Use this free lesson plan to teach your children’s church about the parable of the soils. This classic Bible story is where Jesus explains the different responses that people have to his teachings. It teaches the importance of receiving God’s word with the right attitude in our hearts. Often times this is called the “Parable of the Sower.” With some modifications this Bible lesson would also work for a Children’s Sunday School class. Be sure to check out our additional learning activities about the parable of the sower.
Bible Story: Jesus’ Parable of the Soils
Scripture: Matthew 13:3-9; 18-23
Target Age Group: Age 7 – 12 (U.S. 1st – 6th Grade)
Time: 30 Minutes
Learning Context: Children’s Church
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Learning Objectives: After this lesson…
- Children express their knowledge about the 4 types of soil.
- Children express what they learned happened to the seeds on each soil.
- Children learn to express the spiritual lesson Jesus had from this parable.
- Bible: Matthew 13:3-9; 18-23. Highlight the important points from the passage beforehand to ensure specific explanation of them.
- Visual Aid: 4 cups of different soils; 4 of the same seeds; cut out of the sun, birds, twigs (as thorns), small group of fake flowers.
- Craft idea: cups of good planting soil and marigold seeds for each cup
Teaching Plan “Parable of the Soils”
Establish the lesson by briefly explaining the reason Jesus used parables in His teaching. Display the 4 cups of different soil in a place where all the children can see them and tell them what kind of soil resides in each one.
Prior to reading the passages, divide the children into four groups and assign a type of soil to each group. Ask them to listen for all the facts they learn about their soil and Jesus’ explanation about it.
Read (and Recap) Matthew 13:3-9; 18-23. As each soil is discussed, pick up that cup and use the sun, birds, twigs, or fake flowers to show what happened to the soil and seed as it began to sprout. When giving Jesus’ explanation, lift that cup again with the object that caused the problems for the seed to take root.
Reinforce the lesson by asking questions. After each presentation of soil ask the children “What happened to the seed when it tried to take root?” (The birds ate the seed, the rocks got in the way and sun burned it, thorns choked the seed, the seed multiplied over and over again.) What did Jesus say the seed represented? (The seed represented the giving of the salvation message, the Word of truth.) It is at this time a salvation message should be given.
When you’re finished reading the passage, use the cups of soil to review its type and what happened to it.
Ask for a response from the children about their listening assignment. Ask each group “What did you learn about what happened to your type of soil? How did Jesus explain what their soil represented?”
Select a volunteer from each group to talk about their soil, what happened to their soil, and Jesus’ explanation about their soil. Have children put some good planting soil in a cup and show them how deeply to plant the seed in the dirt. Put a small amount of water in each and encourage the children to care for their seed and watch it grow. Encourage them to replant it outside in the spring to watch it multiply.
Lesson Evaluation: Ask for one volunteer from each group to explain what they learned about their soil. Give a list of possible lessons and ask the children to stand up if the statement is true from the teaching in the passage.
- Birds always eat seeds when they are planted in the ground. False.
- Thorns choke plants from growing and reproducing. True.
- The sun always scorches a plant growing in soil. False.
- The seed in good soil always multiplies. True.
- The soil doesn’t determine how well a plant will grow. False.
- The enemy tries to snatch the truth from people believing. True.
- Rocky soil makes it hard for seeds to take root. True.
- The enemy deceives us with riches and tribulations. True.