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Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for Salt and Light

Post your Sunday School lessons, ideas, activities, and resources for Salt and Light.

Go here if you're looking for John 8:12 where Jesus says, "I am the light of the world."

Matthew 5:13-16

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Editor's Note:

This passage is not considered a "major" Bible story by most Workshop Rotation Sunday School (who stick to the major because they spend 4 to 5 weeks per story). This explains the relative lack of content posted on Salt and Light here at our site, but slowly but surely we are collecting more!

More Light!

Be sure to see other stories/verses about "light" in our Bible Story Lesson Forums, such as "I am the Light of the World" found in the "I Am" sayings of John 8:12 posted here at our site. And because "light" is a big metaphor during Advent, look in our Isaiah-Advent forum. You'll also find ideas about "light" in our Advent Candle lighting idea forum  -- which includes ideas about light at Advent and a demonstration about how you can relight a candle by lighting its smoke (passing along the light), and the Isaiah - Advent forum ("have seen a great light")

Last edited by Neil MacQueen
Original Post

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  • Talk about the uses of salt- a preservative, a flavor enhancer.

    And then also discuss the properties of light. It only takes a small bit of light to dispel darkness, and how we use light for safety (lighthouses). If you hide it, it is of no use to anyone. Maybe you could also do something with prisms or shadows. Make silhouettes for art and use shadow puppets for a drama.  --Cindy LB
  • I would suggest that you consider doing both salt & light - opens up a lot of possibilities for science & cooking (do a recipe with & without the salt, talk about food preservation).  --Zola

Pickle Experiment Ideas/Comments

  • I saw a science experiment once relating to light that might work. You have a simple circuit with a battery and a light bulb, but there is a gap in the wiring. You place various items in the gap to see which completes the circuit (paper or plastic things don't, metal things like a penny do). When the circuit is successfully completed, then the light shines. You could relate that to God's light shining through us.  --CathyW
  • DISCLAIMER **I didn't write it and unfortunately, the person that did lost the floppy disk and we lost the hard copy,too** Maybe someone will know this and give more details.

    What I saw them doing was taking a power cord with each end wire wrapped around a nail.
    Then they would take a large pickle (about 4 1/2 to 5 inch) and stick one nail into one end of the pickle and the other nail into to the other end and the pickle would start to glow, but not very long. I think they used a plug-in (sorry if there are an electricans out there) but I would have to check on that.

    WAY COOL The children watched in amazement, but be warned, one pickle per experiment and if you left it plugged in for over a minute, well lets just say the kids thought the smell was pretty interesting too. --Lisa

    Moderator adds: Science of Pickles: Kosher Dill Current -- Science Experiment found here



Ideas from member Jan FPC Napa

  • We did a cooking lesson for "Jesus said 'I am the light of the world'" that you could adapt:  Kids made "stained glass cookies", we talked about light, and reminded them that it’s not the stained glass window that shines, it’s the light that shines through it. It’s not us that shines, it’s Jesus’ love shining through us.
  • Perhaps you could do something with preservation? Make refrigerator pickles maybe?
Last edited by Luanne Payne


  • Salt Sprinkling over Earth Picture

Another art idea for the Matthew 5:13 verse "You are the salt of the earth" - I colored salt blue and green (quite easy: pour salt into a ziplok bag and sprinkle a few drops of food coloring in it and close the bag and shake and squeeze - then let it dry in the open bag for a couple of days) and printed off some card stock with a black and white picture of the earth on it and let the kids use the salt like glitter on the picture. Turned out pretty neat and the kids loved it. We also did some "taste" tests with salt and I think it made the Bible passage memorable.

Moderator notes:  I imagine she cover the earth with a glue stick before sprinkling salt, so salt would stick.  --PamJoy

  • Water Coloring with Salt

 An art idea for salt/light story: if you sprinkle salt on a wet watercolor painting you get an interesting textural effect. (Because the salt is absorbing water.) For more info on this art technique try this site re: water color with salt -- There is even an idea there about a crayon drawing with a watercolor wash over it and then salt to create a starry night scene -- could be something in there for salt/light story.

  • Sand (Salt Art) - Cindy LB

  • Salt Dough Sculptures - Cindy LB
  •  Candles

    - You could also make or decorate candles in an art rotation. 

