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Reply to "ART Workshop Lessons & Ideas about Peter and Cornelius, Peter's Rooftop Vision"

We taught our series of Peter lessons again last summer and made some modifications. The art lesson we used the first time around was difficult and time consuming, especially for younger children. So, this time we chose a different activity — marbleized painting. It was fun, different, and turned out amazing! This technique could be a neat Pentecost or Baptism (or any water story) art activity as well. The swirling effect varies depending on the colors you choose.

Here's our updated art lesson....

Adventures with Peter: A New Vision

Art II WorkshopCornelius - marbleized paper

Summary of Lesson Activity

Children will create "Spirit Paintings" – using the technique of marbleizing paper that has been previously cut into symbols of the Holy Spirit – dove, flame, heart. Their creations will be adhered to a mat board.

In previous rotations we have studied Peter's denial, his restoration by Jesus, the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and Peter's healing of a lame man at the Temple gate.  This month we will continue our study of Peter's transformation with the story of Peter's vision and his meeting with the Roman Centurion, Cornelius.

Scripture Reference:

Acts 10

Memory Verse:
"I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism."  Acts 10:34  (NIV)

Theme: God's love and salvation is for everyone! God pours out the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles!

Bible Background is found in the Bible Background forum.

Objectives and Life Application:

  • Children will locate the story in the Bible.
  • Children will define Acts as a New Testament book of history.
  • Children will retell the story in their own words.
  • Children will discuss Jewish dietary laws and the implication for the early church.
  • Children will identify Pentecost as the day God's gift of the Holy Spirit came to the Jewish believers.
  • Children will identify Cornelius as a Gentile and a Roman centurion.
  • Children will define: Gentile, centurion.
  • Children will locate Joppa, Jerusalem and Caesarea on the map.
  • Children will understand that God desires everyone to be saved.
  • Children will understand that salvation comes through belief and trust in Jesus Christ.
  • Children will memorize Acts 10:34.

Leader Preparation:

  • Review background information and lesson materials.
  • Gather necessary supplies.
  • Read about how to marbleize paper - here are a couple of possible sites: here and here. (Note: If these links go dead, do an internet search for "marbled paper" or "marbleizing paper")
  • Use the three symbol patterns to trace and cut out shapes from the white card stock – each child will need one of each pattern – a flame, a dove and a heart.
  • Cover the tables with plastic tablecloths – this is a messy project!
  • Make a sample to understand the process.
  • Fill several plastic bins with water and set on the end of the table.
  • Mix the acrylic paint with a slight amount of water to thin slightly and put in bowls – (the paint should sit on the surface of the starch not drop to the bottom of the pan. Don’t thin too much or the paint will spread out over the surface of the starch, and the colors will muddy).
  • Set out several thicknesses of paper towels on the back table where the shapes can be placed to dry.
  • Write the memory verse on the board in the room.


  • Bibles: for K-2 The Picture Bible - "God, A Roman and a Jew," pp. 708-710;  for 3-5th grades: NIV Adventure Bible
  • Black Bristol board or mat board, 8 X 20 inch rectangles; one per child (may need to have these cut at a frame shop)
  • One patterns of each symbol – a flame, a dove, and a heart
  • White card stock, matte finish
  • 9 X 13 aluminum baking pans or similar plastic bins – one for each pair of children
  • Plastic dish tubs filled with water – one for each table
  • Acrylic paint – red, orange, yellow
  • Water
  • Plastic/foam bowls – one for each color paint, make a set for each table
  • Plastic spoons – one for each bowl of paint
  • Liquid Starch
  • Powdered alum
  • ½ tsp measuring spoon
  • Paper towels
  • Thin paint brushes or wooden skewers
  • Iron or hair dryer
  • Pencils
  • Glue sticks
  • Memory verse labels
  • Paper towels

Lesson Plan


Welcome the children and take time for introductions. Please include the shepherd in introductions. Tell the children that they will continue to learn about Peter and how his faith grew.

Opening Prayer
Loving, Mighty and Powerful God, Thank you for this day and for the amazing stories in the Bible that teach us about you. Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to be with us so that we can understand you better and have your power living inside us!   AMEN”


Introduce the Story:
Ask: We've been studying Peter for several months now — what are some things you remember about Peter?
Do: Review with the children some of the key events in Peter's story (he was a fisherman, Jesus called him to "fish for people," he was one of the disciples, he was very close to Jesus, Jesus changed his name from Simon to Cephas (Peter) which means "rock," he believed that he would follow Jesus always, but denied him when Jesus was arrested, he met Jesus on the beach after Jesus rose from the dead, he was filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, he healed a lame man at the Temple Gate).

Say: This month we'll continue to learn how Peter is changed! The Holy Spirit in him continues to grow him and teach him new things about God and the Christian life. As Peter grows in faith, he learns more and more about God. Some of the things he thought he understood, are now challenged. God is calling Peter to think about faith in a new and bigger way. Let’s learn more about our story now…

Bible Study:
Where in the Bible would we find a story about Peter and the early church? (Acts, New Testament)

Grades K-2
Use The Picture Bible pages 708-710

Help the children locate page 708.
Read "God, A Roman and a Jew," on pages 708-710, as the children follow along.

