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Miscellaneous Ideas, Activities, and Resources for the Parable of Talents, Pounds

Post your Sunday School miscellaneous ideas, activities, and resources for the Parable of the Talents, Pounds.

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Matthew 25:14–30, master who entrusts his property to his servants, Buried talent, stewardship, Kingdom, giving, etc.

Posted by member WendyB

There is a cool experiment for Parable of the Talents.
You cut a coffee filter in long strips, and you need a glass filled with just an inch or two of water and colored markers.

The people draw a small circle at the end of a filter strip using several colors on top of each other. Then you place the other end in the water. As the water goes up the strip, the colored dot spreads and you see many different colors that make up that one color.

Test this with different markers first.

This is used to point out that God has given each of us many hidden "talents" to share with others. The adults teaching it thought it was just as cool as the kids! 

Neil MacQueen wrote:

A "What buries your talents?" Trashcan Idea:  

Rather than just focusing on the traditional "what do we bury" use this trashcan idea to "dig" into

"What do we bury our gifts WITH?"  and "WHY do we bury?"

We bury what God has given us with EXCUSES, with Other Commitments. Lack of Faith, Laziness, Selfishness. We crowd him out. We bury our gift of compassion with being too embarrassed or too busy to help.  Uncaring. Thinking we can't make a difference. Expand the list!

Older kids could come up with this list of "things which bury the gifts, opportunities to serve, help, give."

Bring in several large trashcans. Kids discuss how to Label the trashcans by what we use to bury God's gifts with (Excuse, Lack of Faith, etc).  Kids now create the trash/dirt we use to bury those gifts. Give them stacks of old newspaper, or styrofoam packing, or things like gravel and bricks. All these things can be metaphors to the older kids to discuss.  What gets in the way of using our talents for God's work?

Place "the gift" in the bottom of each can. It can be a small box sealed with a ribbon. Inside are slips of paper put there by the kids with a "talent" or "gift" that gets buried.  Older kids can work in small groups with their trashcan, labeling it, filling it, making the gift and coming up with the slips.

Then they present their "buried gift" to the entire class as a presentation, and inviting a group to come look for the gift.

The older kids or you could also create "tools" that the kids must use to remove the trash. What would you label of shovel?  Could you make a shovel out of a stick and Bible? How about a set of cardboard praying hands? (How does Prayer help us remove the excuses in our lives?)  How does God's Word help us dig through the garbage to help us reveal God's gift?  (I'm thinking off the top of my head here!  Run with it!)

Jan FPC Napa wrote:

Neil, used your ideas of what we bury our gifts with as part of the "modern" version of the story and it turned out really good ... people got it!

Talent Toolbox Idea from Nanci H:

I used this "parable of Talents" children's sermon (found at ). It gave me the idea for a woodworking workshop - we are making and decorating toolboxes to take home. On the toolbox we wrote various "spiritual talents" that a person could have:  caring, speaking the truth, giving, giving thanks, learning, praying, helping others, interpreting the Bible, etc. (See "gifts of the spirit.)

Inside we placed things the kids had worked on: a collection of key verses from the Bible attached to a key-ring. Two prayers, one of thanksgiving and one asking for help.  A dollar to use to help someone in need. And a small tape measure with the words written on the back of the tape: "Measure Up to God's Expectations".  

We also made a blueprint using white marker on blue paper titled: "A plan for you". On it the kids drew a picture of a body with things labeled like:  "Fill your thoughts with good things, not bad", and "Feet: Be Swift to Help Others", and "Tongue: Do not be mean", and "Arms: Embrace and love".  These were discussed and listed on the board prior to making the tool box items.

We also bought a bunch of those small inexpensive "tools in a pouch" kits and gave one to each child's toolbox. On them we placed a label that read: "Build Your Life on the Rock, Jesus!"

"Three Toolboxes" Story Excerpt:
For the full story and related resources, go to

Once upon a time there was a man who had a construction business. The man had to go away on a long trip and so he called his three employees together and said, "I have to go on a long trip and so I am leaving you three in charge. I have put together a tool box for each of you to use to keep the business going while I am gone."

The man then gave each of his employees a tool box. The tool boxes contained all the tools the employees needed to do what the man expected of them, but since the three employees didn't all have the same abilities, each toolbox was different. To the first employee, he gave a very large tool box filled with every tool that you can imagine. To the second employee, he gave a smaller toolbox, but one that still had a very good assortment of tools. To the third employee, he gave a very small tool box with just a few tools, but enough tools for the employee to do what was expected of him.

