This character building object lesson about forgiveness takes a fun science experience and relates it to the risks of choosing not to forgive. This is one more activity in my character building series.
Object lessons helps connect a hands-on and visual experience with the heart. A picture like the one presented today is more likely to stick in a child’s mind rather than just verbal instruction.
I love object lessons, and if you do too, you might enjoy all of the Bible object lessons.
Character Building Object Lesson About Forgiveness
One of the 52 traits I focus in in my character building education series is forgiveness. If you follow that link you will find 10 related lessons about forgiveness.
To learn more about my character building series, please visit this link.
The lessons in my character series address both the free gift of forgiveness that is offered up to us because of our belief in Jesus. There are also activities that relate to the importance of our forgiveness of others.
Here’s our Bible memory verse for this topic:
Forgiveness – “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”– Matthew 6:14
Work with kids to memorize this scripture so that you can better write the Word of God on their hearts.
Materials Needed for Object Lesson on Forgiveness
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Forgiveness Object Lesson
What does an exploding bag full of vinegar and baking soda have to do with forgiveness?
Before beginning, share with your kids the following quote:
“Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
This object lesson represents what we do to ourselves when we choose to not forgive.
When we cannot forgive, we bottle up the anger and hurt inside. It doesn’t go away. Rather, it builds and grows and has repercussions on our personal well being.
If appropriate depending on the age of the kids, you can talk about what forgiveness is and what it is not.
What is forgiveness? It is freeing someone from the the debt of whatever offense they committed against you. It is foregoing the right to get even.
What forgiveness is not:
- It is not minimizing what has been done to you.
- It is not letting them off the hook. You need to be honest about the hurt and destruction, and it is sometimes loving to let them experience consequences.
- It is not putting yourself back into a position where you can be damaged again. You do not need to put yourself in harms way because you chose to forgive.
- It is not forgetting what happened.
Courtesy of the marriage ministry ReEngage.
Why do we forgive? First, we forgive because the Bible asks us to forgive. Just see all of these verses. We also forgive over and over again because that is exactly what God does for us.
Time to tie in the lesson for today. I would recommend doing the experiment at this point and then speaking along the lines of this:
We also forgive because to not forgive harms us. The hurt and anger grows, and we suffer. The explosion found in the vinegar and baking soda is a visual of how our anger detonates due to a lack of forgiveness. This can result in verbal or physical responses or in an inward explosion that can lead to sadness or depression.
How to Make Exploding Vinegar and Baking Soda Bags that Teach About Forgiveness
- Add 1/4 cup warm water to a plastic Ziploc sandwich bag.
- Vinegar is next. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the same bag.
- Measure out 3 tsp of baking soda and dump that in the center of a tissue.
- Fold up the tissue around the baking soda.
- I did not find that the explosion was very big, but please have kids use safety goggles if you are concerned.
- Working quickly, drop the folded tissue into the bag and close it completely.
- Step back.
- If the reaction doesn’t happen quickly, shake the bag to agitate it and start the chemical reaction.
What is the Science Behind the Vinegar and Baking Soda Exploding Bag Experiment?
While this is primarily an object lesson on forgiveness, it’s also an opportunity to talk about science. God has given us a fascinating world full of structure, design, purpose and laws.
Our scientific laws and the formulas that make our world work are refined by our Creator.
So, what is happening in this experiment?
This is a chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar. It is an acid-base reaction. The reaction creates a gas called carbon dioxide. Gas expands and thus takes up more space. Since the experiment was created within a confined space, the gas continues to expand until…pop, the explosion happens.
Why the tissue? The tissue slows down the reaction so you have time to close the bag.