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Renewal-themed Demonstrations / Object Lessons
for Sunday school, special events, worship, and children's sermons


In this topic, we're collecting some demonstrations you can do with the kids in Sunday school, at an event, or in a children's sermon that illustrate the theme of renewal, recommitment, and "why" we go to Sunday School.

For full lesson plans and other teaching ideas, go to this forum's "Lessons" topic.

Let me start off with a "domino" object lesson that demonstrates how one child or youth can tell another about Jesus, and how important it is that each one does his or her part in sharing the message (about Jesus, God's love, forgiveness etc.). In posts after this one, I add some insights into buying the right kind of dominos and some other ways to do this demonstration.

Feel free to adapt these ideas as you like and post your own great object lesson ideas by hitting the POST REPLY button at the bottom of the page!

Let me also invite you to see my Sunday School's webpage and some of the neat interactive lessons we've undertaken.

Sunday School at Hampton United is always interactive and colorful
Sunday School at Hampton United is always interactive AND colorful!

The Great Commission Dominoes Demonstration

I was inspired by this video found at the Ministry-To-Children website.


Telling just one person about Jesus can spread the Gospel message far and wide, that is, "starts a domino effect" that helps more people than you can imagine. Each of us makes a promise to share Jesus' message when we become one of his followers (dominoes).

Scripture: Matthew 28:19

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations..."

Preparation and Supplies:

  • set of Dominoes (see my post below about using the right kind of dominoes!)
  • pens
  • permanent marker
  • masking tape
  • Put a piece of masking tape on the face of two different dominoes, then use your marker to draw a stick figure of a kid on each: (1) the Christian kid holding a cross and (2) a kid who doesn't know about Jesus (frown or question face).

In this object lesson, you will set up the dominoes as you talk.

Domino 1: We have this one kid here who goes to a great church, knows all about Jesus, loves Jesus, and wants to tell the whole world about how amazing Jesus is, but it seems like too big a job for just one person.

Domino 2: And then we have this other kid w-a-a-a-y over here who doesn't know anything about Jesus. She doesn't know that Jesus was God's Son. She doesn't know that Jesus died for her sins and wants her to love others, forgive everyone, and help people in need.

7 or 8 Other Dominoes: And we also have all these other kids who also have not heard the message of Jesus, who don't know he died for their sins, loves them eternally, and wants to be their guide through life. [Place these 7 or 8 dominoes randomly across the table. More if you have more than 7 or 8 children.]

HOW can this first domino spread the message of Jesus to that girl who lives all the way over there on the other side of town?

[One of your smart kids will tell you that if you line up the dominoes you can create a chain reaction. If they don't, tell them the first domino needs to create a chain reaction. Play with them a bit by putting two dominoes near each other and toppling one with the other, before they tell you that you have to line up ALL of them!]

That's right, you say, We can only spread the message of Jesus' love to everyone, including that girl domino over there, if we TEACH the message to each other, like we do in Sunday School and worship, and if we PROMISE to SHARE the message about Jesus with other people!

Ask: Who here promises to spread the message of Jesus?  (Give each student a domino if they promise.)

Invite your students to line up all the dominoes (about 1" apart).

Once the lineup of dominoes is complete, pick up the first domino and repeat the message of Jesus: "God forgives and loves you and wants to be a guiding part of your life!" Then place it carefully back down in the line.

Then push over the first domino and watch what happens. The message spreads!

Let's pray to become "Jesus' Dominoes."

Lord, make us your dominoes. Give us the courage to speak up and help us with the words you want us to share with others. Change our lives and behavior and attitudes so that others will see and be moved by your Holy Spirit working through us. Amen.

At this point you can:

  • Give each kid their own domino, have them put their face with a cross on it and take it home to remember the lesson.
  • Or try to make a longer domino chain if you have the time. You can also let groups of kids make their own chain of dominoes and RETELL the message about Jesus before starting their dominoes falling.
  • You can also elaborate on the domino metaphor in various directions, such as, what happens if the person you are telling the message about Jesus isn't a good follower? Or, what happens if someone hears the message but refuse to share it?  The answer is that God finds many ways for each domino to hear the message. It's not one single line, but many ways the message gets shared with someone throughout their life, and many ways to share it.