The man then left to go on his trip. When he returned, he called his employees together to see what they had done while he was gone.

The first employee said, "I knew that you had a great love for the homeless people of the world, so I used the toolbox that you gave me to build homes for the homeless.

"That is great!" said the employer. "You have done so well that I am going to put you in charge of all new construction for the entire company."

The second employee said, "I knew that you had a great love for the elderly, so I used the toolbox you gave me to fix up the homes of old people who can no longer do the work themselves."

"That is wonderful!" said the employer. "You have done such a good job, that I am putting you in charge of all the repair and maintenance work for the entire company."

Then he turned to the third employee and asked, "What did you do with the tools that I left for you?"

"I knew that you are a very demanding boss and that you expect a lot from your employees. I was afraid that if I used the tools you gave me that one of them might get broken or that I might lose one of them and make you angry. I put the tools in a very safe place. They were there all the time you were gone. Look, here they are, just like new."

Lisa M wrote:

Use Sunday Software's Parable of the Talents story and activities found in their Awesome Bible Stories software which is now available to all the supporting members of FOR FREE.

The interactive story in that software unpacks the images and dialog in the story. Also has a follow up Board Game about burying and using your talents.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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A Music Workshop Lesson Idea

During our 2013 renovation, we found this gem. The thing you have to keep in mind is that all the different instruments are going to create a funny cacophony, but that is the POINT!  

God's Spirit turns our talents into a symphony.

Originally posted by member Jan of Napa:


  • candle (battery operated) or flashlight 
  • CD Player
  • CD - “This Little Light of Mine” (on Bob & Larry’s Sunday Morning Songs CD).
  • Assortment of Musical Instruments such as: Boomwhackers, bells, etc.

Review the story of the Parable of the Talents by having everyone sit in a circle. Hand one person a candle (battery operated) or flashlight and tell a sentence from the parable. Then pass the candle to the next person to add on a sentence. If someone does not know what comes next (can’t remember or their first time hearing the story) they can say “pass” and pass it along to the next person. Workshop leader should be prepared to help out if necessary.

After story review:

Ask:  When a band plays, does everyone play the same instrument? (No) 

Say: Different people play different instruments, as well as, different notes at different times to create a beautiful song. We are all children of God and together we’re like a band. We all have different parts to play in order to accomplish our goal. Nobody here plays a solo.

The church is like a body. Not all the people do the same thing, but all are necessary. If one person refuses to do their part, it hurts the whole body. We all have a part to play that contributes to the work God wants us all to accomplish together. 

While learning about the Parable of the Talents that Jesus told, we’ve discovered that each of us has at least one spiritual gift that God has given us and various abilities or talents.

Ask:  Can anyone name a gift they have discovered they have?

Ask:   Can anyone name some of the roles that various people in the church fill. (usher, reader, choir/music, deacons, teaching, etc.) 

Have group think which roles their talents may lead them to fill in the future.

Ask:    Have you heard of the song “This Little Light of Mine”? This song is talking about our “light” that we should shine. What do you think that light is? (God’s love in us, our gifts and talents God has given us) God wants us to shine our gifts and talents and use them to help others to bring glory to God. Let’s listen and sing along to “This Little Light of Mine” (on Bob & Larry’s Sunday Morning Songs CD).

Say: Earlier I mentioned: We all have different parts to play in order to accomplish our goal. We’re going to play a song together now and each of us will have one instrument and one note to play. By itself, one note would be nice, but together we can make a whole song!

Pass out Boomwhackers and learn, then play the song. Could also use bells or other instruments with just using the beat.

Moderator adds:  Ask your organist to write you up an easy 8-note bell/boomwacker version of the song.

Resources: Info on Boomwhackers can be found at:

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Parable of the Talents

Miracles of Science Laboratory
Small Gifts That Can Do Great Things

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Use a balloon demonstration that shows what can happen if they use their gifts to help God’s work on earth.

Lesson Objectives:

  • To teach the children that God gives each person talents/abilities and that even children can benefit the body of Christ.
  • The children should be able to describe how their talents can be used within the church. At the end of the unit they should be able to recite the memory verse.

