Surprise or known fact, it is often the most simple and seemingly mundane things that make the best teachable moments for kids. Jesus demonstrated this principle in His ministry. From coins to fish to farming, Christ used parables to explain His points. By using objects that are familiar to kids, the basic and more complex elements of God’s word come to understandable life.
*Note: This lesson contains peanuts! Please check for allergies before using J
Lesson focus: People have many different outside appearances and often do different things, but inside God makes us all the same.
Passage: Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:7, 18-25; Psalm 139
Target Audience: Younger students (pre-K-2nd grade would benefit most, probably)
Materials Needed: Paper, decorative materials, peanuts!
Lesson Opening: The focus of this lesson is God’s marvelous little protein package, the peanut! Begin the lesson by handing a peanut to each child in your group. Invite them to observe all that they can about the nuts: appearance, feel, smell (save taste for later though). Then hand everyone another peanut or two and have them compare. Are the peanuts all exactly alike? How are they different? Note how some of the peanuts are slightly larger than others, and some are more round rather than lumpy-bumpy. Some might have darker shells or cracks. They are not all identical, and none of the peanuts are perfect. But what’s inside the shell? Have students crack the shells (some may need assistance) and find the tasty treasure inside. Now are the items similar?
This little peanut-prodding activity is an illustration of how God made people. On the outside, we are all quite different. Some of us are taller, some shorter; some have different skin or eyes or ears or voices. None of us has a perfect outer “shell.” But on the inside, we are all children of GOD. Now, we might still be a little different on our inside features (so are nuts), but we are still peanuts—er, people, made in God’s image. The Bible tells us this right from the start:
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” -Genesis 1:26-28
God made each and every one of us and we belong to HIM. When we look at other people, God’s stamp is there! And you know what else? God gave us all many abilities and talents. Describe for children (or have them brainstorm) all of the amazing things peanuts can do. We can crush them for peanut butter, use them for peanut oil, boil them southern-style, or just eat them by the handful! Well, people all have amazing potential for different things too. God has chosen some to be teachers or pastors, some might be writers or artists, and others blessed with athleticism or incredible intelligence. But God did all of that!
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. -Psalm 139:13-16
Peanuts are really quite special. They have incredible power and potential and God made them just right, with protein for eating and special skins and shells for protection. They might be slightly different on the outside, but inside they are all peanuts! God did just about the same people with another product of His creation…people. J
Invite some more peanut production with special artwork. Have students select several nuts and make a peanut portrait. They can draw faces on their peanuts or glue on eyes or even clothes. Help them tape or glue the peanuts (or maybe shell and glue) onto paper and add extra decorations. Or if students do not wish to design peanut people, they can always make a peanut collage of whatever subject leaning is fun!
Close with prayer and reminder of God’s work in our lives. Thank God for making us so special and unique, and pray for success in doing His will.