How about THAT title!?!!
Object lessons are the stuff! I love them. They give you opportunity to do something fun during the story, they keep everyone's attention, and the last reason is totally selfish.... When you finish an object lesson you often feel like a pretty good teacher for having pulled it off.
So here are a few object lessons (several of which I have done) that are fantastic. These aren't your "run of the mill' boring and mindless object lessons. Nope, these are the good ones...or at least some of the good ones.
Note: I'm a bit of a stickler when it comes to object lessons. If an object lesson is simply me holding up an object and comparing it to something I'm teaching about that is NOT a good object lesson. Telling me how a swiss army knife is like the Armor of the Believer isn't going to work. Peeling an orange and watching the unpeeled orange float, while the other one sinks...now THAT is an object lesson.
Generally...object lessons have an element of surprise. Something that makes kids go "WOW".
So let me start off with my favorite of all time...to this point.
1. Walking on Eggs (God Protects/Takes Care of Us)
I was talking about how God takes care of us...even in the most impossible scenarios. It was a lesson on the Shadrach, Meshach, and Obedingo and I wanted an object lesson to illustrate their utter dependence on God and his ability to rescue them.
I had looked and looked all week for an object lesson that would really make a big impact on the kids and the only ones I could find were total lame-sauce.
I would rather NOT use an object lesson than to do one that is terrible. (Perhaps it's a pride thing?)
So it was Saturday morning and I think I was on Pinterest when I discovered that you can walk on regular eggs, WITHOUT hard boiling them.
That's right, you can literally stand on eggs that are totally raw.
Needless to say, this worked perfectly for my story. And...if I do say so myself, the kids were all crowding around the stage as my volunteer put her foot onto the first carton of eggs and stood on them. Everyone held their breath to see what would happen.
So...I can vouch for the fact that this works. It's going to take some guts on your part to try it, but I'd encourage you to go for it!
2. Cut and Restored Rope (Sin Breaks Our Relationship With God)
So I was teaching on Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. (a story every kid has heard before). The point I wanted to drive home that Sunday was that sin breaks our relationship with God. When Adam and Eve sinned their relationship with God was broken, and it is the same with us.
So again, I started on what seemed like a fruitless hunt for a cool object lesson. I was looking for something with a little 'pizazz' to it. I wanted an object lesson that would make the kids go "wow!"
I believe it was Thursday of that week when I came across the video below. Looking back now I kind of feel a personal connection to this video because I remember watching it for the first time and realizing that I had finally found an object lesson that would work. (I was thrilled to say the least).
So here it is. If you haven't already figured it out, the cut rope allows you to demonstrate a connection being severed...and then when it is restored that is God restoring us to a relationship with Himself.
I hope you get half the fun out of this that I did!!
3. The Orange Armor (The Believer’s Armor)
Full disclosure, I haven't used this one yet. I actually saw this on Pinterest a while ago and am excited to teach on the Believer's Armor just so I can use this object lesson!
So here's what I suggest. I would start with 2 unpeeled oranges and then start talking about how some might say that they don't need "no stinkin' armor"! As you talk through this peel one of the oranges to mimic someone without their armor on.
Then place the peeled orange into the water and watch it sink to the bottom.
Naturally, the last step is to talk about how the believer's armor protects us and place the unpeeled orange into the water and see how it floats.
Now I have to admit, I am not a huge fan of making object lessons EXACT metaphors for what I am talking about. In other words I don't know that I would say "the orange peel is LIKE the believer's armor". I suggest talking through each idea and using the orange example as reinforcement of what you are saying. So when you talk about not needing armor, peel the orange, but don't say "the orange peel is like the believer's armor". Just seems to dumb the idea down a little.
So...on that note...here it is!
4. Egg Drop (Jesus Rescues/Redeems Us)
This particular lesson was about Jesus asking Peter 3 times, "Do you love me?"
In that moment, Jesus was redeeming Peter. Jesus was forgiving Peter for denying him and moving him into an incredible life of serving Jesus.
To illustrate being redeemed / rescued use this illustration:
As you set up the jug of water and then put the plate and toilet paper tube on top of it talk about how we do things that would separate us from God (sin). Describe actions that are wrong and that get in the way of our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Then put the egg on top.