Scripture Reference:  Matthew 25:14-30

Memory Verse:

“God has given gifts to each of you from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you.”  1 Peter 4:10

Materials List:

  • Bibles
  • Sink or a five gallon jug of water with a spout, a stool (to put the jug on), a bucket, drop cloth
  • A balloon for each child
  • A piece of carpet
  • A permanent marker
  • Memory Verse Sheets

Leader Preparation:


Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction: 

Welcome the children to Miracles of Science Laboratory. While you wait for all the children to arrive, have them work on their memory verse. Start a discussion about what they think it means. The older children can write the verse in their journals.

Ask the children to name something they do really well. Ask them how they used their talents during the week.

Open with a prayer.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

Enter the Story:  Gather the children together to read the Bible Story. Read or tell the story yourself or ask for volunteers to take turns reading it.

Talk about the third servant. What was he afraid of?
What is scary about God to some people?

Should we be scared?  We are saved by God's grace. I suppose we should ONLY be scared of letting God down. Did the servant know that?

Do you think the Master cast out the servant forever?  
Think of the Good Shepherd. He goes out after even the lost sheep. Jesus said he came to save sinners, not cast them out.  But God does get disappointed and even angry with us sometimes. Perhaps the servant was put in TIME OUT !!

Ask the children if they have ever been afraid to use a talent or a gift even if they are really good at it. Prompt them with things like: singing in public, trying out for a sports team, giving a hug to someone who looks sad, making a gift, earning or saving money, telling your friend about Jesus?

What does this parable encourage us to do? Will God like it if we try or if we never try?

The Experiment. (Adapted from Amazing Science Devotions for Children)

  • Tell the children that they are going to do an experiment that show what can happen if they use their gifts to help God’s work on earth.
  • Ask for volunteers to blow up two balloons and tie them off (or do this yourself if you’re working with younger kids).
  • Lay out the drop cloth and towels on the floor and put the stool on top of them. Make sure it isn’t tippy. Put the water jug on top of the stool and the bucket beneath the spout.
  • Have a volunteer draw a sad face on one of the balloons and a happy face on the other. 

Show the sad faced balloon to the children and say, “This is Chris the Balloon." (Hint: Chris and Pat can be either boy or girl names. Always refer to the balloons by their names and not he or she. This way the children can decide in their own minds if they are boys or girls.)

Chris has talents but is afraid to use them. Chris thinks his talents are weak. That he's not faithful enough.  Maybe people have told Chris he isn't good at things. 

Put your hand near the water. Can YOU make it change directions just by putting your hand near it? No, you don't have that miraculous gift!!  

Let's see if Chris can change the flow of water.”

Turn on the spout so a slow stream of water comes out and slowly bring the balloon close to the water. Turn off the spout. Ask the children if they saw anything happen.  NO, Chris didn't have the gift of moving the water either!   Actually, Chris COULD have moved that water. Chris had the talent, but he just didn't know how to use it.

NOW..... Show the happy faced balloon and say, “This is Pat. Pat has talents and decides to use them.” Ask for a volunteer to rub the balloon on a carpet square. Make sure the child doesn’t rub too hard!  This works particularly well in a cool room with low humidity, btw.

  • Turn on the spout so it’s running in a slow stream like before. Ask, “Do you think Pat’s gifts can make a difference to this stream of water?” Slowly bring the balloon close to the water. Do not let the balloon touch the water because that will uncharge the balloon. As the balloon gets close to the water, the stream of water will curve out toward the balloon!
  • Ask, “What happened? Why?
  • What caused the water to move?”
  • Say, “Static electricity made the water move. When we rubbed the balloon on the carpet, it charged the balloon with an "electric charge." The charge attracted the water molecules toward the balloon because water is a conductor of electricity and the static electricity wants to MOVE!  It wants to transfer.  

Let the kids take turns rubbing the balloon and making the water move.

Then give them a balloon and let them rub it on their hair or carpet and put near their hair. The static charge will attract the hair. You might even get a small spark of electricity!

We all have things we can do, even small thing. We have all been given GIFTS by our Master, we just need to know what to do with them. And even small gifts can do amazing things.

More Life Application.

  • Gather the children together and talk about what they observed when “Chris” did not use his gifts and when “Pat” did use their gifts.
  • Ask the children to tell you some of their gifts. (This may be redundant to them if they have been in another workshop first, but remind them that you do not know what their gifts are.)
  • Ask the children what this experiment and parable mean to each of them. Get each child to give you an answer.
  • Tell the children that it is now up to them to use their gifts in order to give pleasure to God. 

