This object lesson helps children understand how to deal with bad thoughts, fear and worry. It uses a simple water science trick that changes the surface tension of water in order to produce an impressive result. When you add soap to water, it displaces some of the water molecules (especially those on the surface). The water molecules on the outside of the bowl will pull the pepper away from the soap.
· Pepper (about a handful, but it’s better if it’s still in the container)
· Salt (just enough to shake some out once or twice)
· Dish soap (at least a few drops in the bottle)
· Clear bowl
· Water (enough to fill the bowl about ¾ full)
· Display table
· Set up the bowl of water on the display table at the front of the teaching area.
· Set up the mirror behind the bowl so that it will show what is happening on top of the water to the kids in the audience. (You can prop it against a wall or between a few stacks of books. If you need to, get a volunteer to hold it during the demonstration.)
· Have the pepper, salt and dish soap ready on the table.
- “We are going to do a demonstration today, and I’m going to need a volunteer.” (Ask for a volunteer to come up to the front.)
- “Let’s say that this bowl of water represents your mind.”
- “And let’s say that this pepper represents bad thoughts, worry and fear.” (Hand pepper to volunteer.)
- “Sometimes, you can’t stop thinking about bad stuff – like how much you are angry at your brother or sister.” (Have volunteer shake pepper into bowl).
- “You try to think about something else, but those bad thoughts just keep coming back.” (Have volunteer shake pepper.)
- “Or you might be worried about something, and you just keep thinking about it and thinking about it.” (Have volunteer shake pepper.)
- “Or maybe you are afraid of something terrible.”
- “You can’t even get to sleep at night, because it’s so awful and scary!” (Have volunteer shake pepper.)
- “Before long, your mind is full of all these bad thoughts, worry and fear, and you can’t relax or get calm.”
- “I’ve had that happen to me, and I’ve tried to focus on other things…” (Hand volunteer the salt and have him/her pour some in.)
- “…but it didn’t make the bad thoughts go away.”
- “You know what I’ve learned? There is one thing that always makes those bad thoughts, worry and fear go away. Anyone know what it is?” (Listen for responses. Share correct response if they don’t offer it.)
- “Prayer! Prayer always takes care of it.”
- “It’s like this soap.” (Hand volunteer the dish soap.)
- “It washes my mind clean of those bad thoughts.”
- “Watch what one little prayer can do to scary thoughts and bad thoughts.” (Have volunteer drop a single drop in – pepper will scatter.)
- “Isn’t that the coolest!”
- “So, remember – anytime your mind starts to fill up with bad thoughts, worry and fear, chase it away with a prayer.”
- “God will wash your mind clean for you.” (Thank and dismiss volunteer.)