Other Domino Options:

  1. Around the World Demonstration --make a chain of dominoes around a globe or across a world map.
  2. Skit: Line up students and have them practice sharing the message about Jesus with each other. Once the message has been shared with a person, that person turns to share it with another, and so on like dominoes falling. This is a good opportunity to practice what to say to someone about Jesus, and a good time to talk about our actions and attitudes that speak louder than words.
  3. Play the "telephone" game where one person starts by whispering the message to another, who in turn whispers it to the next player, and on down the line to see how well they "transmit" the exact message to each student. Usually, the last person in line gets a garbled or incomplete version of the message. Play until they get it fully transmitted.

Domino Arranger Device for Children with Limited Dexterity

Dominoes TemplateThe "H5 Domino Creations" by Lily Hevesh, includes a template (pictured in white) where kids place their dominoes into the template and they or someone else can slide the template out once filled.

Another option would be to use larger rectangle wooden blocks. See domino alternatives in next post.


Images (9)
  • Dominoes Template
  • ObjectLessonExplained
  • mceclip0
  • mceclip0
  • Classic Games Large Dominoes
  • Lily Hevesh Dominoes
  • Dollar Tree Dominoes do not work
  • Use Rectangle Wooden Blocks
  • Paper Towel Rolls
Last edited by Amy Crane
Original Post

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Which Dominoes to BUY, plus suggested ALTERNATIVES

TIP: if buying online, check reviewers' comments for their experience with that brand.

Buying: these DID work:

  • Classic Games Double Six Large Number Dominoes in Tin (used in video), although I can't seem to find this particular set by Cardinal anywhere online.
  • H5 Domino Creations by Lily Hevesh. Includes: 100 Dominoes, 2 Half-Bridges (steps), 3 Fieldstarters, 1 Template. Domino Size: 48mm tall (1.8897637795 inch), 24mm wide (0.9448818898 inch), and 7.5mm (0.2952755906 inch).
    Classic Games Large DominoesLily Hevesh Dominoes

Buying: these DID NOT work

  • Classic Games Double Six Dominoes 28 Pieces from Dollar Tree.
    Too small and literally would not stand upright. Do not buy dominoes with rounded edges.
    Dollar Tree Dominoes do not work

Domino Alternatives:

  • Wooden Blocks
    • Picture 1 - Melissa & Doug Wooden Block Set, as an example, to show you which specific blocks will work as tumbling dominoes (the rectangle ones, as circled).
    • Picture 2 - here I show those same sized blocks, showing the three sizes I tested, and placed a white domino in front of each row showing size comparison, as you can see they are a nice size for handling and they do sound great as they tumble.
    • You may be able to raid the church nursery.
    • In my case I have two large buckets of blocks in our Story Table room and have used them many times in lessons where the kid's have built, for example, Solomon's Temple, the Tabernacle, the Tower of Babel, and the Walls of Jericho.

    Use Rectangle Wooden BlocksDSC04205
  • Paper Towel Rolls (Note: need to keep them in a straight line to work.)
    https://happytoddlerplaytime.c...ll-domino-challenge/Paper Towel Rolls

TIPS: How to Build and Topple Dominoes

Short fun 3-minute YouTube video "How to Build and Topple Dominoes! H5 Domino Creations by Lily Hevesh and Spin Master Games"

List of TIPS we found helpful for making domino creations:

  1. 10-15 Dominoes minimum per student, more if you have them.
  2. You'll need a hard flat sturdy surface, be it the floor or table(s), to set-up your creations.
  3. Make sure there is lots of elbow room between students to avoid knocking over another classmate's creation.
  4. Best way to hold a domino is near the base, on the narrow side, with your thumb and two fingers. Gives you a more secure hold when you release it, less likely to topple than if you hold it from the top.
  5. Good spacing between dominoes is the width of a domino's narrow side.
  6. If setting up a large number of dominoes for toppling, make a number of safety-breaks in the sequence. To do this lie a domino face-down in the sequence and replace them with standing dominoes when your layout is complete.
  7. Domino Play website has drawings of how to set-up for different situations

Please post Brand(s) of Dominoes you found worked or didn't work, other items you used as dominoes, and any other tips you want to add below.