Life Application Activity: Light as a Feather

I know some of you think you are too small to change the world. That some problems are TOO BIG to solve with just your little gift.  But what happens when we come to church so that we can POOL our gifts together?

Let's see!

Have one person lay flat on the floor. Tape a sign on their belly that says things like "care for the sick, help the weak, feed the hungry, teach others about Jesus". 

See if one student can lift this problem/person with one hand. They can't.

Now have the class gather around the student and each place one hand (or two with younger children) underneath the student. The teacher should take the HEAD. Lift together and UP they go!!!


Dear God, We have so many talents and abilities. Guide us this week as we use our talents to help others and teach them about you. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen 


Amazing Science Devotions For Children’s Ministry by Group Publishing, 1999.

A story from Neil's Church:
We had the kids collecting pennies in a jug for mission. Then the pastor suggested that some wealthy members give in proportion to what the kids were giving. He told them not to bury their gifts in their wallet, or bury their ability to give in their stomachs by going out to eat after church. while the kids collected pennies.  Suddenly, $5 and $10 bills started appearing in the jug.  


A lesson posted by member Jane Kampion.

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by CreativeCarol

This wonderful Parables Liturgy/poem was originally posted by the Rotation folks at Desoto Pres in Dallas Tx.  It mentions several parables, including the talents/pounds.  



Choral Reading:

Leader: When Jesus on this earth did dwell, 
All: Many a story He loved to tell.

Leader: We call them parables, and in each
All:  Is a lesson Jesus wanted to teach.

Leader: When you hear these stories, keep in mind, 
All:  There’s always a message for you to find.

1st reader: When Jesus spoke of the kingdom of heaven, 
All:  He said, it’s like a piece of leaven.

2nd reader: A little yeast will make bread rise, 
Boys:  Though it’s small and hidden from your eyes. 

3rd reader: The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed; 
Girls: Though tiny, it grows to be great indeed. 

Leader: Some seeds grow in secret, there in the field, 
All:  But when harvest time comes, fine fruits they yield. 

5th reader: A master gave money to his servants one day
And told them, “Invest it while I am away.”

6th reader: Whether talents or pounds, it was a great sum
For the servants to use till the master should come.

7th reader: The wise ones obeyed him, but one man did not.
He said,

8th reader: “I might lose it; I’ll hide what I got.”

Leader: He made a wrong choice. Jesus gives us the clues:
All:  The gifts that God gave us, He wants us to use.


Leader: The man who had hidden his treasure away
All:  Lost all that he had on the reckoning day.

Leader: So, be like the steward who used what he had; 
All:  Because he was wise, his master was glad! 

Pass out musical instruments and sing,

“Let us our Talents and Tongues Employ”

Read the Bible Memory Verse: 

Well done, you good and faithful servant! You have been faithful in managing small amounts, so I will put you in charge of large amounts. Come on in and share My happiness. Matthew 25: 21


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Science - Storytelling Workshop Idea (Parable of Talents - Gifts)Book City on the Hill

NEW Book - "City of the Hill" by Mark Hall & Matthew West, BH Kids, 2014, Hardcover, 9781433682315.

Based on the hit song by CASTING CROWNS.  Includes info to get a free download of their song "City on the Hill".

Why use in Science/Storytellling Workshop?

Absolutely gorgeous colourful full-page illustrations based on each line of their song.  Great for storytelling (your opening) to a group as the illustrations are great (for your audience) and the text simple (for your storyteller).

Includes a great Parent Connection in the back of the book that helps kids find their "Light" (gift).  It makes a connection to a rainbow, quote below:

"When God's light shines through us, it creates a rainbow variety of gifts and talents ..."

for the Science piece I'd find an experiment related to a rainbow, suggestion would be to adapt Carol's Science Exploration #3 (prism/flashlight) from her Noah Workshops here, simply adjusting your focus on gifts (connection found in book).

Then have the kid's do the activity in the back of the book on the kid's finding their light.

Follow-up with listening to the song "City of the Hill" by Casting Crowns.


YOUTUBE -  "City on the Hill" by Casting Crowns animated version of the song (4:09 mins.)



Images (1)
  • Book City on the Hill
Last edited by Luanne Payne

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