Grades 3-5
Note: We use the NIV Adventure Bible

Say:  Today’s story is found in the book of Acts. Acts is the only book of history in the New Testament.

Do: Have the children locate Acts 10 in their Bibles. Assign volunteers to read (calling on children randomly to read helps the group stay focused) as the other children follow along in their Bibles:

Cornelius Calls for Peter - Acts 10:1-8
Peter's Vision Acts -10:9-16
Visitors Arrive - Acts 10:17-23
Peter at Cornelius's House - Acts 10:24-29
Acts 10:30-33
Acts 10:34-43
Acts 10:44-48

Do: Review the following Bible note with the children: "Did you Know? Why did God send Peter a vision?" (on page 1211).


  • What happened when Peter went to visit Cornelius? (he told him about Jesus and the Holy Spirit filled Cornelius and his family)
  • What is a centurion? (a Roman soldier in charge of at least 100 men)
  • Why did God give Peter this strange vision? Was it really just about animals? (NO! He wanted Peter to know he loved everyone and that the gospel message was for the Gentiles as well as the Jews -- explain meaning of Gentile)
  • Why was Peter surprised that God told him to kill and eat the animals in his vision? (because Jewish food laws forbid eating certain foods)
  • Why was this such a brave thing for both Peter and Cornelius to do? (it is hard to be with people who are different, Peter might have been afraid of a Roman soldier, Romans might have made fun of Cornelius for believing in God, Peter might have worried about what his Jewish friends would think)
  • What do you think it was like for Peter to adjust his thinking in this way?
  • What did Peter learn about God from this experience? What do we learn?

Memory Verse Work:
  (Each rotation we encourage the children to memorize the Rotation Memory Verse. Review it with the children at this time.)

"I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism." Acts 10:34

Ask: What does it mean to show favoritism?
Does God play favorites?
Say: Peter learned that God loves everyone – even people who were different than he was.

*Note if the topic of circumcision comes up -- explain that this is something Jewish people did to set themselves apart from other people.

Marbleized Spirit Paintings -- Introduce the Activity
Do: Show children the symbols and discuss the meaning of them.
Say: The Holy Spirit came to Cornelius and his household, just as it had to Peter and his Jewish friends on Pentecost. Cornelius and his household were Gentiles (non-Jews). So this is sometimes called the Gentile Pentecost! Symbols of the Holy Spirit are flame and dove.
Ask: Why might we also have a heart as a symbol? (to show that God’s love is for everyone!)

Say:  Christians have used these symbols to remind us of the Holy Spirit for centuries. We’re going to paint our symbols with a technique called marbleizing.

Marbleized Spirit Paintings — Directions:

  1. Have the children put on paint smocks. Children will work in pairs.
  2. Pass out a pencil and three card stock shapes to each child. Have them lightly write their name on the back each shape and set aside.
  3. Pass out the plastic bins or baking pans – one per pair of children.
  4. Help the children pour liquid starch into the bin/pans to fill to about 1.5 inches.
  5. Add ½ tsp. powdered alum to the starch and stir well.
  6. Using the plastic spoons, drip several spoons of each paint color onto the starch in the pan.
  7. Use the skewer to create streaky or swirling designs in the paint on the top of the starch. Don’t blend too much or you’ll end up with all one color. The swirls and patterns will create a beautiful effect on the paper.
  8. Have each pair of children carefully place his/her first shape in the pan, pencil names facing UP – two shapes should fit in the bin/pan. Gently press the surface of the paper so that all parts of the paper contact the starch/paint mixture.
  9. Count to five and then gently lift the paper straight up letting the starch drip off the paper into the pan.
  10. Immerse the painted shapes into the tub of plain water and gently rinse off the starch.
  11. Set the shapes out to dry on the paper towels.
  12. If most of the paint was absorbed onto the card stock, add another spoon of each paint color to the starch mixture, and swirl the paint again with the skewer. Repeat the process two more times with the remaining two shapes.
  13. Allow the shapes to dry. After about 15-20 minutes you can place the shapes between two pieces of paper towel and iron flat.
  14. Give each child a section of black mat board and a memory verse sticker. Have them use a glue stick to glue the shapes onto the mat board and place the memory verse sticker in the center bottom or top. Children may wish to place the images either horizontally or vertically on the board.


Do: Encourage the children to come back next week for another workshop, and to invite their friends.   Remind the children of one word or concept from today’s session. (vision, dream, change, Gentile, centurion, favoritism) are some possibilities. Ask for prayer requests and pray together, ending with the Lord’s Prayer.

completed project-1completed project - 2completed project - 3
Click on the pictures to see a slide show of sample projects.

A lesson written by Jaymie Derden from: State Street UMC – G.R.E.A.T. Adventure
Bristol, VA

This lesson created and copyrighted by State Street UMC, Bristol, VA, 2016. Permission granted for non-commercial, local church use, provided credit is give to the source.

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.


Images (4)
  • Cornelius - marbleized paper
  • completed project-1
  • completed project - 2
  • completed project - 3
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