20 minutes (for the lesson – if you do the part about hardening the goo, you will need to bring the “Peter rocks” back to the kids during the next lesson)
This object lesson teaches about Peter both before and after Pentecost. It focuses on his transformation into “the rock.” It’s very tactile and can be quite a bit messy without good supervision, but the kids will really enjoy getting to work with the cornstarch and water mixture.
- NOTE: When I originally did this lesson, I found some Styrofoam containers at a restaurant supply store that worked perfectly. They are the type that fast food chains sometimes put hamburgers into and have a top and bottom that fold together to close. Instead of the bowls and measuring cups listed below, you can use these containers to hold the water and the cornstarch (one on each side of the container when it is opened. This way, your measurements are done before the kids arrive, and you don’t need so many measuring cups.)
- Corn starch (about 4 oz per child – but have extra at the front for children to use to thicken the consistency)
- Water (about ½ cup – but have extra at the front for children to use to weaken the consistency)
- Cookie sheets or wax paper for the children to work on
- Small bowls for each of the children
- Spoons for stirring the mixture (optional – the children could use their hands)
- ½ cup measuring cups (one for every two or three children)
- Drop cloth to go under all the work areas
- Molds that represent Peter – some ideas are a rock or the letters “P-E-T-E-R.” You can also use a muffin tin.
- Paper towels and/or a nearby sink for clean up
- Masking tape and a marker so that you can label the “rocks” with the children’s names while they dry
- Paints and brushes or markers for decorating the “rocks” after they have hardened
- (Optional) Ziplock bags for each child if you prefer to let them take their goo home with them.
· Lay out the drop cloth under all the areas where the children will be working.
· Divide up the supplies so that each child has the amounts described above.
· Use the masking tape and marker to label the molds or muffin tin spaces so that you’ll know later whose rock is whose.
· Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “We’re going to do a fun experiment today that will teach us about Peter and God.”
- “In front of you, you have some things from a kitchen.” (Hold each up as you describe it.)
- “You’ve got a cookie sheet (or wax paper), and that’s to keep from making a mess that will be hard to clean up.”
- “You have a bowl, a spoon, some water, a measuring cup and some powder.”
- “The powder is called cornstarch.”
- “We’re going to mix the water and the cornstarch together to make a paste that’s like ‘Peter,’ and we have to do it in the right amounts, so do exactly what I do, okay.”
- “Pour the cornstarch into the bowl.”
- “Then, pour in about ½ cup of water.”
- “Now, use the spoon (or your hands) to mix the cornstarch and the water together.”
- “When it’s good and mixed, it should ooze like honey. If yours doesn’t, let me know, and I’ll bring you some extra ingredients to help you get it there.” (Add water to soften the paste; add cornstarch to thicken it.)
- “Now, pour it from your bowl onto the cookie sheet.”
- “Kind of gooey, right? It just oozes.”
- “That’s like Simon-Peter before he spent so much time with Jesus.”
- “You see, Simon-Peter was first called just ‘Simon,’ which means ‘listens and obeys.’”
- “But Simon wasn’t very good at either of those things.”
- “When Jesus first met him, He gave Simon the name ‘Peter,’ which means ‘rock.’”
- “But Peter wasn’t much of a rock, either.”
- “Jesus gave him the new name, because He wanted Peter to start acting more like a rock.”
- “A rock is solid. If it’s a big rock, you can’t push it around. It takes a stand and doesn’t move.”
- “But Peter wasn’t anything like a rock.”
- “He would take a stand for something, but when it got difficult, he would give up or run away.”
- “Or maybe we should say, he would ‘ooze’ away like this goo.”
- “But then one day that we’ve come to call ‘Pentecost,’ Peter was with all the other Apostles waiting in Jerusalem because Jesus had told them to wait there.” (The story is found in Acts 2.)
- “Jerusalem was full of Jews and people who converted to Judaism from all over the world.”
- “There were Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians, Judeans, Capadocians, Pontusians, Asians, Phrygians, Pamphylians, Egyptians, Romans, Cretans and Arabs, and they all spoke different languages.”
- “Suddenly, the Apostles all heard a sound like a rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were waiting.”
- “They looked at each other and saw little tongues of fire on everyone, but it wasn’t the kind of fire that burns.”
- “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, who is the third Person of God, and they began to speak in languages that they didn’t even know.”
- “They went outside, and people start to look at them in amazement.”
- “The people could tell that these men were just normal men who lived nearby, so they couldn’t understand how they could speak so many different languages.”
- “In fact, they spoke all the languages of the people who had come to visit Jerusalem.”
- “And that’s when it happened! Peter became a rock right there in front of everyone!”
- “He jumped up where everyone could see him and began to preach to everyone about Jesus.”
- “He told them to stop sinning and to give their hearts to Jesus.”
- “He preached so powerfully that 3,000 people became Christians that day!”
- “And from that day on, Peter was a rock.”
- “He was no longer afraid of what other people thought about him, and he didn’t run away from anyone. He stood firm!”
- “I told you that this goo is like Peter. Well it’s like him both before and after he became the rock.”
- “Try to roll your goo between your hands, and see what happens.”
- “It hardens up, doesn’t it?”
- “But let it drip between your fingers, and it turns back into a liquid.”
- “You see, Peter became the “rock” only when he was in God’s hand.”
- “When he wasn’t resting in God’s powerful hand, Peter was more like the goo, but when he listened to God and obeyed Him, Peter became the rock!” (Let kids play with the goo for some time, and then say the following.)
- “Okay, now that we’ve seen what Peter is like, we’re going to harden him up into the “rock” for good just like what happened at Pentecost.”
- “Pour your Peter goo into these molds (or muffin tins).” (Have each child pour their goo into the mold or tin labeled with his or her name.)
- “Do you remember what the Apostles saw on each other after they heard the rushing wind?” (Flames of fire)
- “Right! Well, I’m going to add some fire to our Peter goo, and next time we meet, it will be hardened into a rock.”
- “You know, what’s true for Peter is true for us, too.”
- “When we are in God’s hand (meaning that we are trusting God and not just ourselves), we are like a rock. We will have the courage to stand our ground for God.”
- “But when we try to do things our own way, we leave God’s hand and make a mess.”
- “So, whenever you are going through a tough time, and you’re feeling gooey, remember to pray to God and ask Him to cover you with His hand.”
Take the goo in the molds/tins and either bake it or put it in the sun until hardened. When you meet with the children again, give them their “Peter Rocks,” and let them decorate them with paint or markers. Ask them questions about the lesson from the previous meeting, and see if they can answer them.
2 responses to “Peter – The Rock”
how long and on what temp. do I bake the rocks?
can I microwave them?
Hi Crystal…sorry about the late reply. I recommend 400 degrees for 15 min. Check them, and see if they need more time. They may take longer if they are more liquid than solid when putting them in. I haven’t tried to microwave them, but I have my doubts that they would come out firm. Good luck!