    - We have done a project at Christmas time with little wax punches, thin sheets of wax and taper candles that our kids just love. --Jan S
Last edited by Luanne Payne



  • Jesus is the "light of the world." What about a video about some missionary work your church is involved in? (Check with your denomination for resources) Children can watch a section of the video and then you can discuss how the light of Christ is being brought to that part of the world.  --LisaM 




  • Play Bible People charades. Have children act out a Bible character while the others guess. Discuss, how hard was it to figure out who each character was? How did the actors help you to know who they were? Lead into discussion: How hard was it for people to figure out who Jesus was? How did Jesus help them to know who he is? How do we know who Jesus is? etc.  -LisaM


  •  For your drama lesson you could have the students role-plays different ways they can bring "light" into the world. Give them a few situations that they can relate to (maybe a child having trouble at school, a friend who is having a hard time, or a neighbor who has lost their dog...) Have them act out with a partner how they can bring "light" to others and share God's love throught their actions.  --MMB 




  • Try having an interactive puppet time, with adults as puppeteers and children having a conversation with them. The puppets could be struggling to understand what a metaphor is and taking the metaphor very literally (licking Jesus to see if he is salty, looking for the light switch to turn him on, etc.) The children can help explain the metaphor to the confused puppet. --LisaM 



  • There's an Amy Grant song called Salt & Light, make something to give as an invitation to your Sunday school ....lots of options!--Zola
    [ 4firstchurchkids has asked: I am looking for ideas for a back to school rotation month emphasizing Matthew 5:14. We want to stress to the kids that they have the opportunity to be "light to the world" as they return to school.  Thanks!]  
  • And what about the good ol' song "This little light of mine" but do it with a fun twist ... like put water in glasses to get the right notes for a science/music workshop.  Jan FPC Napa 




  • And if you have a large play area that can be darkened, kids love flashlight tag!  --Jan S


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Salt Cooking Workshop Ideas from Jane Cornett and Wormy

(1) We made various cookie recipes LEAVING OUT some key ingredients in each. Then taste tested them. We are called to be tasty to the world, and that means getting our ingredients right! 

We made recipe cards for the church. On one side was a great cookie recipe. On the other was a recipe for a Christ-like life.

(2) Make your own special seasoning:

In a bowl, the children mixed together table salt and some spices ( I used italian seasoning mix) and then they each put some in a spice shaker. (use a funnel).

We put a label on each one "You are the salt of the earth" and "Be spicy for God!". They each got to take one home. A useful reminder that we are all to be salt of the earth. We closed by singing Amy Grant's 'Salt and Light'.

(3) from member Staciwoodruff (copied from Sermon on the Mount Ideas)

We made "Flavored Salt" when we studied salt and light.

We put coarse salt in a blender with some fresh rosemary (because I had a bunch of it). (You can find 'recipes' on the web, but seriously, salt and fresh herbs is all you need.)

The kids 'pulsed' it for a while (until the rosemary was in tiny pieces) then poured it into condiment containers (we got them at the dollar store) with lids.

We added labels with the verse "[We] are the salt of the earth..." and a label of what it was.

The kids took one home and had one to give away. Most of them were given out to others at church, but even then, the older folks (who were also studying the sermon on the mount) asked about them and the children were able to encourage them and share their faith.

Plus, every time we use the salt (really great on chicken and veggies!), we remember that we are to be salt to the world.


Last edited by Luanne Payne

Originally posted by Neil MacQueen


Science Demonstration


Turning Bitter to Sweet Using Salt


Get a bottle of tonic water. Take a taste. The bitterness is quinine, a compound derived from bark of the cinchona tree.


There’s also a bit of sweetness from sugar or corn syrup added to offset the bitterness.


Add a bit of salt to the bottle. Take another taste. “It’s almost like sugar water,”


You taste a little quinine, but it’s just the change is amazing, how the salt suppresses bitterness


Surprisingly, salt suppresses bitterness better than sugar That is why some people sprinkle salt on grapefruit, cantaloupe and other fruit. (It’s apparently not known how salt suppresses the bitterness, whether the salt somehow disrupts the bitter receptors on the tongue or whether it’s some sort of post-processing by the brain.)


This idea came from a NYT cooking article.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Painting with Salt

In short, you draw designs with white glue, sprinkle with table salt, and drip diluted food coloring onto the salted glue.


Lesson and Images at (link removed - no longer active)

Make it edible ~ Salt of the Earth Cracker

1. Make cracker dough and roll out thin on parchment paper in the shape of "the earth."
2. "Draw" images and words using a thin small dowel or kabob stick making grooves in the dough.
3. Drop salt into the grooves (use medium grain salt).
4. Drip food coloring over the salt. (The moisture will also keep the dough from folding over the salt.
5. Bake per your earth cracker dough instructions.


