” by listing some of the positive aspects of those life changes.

Pray together, giving thanks to God that He is with you at all times. Ask Him to help you see the sweetness in life circumstances that seem sour at first.

Explain that when you choose to thank God for less-than-ideal circumstances, even these times can seem much brighter. Finish by singing a song of thanks and praise to God.

Relevant Scripture

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Ephesians 5:18b-20 “. . . be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ . . .”

Psalm 42:11 “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.”

Life is a sweet treat

You will need a batch of cookie dough or bread dough, some fruit – such as apples or pears with a sprinkle of cinnamon, or dried fruit like figs and apricots – and some soft candies or chocolate.

Wrap chunks of fruit or candy inside the cookie dough or bread dough to form bite-size treats. Bake the cookies or buns, then have fun guessing what’s inside before you eat them.

Note: As a simple alternative, buy a box of chocolates of different flavours, then sample them without referring to the flavour guide.

Key concepts

Life is full of surprises. Some people enjoy being surprised and others prefer to always know what lies ahead. Whatever your preference may be, the best way to respond to a surprise is by thanking God for the good gift of life – even when it surprises you.

Relevant Scripture

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

Edible garbage

As your children help prepare your meal, explain that part of being responsible with the resources God has given you means creating less waste. Discuss how people create a lot of food waste by throwing out leftovers that could easily be used for another meal.

Landfill Layers

  • Layer 1: Fill the bottom of a 9 x13″ baking pan with a layer of leftover pasta, dry bread cubes, rice or diced baked potatoes.
  • Layer 2: Beat together four eggs, ¼ cup of milk, ½ tsp salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mix on top of the first layer.
  • Layer 3: Spread on a layer of pre-cooked beef, chicken or turkey.
  • Layer 4: Firmly press cauliflower or broccoli florets down into the first three layers.
  • Layer 5: Sprinkle a layer of grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese on the top.
  • Bake at 350 ˚F for approximately 45 minutes. Your meal is done when a knife inserted into the middle of the casserole comes out clean.

Recycled Soup

In a large pot, stir together:

1 carton of chicken or beef broth, depending on what meat leftovers you have
1 cup of diced or browned meat (pre-cooked)
2 cups of pre-cooked veggies
2 cups of rice, pasta or quartered potatoes (pre-cooked)
1 Tbsp onion flakes or ¼ fresh onion, browned
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp salt

Simmer for 10 minutes, or until all ingredients are heated through.