Writing Words/Phrases Activity Idea using Dominoes

The idea here is for kids to think of ways they can Renew and Recommit to being more like Jesus —learning, teaching, and showing God's love.

As this activity will require lots of dominoes, we suggest you divide the class into teams, rather than having them work singly. Each group is to come up with a simple "word" or "phrase" that would help spread "the story" of Jesus. Each word they create will require 5–to–8 dominoes per letter.

"God Loves You" is the message we want to share in so many ways. The phrase used 68 dominoes. What other words express what God's love is like, and how we can show it?

How about "Be Kind," "Walk Humbly," "Do Justice." "Stop and Help." "Look for those who are lost."



Images (2)
  • DSC04205
  • Dominoes-Writing-God-Loves-You
Last edited by Amy Crane

Where do Sunday School Teachers, Youth Leaders, and Pastors come from?

A Domino Demonstration

Note: Colours in brackets just indicate the colour of the domino found in the photo, for reference to the story.

A long time ago a child (bottom yellow) told two friends (white) about Jesus.Child-SS Teacher-Youth Worker-Pastor

One of those children didn’t tell anyone about Jesus. But, the other child told a friend about Jesus (red), who then told someone else (red) about Jesus, and the story about Jesus kept being passed on (red/blue 3 times) to others until one day . . . . a person told someone (yellow) who grew up to become a SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER .

This Sunday School teacher taught a class at her church (white medium fieldstarter) that had 10 kids (2 rows of white) all about Jesus.

Some of those kids told others (add Blue & Red) about Jesus, but some who heard (indicate the two White) did not tell anyone, so Jesus’ story stopped with them.

But, one (last white on right) did pass along the story, and others who heard told others (six white), until this child (yellow) grew up to be a Youth Worker who taught their Youth Group (white small fieldstarter) kids (2 rows of red) all about Jesus. those kids grew up and one became a Pastor, one became a Youth Worker, and one became a Sunday School teacher (red/blue/red) who all preached at the same church (white large fieldstarter) and continued spreading the story of Jesus to others.

So one child sharing the Gospel brought 5 others to minster (Sunday School Teachers, Youth Workers, and a Pastor) to do God's work.

Possible Follow up Reflections:

So tell me.... where are YOU in this domino setup?  Do you think you might be a teacher or pastor some day?  What or Who might move you to become a teacher? (Accept all answers, and include God as one of the movers!)

Where does GOD fit into this domino demonstration? Truth is, God can touch any domino at any time and move that person to believe in him and follow his will.

A domino person might refuse or reject the message. What does God do then? Is God's great message totally dependent on people to spread it?

Note: Dominoes and Accessories used for this example were "H5 Domino Creations Set by Lily Hevesh," which included the three "Fieldstarters" we used for this demonstration as churches.


Images (1)
  • Child-SS Teacher-Youth Worker-Pastor
Last edited by Amy Crane

Adding block ideas to Luanne’s list of domino alternatives above...

Wooden blocks are a better solution if you are doing this demonstration for a big group or in a sanctuary, and especially if you only have a carpeted floor.

Jenga blocks work well (even on low pile carpet, if that is your only alternative, as will non-Jenga brand stacking tower blocks like the kind you can sometimes find at a discount store.

Wooden play blocks also work on carpeted floors, and make a nice big noise in the Sanctuary when they fall --if you're using them in a children's sermon setting.