Images (1)
  • saltpainting
Last edited by Luanne Payne

Adapting the "Salt Lava Lamp" Experiment for a Salt of the Earth Science Experiment, Presentation, Activity 

Here is a general outline of a "science" demonstration-presentation you can make to kids, or better yet, have them learn how to do and explain it themselves so they can share it with others. Plenty to flesh out. If you use it, post your notes and pics.

 Food coloring droplets (goodness, justice, etc) are dropped on top of the oil which is floating over the water (the world). Next, sprinkle some glitter (hopes, light, joy) on top of the oil.  Still not working so well. What did Jesus say to add?  When you add salt it really helps all these good things mix into the world and you start to see real change. 

Now add the help of the Holy Spirit by adding a half-tablet of alka-seltzer.

See this YouTube video demonstration starting at the 2:03 mark. Many others like it online.

What did Jesus mean when he said, "You are the SALT of the Earth"?

An explanation and two lesson ideas

Elisha's second miracle after he had seen Elijah taken up in the whirlwind in 2 Kings 2, is to put salt in the well of Jericho to heal it. The water, used for drinking and irrigation in Jericho, had turned bad and the miracle of the salt healed it. Below is a picture of that well still flowing in Jericho some 2800 years later!  Jesus probably walked past it or visited it on his journeys through the area.

Elisha's story highlights the ancient practice of using salt for HEALING.

File:Jericho - Elisha's Fountain2.jpg

Most of us think of salt as a "seasoning" and teach it like that, a "spice of life, so to speak. But in biblical times salt was MORE valuable as a healing agent and food preservative. It was prescribed for ulcers, constipation, and skin diseases. It was used as an antiseptic and to clean wounds. And pure salt was also an acceptable Temple offering.

So when Jesus says, "You are the salt of the earth" in Matthew 5:13, he is likely telling us to offer ourselves to be HEALERS on the earth, and of the earth.

Jesus adds that when salt that has "lost its taste" (or "saltiness" depending on your translation) it should be thrown out. That idea doesn't mean much to modern folks who buy refined salt, and salt itself cannot "lose its taste."  So what is Jesus getting at?

Salt can contain a number of impurities, including sulfur, various minerals, and sand or dirt. Some of them have odors, and some salts have added minerals that can make them taste bitter. Thus, the idea behind "tasting salt" means judging its potency or efficacy or PURITY as a healing/preserving agent, as well as a flavoring agent.  (This idea of judging your salt is the lesson idea mentioned below.)

Aside: the NT Greek word translated as "lost its taste" is very interesting. In ancient Greek, "mōrainō" is the word for "foolish" or "fool," as well as "tasteless."  Moraino is where we get the word "moron" in English. It can also mean, "insipid," or "tasteless" (in both the literal or figurative sense).  In other words, "don't be FOOLISH salt." Don't be the kind of salt that doesn't heal. Don't be salt that others won't accept.

"Bad" salt has impurities in it that can be tasted.These include having too much manganese (bitter) and sulfur (rotten eggs).  You have to BE the RIGHT KIND OF SALT in order to be HEALING SALT (or tasty salt!).

Teaching Ideas:

Tasting Salt

Put out some bowls of salt that have different good and bad flavorings in them. Number them and give student a list of the salts. Have the students silently taste and vote which salt has which ingredients in it, and rate which are "good" and which are "bad."  (Provide cups of water to clear the salt tastes out of their mouths between tastes.)

  1. Plain rock salt
  2. Garlic Salt
  3. Salt with Baking Soda
  4. Salt with onion powder
  5. Salt with sugar mixed in it
  6. Salt with alum powder (or baking powder)

Help Good Things Happen: Be Salt!


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Science Demonstrations

Glowing with the Light of Jesus

The light of Jesus and "glowing" that light to others.  A "glow" or light that can often only be seen when you look with the eyes of faith.

The following video shows how to make water glow under blacklight. It shows a number of ways to do that and how to make a jar of water glow in different colors!  Some of the audio/explanation may not be applicable to your lesson, but the experiment can definitely be adapted!

This version of the experiment uses water mixed with tonic water, salt, and highlighter markers. See the video for detail or look up details online.

Blacklights are inexpensive and available online and at most hardware stores. You can also use a UV flashlight (blacklight gives off part of the UV spectrum).

A Related "Glo" ~ "Pass it On" Science Experiment About Light

"Glo Germ" powder has been used by schools to demonstrate good handwashing techniques, how viruses and bacteria can pass around a room, get on surfaces, hands. For Sunday School purposes, it can also be used to demonstrate how we SHARE THE LIGHT (the love) and pass it on to others.  Look for it on Amazon or your online retailer.

Glo Germ Spreading the Light and Love of Christ


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  • glo germ

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