Then, ask the kids, "how can we get the egg into the water without breaking it on the floor?" When I asked a bunch of 1st - 6th graders this no one had the right idea. (confession: I like it when the kids are stumped)
Then talk about how God redeems/rescues us...and as you do smack the plate / toilet paper tube away so that the egg safely falls into the water.
I was a little nervous, even after practicing this before hand, but it all worked out OK. This trick will make you a little nervous, but isn't that a little bit of the fun?!!
5. Disappearing Water (Jesus is Living Water)
I used this object lesson recently while teaching on the woman at the well. Since the story is about water it seemed natural to find an object lesson that also used water!
I mean...how smart am I !?!
Anyway...I started with pouring the water into each of the cups and talking about how the woman came to the well to draw water because she was thirsty. But as she talked to Jesus she realized he wasn't talking about the same water she was.
Jesus was talking about living water.
Then as you pour the water into the last cup (with the slush powder in it), and turn it upside down, you say "And living water meant she would never thirst again!".
I don't think the cups need to represent something in particular. They can just be used as an extra 'attention getter' as you review the story using the water in the cups.
Kids are smart enough to figure out that something (even if they don't know what) is going to happen during the cup demonstration.
My favorite part about doing little magic tricks like this in Sunday School are the kids who immediately call out "I know how you did that!". And then sure enough, as soon as the lesson is over, they are running up to you asking how to do the trick. I love it.
6. Water Over My Head (God can do the impossible)
I'm just going to be straight up with you. I don't remember exactly what I was talking about when I did this object lesson. Perhaps it was God protecting us, or God doing the impossible. Regardless, you could use this object lesson to illustrate any number of different ideas.
There are 3 'tricks' in this video...the one I'm referring to is the first one. And yes, it is as easy as it looks. I had to actually try it myself to believe that it worked, but when I did...sure enough, it works!
Pro Tip: Once you have the cup turned over, and before you left go of the paper/card over the cup put it over someone's head, and say something like "I hope this works!". Adds a little extra fun to the object lesson!
7. Dark Water Turned Clear (Jesus Cleanses Us From Sin)
My brother-in-law sent me this object lesson a while ago.
The video is pretty self-explanatory on how the illustration works...so without further adoo...
Fill the "Jesus" jar with half water, half bleach. Fill the "Sin" jar with water and dark food coloring. Fill the "You" jar with water.
8. Floating Ping Pong Ball (God is the source of power)
If I remember right I believe my lesson was on the Holy Spirit's power and how His presence helps us to live the Christian life.
Regardless of exactly how I used it, this object lesson will work really well for any situation where you want to talk about the 'invisible power' of God.
Get a hair dryer and a ping pong ball. Describe how, as much as the ping pong ball wants to stay in the air, it can't, no matter how hard it tries.
Then put a blow-dryer that's been turned on underneath it so the blow-dryer is blowing warm air up at the ping pong ball. Immediately the ping pong ball will stay airborne!
The nice part about this trick is you don't have to 'balance' the ping pong ball in the air. The ping pong ball will stay airborne even as you rotate the blow-dryer a bit. It is really pretty cool.
I'm pretty sure this is all the explanation this object lesson needs...so I'll just get out of the way and let you watch:
9. Balloon on a Stick (No More Than We Can Handle)
I haven't done this one, but after finding it for this post it won't be long before I use it.
Like all object lessons, there are probably a bunch of ways you can use this as an object lesson. One idea would be to talk about how God has promised He won't give us more than we can handle.
So when it seems like life is too 'heavy' we can be confident that God is in control and is only allowing us to go through what we are able to handle with His help.
One thing to note, as you watch the video, notice where he puts the needle through the balloon. It's at the point where the balloon is the least stretched, and consequently, where there is the most rubber.
Like all object lessons, I would strongly encourage you to try this at least once before doing it in front of a room full of kids!
10. Pencils Through a Bag of Water (Trusting God)
Apparently this one is about as easy as it sounds. You mostly fill a plastic bag with water and then sharpened pencils will go right through it.
Trusting God is not always easy, especially when we don't know what the outcome is going to be. It's in those times we have faith and trust that God knows what is best, and DO what He asks us to do.
As you talk about doing what God has asked, despite our reservations, begin doing what seems 'impossible'....poking the pencils through the bag of water.