10-15 minutes for the icebreaker (the recommended lessons will take longer.)
This object lesson is a fun visual that reminds kids to trust God even when circumstances are looking bad. Use it as an icebreaker for a larger lesson. There is a little bit of “magic” and a little bit of science in this lesson that gives it some “Wow!” factor.
· Canning jar (“Mason jar”) with a screw-top lid and a removable insert
· Small piece of screening (like what covers your windows – enough to cover the top of the canning jar)
· Pitcher of water
· Piece of poster board – 3” x 3”
· If you don’t want to make your own jar, you can order one for approximately $10 from Steve Spangler Science (www.stevespanglerscience.com). It’s called the “Mysterious Water Suspension Trick.”
· Cut the piece of screening so that it fits over the opening of the jar. You want some overlap so that the lid will hold the screening securely to the jar.
· Screw on the band part of the lid, but leave the removable insert out.
· You might want to laminate your poster board square but only if you plan on using it multiple times.
· Practice the trick. Flipping the jar upside down is the most challenging part.
· Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “Hey, everybody! Who’s having a great day?” (Listen for responses, and select the most enthusiastic child to come up to the front.)
- (To the child…) “Have you had a pretty good day so far?” (While you are asking, pour water from the pitcher into the jar. Don’t let them see the screening over the top.)
- “Would you say that you’ve been a really good kid today?” (While you are asking, place the poster board square on top of the jar.)
- “Would you say that you have you been really, really good today?” (While you are asking, flip the jar and the poster board square upside down, and hold them over the child’s head. Keep your hand under the poster board square so that it looks like you are supporting it. In reality, the water droplets inside the screening and the air pressure pushing up on the poster board will hold the card in place.)
- (Ask the audience…) “What do you think? Has he/she been really, really good? …or should I pull away the card?” (Most will typically encourage you to pull it away, so with as much drama as you can muster, pull the card away. The water will stay in the jar. The water droplets develop surface tension inside the tiny holes in the screen. This and the fact that if you hold the jar perfectly level, no air can get in to replace and water that leaves, will hold the water in.)
- “I guess you have been really, really good!” (Tilt jar just a little, and some water will pour out until you level out the jar again. The kids usually get a big kick out of their peer getting wet.)
- “Oops. Maybe you weren’t quite that good.” (You can thank your volunteer and send him/her back to his/her seat. If you want, you can have other kids come up and try. Finish with the following tie-ins to your lesson.)
- “Sometimes, things look really bad, like when I held the jar of water over his/her head.”
- “Remember during those times to trust God.”
- “He has the ability to do the impossible in your life (like stopping gravity), and He can turn the bad stuff into good.”
- “The Bible says that God will make everything work for you if you know Him as your heavenly father.” (Romans 8:28)
- “Things might look bad, and you may not be able to see a way for things to turn out okay, but God knows all things. He can make a way out where there seems to be no way.” (After your lesson, you can tell the kids how the trick works. They might even enjoy making their own water suspension jars to try out on their friends at home.)
- Some recommended lessons on trusting God when things look bad that will work with this icebreaker:
- Joseph (anything from Genesis 37 to 45)
- Ruth (you might need to give a summary of the entire story)
- David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17)
- Elisha and the Widow’s Oil (2 Kings 4)
- Elisha and the Shunammite’s Son (2 Kings 4)
- Hezekiah and Sennacherib (2 Chronicles 32)
- Esther (you might need to give a summary of the entire story)
- Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego (Daniel 3)
- Daniel and the Lion’s Den (Daniel 6)
- Jesus’ Arrest and Crucifixion (any of the Gospels)
- Peter in Prison (Acts 12)