And look at these fun pirate stacking blocks I found on Amazon. They are dominoes in the shape of PEOPLE. - they come in other other "people" themes too.  (Two tier tumbling stacking, anyone? Are we more stable when we hold each other up? Expanded teaching/story options with these.) Note that they are not as stable and will not work on carpet  



Images (2)
  • Jenga blocks for toppling
  • Pirate blocks
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Light as a Feather Demonstration

The Power of Working Together to Learn and Help Others

Q: Why bother to come to church, learn the Bible, and be with other people?

A: Because God has called us together to do things we can't do so well on our own. That's what Paul meant when he said that God has called us to be "like minded" --desiring to work together in harmony with each other to serve God. (Romans 15:5)

Light as a feather is an amazing demonstration of these ideas for all ages. Feel free to elaborate and adjust.

Here's the basic idea:

1. Have a medium size child lay on the floor. I'm calling him "Jim" in this example. Ask Jim ahead of time to be your volunteer.

2. Invite a smaller child to come try and pick up "Jim" off the floor. Let them try a few times. They won't be able to.

3. Make your point about how we the Church are more powerful together and with God than when we are on our own. God calls us together to make learning, growing, and helping others easier --and more fun.

4. Now invite all the rest of the children to kneel around Jim and put their hands* under Jim, then "on 3" lift him into the air.

5. Reiterate your point as you're holding Jim in the air, mentioning two or three things we need to do together, like help each other learn God's Word, and pool our resources to help others in need.

If you have time, do the lift a second time having each student only use one hand, then one finger. Depending on the size of "Jim" and number of lifters, a group of 6 or more kids will be able to lift one of their fellow students with a single finger!

*If Jim is a typical 3rd grader, it will only take about 4 or 5 other kids to be able to lift Jim a foot in the air if they are working together (and you are helping). Depending on the size of Jim and the lifters, they may only need to use one hand or even one finger!

**You or another adult should place your hands under Jim's head and shoulders to prevent injury should the other children suddenly remove their hands. I've done this children's sermon in several different churches and never had this happen, but you never know.


Images (1)
  • Light as a feather children's sermon working together
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Making God and the things of God a renewed priority in your life

The following video demonstrates both how to do the object lesson AND what to say. You can find variations of the demonstration/presentation on YouTube that demonstrate slightly different message, both sacred and secular. This one from Children's Ministry is perfect for "renewing," "recommitting," and "re-ordering" your priorities.

My Notes:

  1. You first fill the jar with sand, and then with rocks.
  2. Then you take the rocks and sand back out.
  3. Then you fill the jar again, this time starting with the rocks first.

You can do the demonstration with a smaller jar and smaller rocks. Just be sure to practice it and measure what you need. You need the right amount of sand and rocks so that the rocks will not fit in the jar if the sand is put in first, but all the sand will fit in the jar AFTER all the rocks have been put in.

I ended my children's sermon by saying that "having good habits like coming to Sunday School each week" is one of the habits we can use to keep our promises to make God first in our lives.

I've done this with painted and labeled rocks (time for prayer, time for helping others, time for reading my Bible, etc), and I've done it with just plain rocks. I prefer the painted and labeled rocks because the kids can read them out loud and they make a great display AFTER the service for everyone to see. Include some unlabeled rocks too to invite other responses from the children. it was an extra step, but it looked nice and the jar became part of a classroom display.

Both times I've done this as a children's sermon, we brought in a table so the adults could see what I was doing. I had the kids stand with me behind the table and help me put the sand and rocks in the jar. When I did it using some labeled rocks, I had the kids read them out loud before putting them in.

After the children's sermon, we left the jar on the Communion Table as a visual reminder. The pastor included the "priorities" theme in the prayers.

Where to get a big clear jar:

  • A big plastic jar of cheeseballs works great.
  • I've also used a clear flour container.

Just remember to adjust the size and amount of rocks and amount of sand to the size of your container.

Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the standards of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.

A modern paraphrase of Romans 12:2 might sound like this:
Do not order your life the way the rest of the world does. Instead, transform your life by the renewal of your mind and heart. That's how you come to know God's will and way.


Images (1)
  • Big Clear Jar for your priorities of God demonstration
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

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