resource covers - younger children (16)

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BIBLE PASSAGE: Matthew 13:1-9 

BACKGROUND: This is one of Jesus’  better-known parables. If your session is on a harvest festival Sunday, make use of any vegetables brought into church to strengthen the harvest link. Mark and Luke’s Gospels specifically say that the seed is God’s message. The soils that receive the seed represent the different responses people make to God’s good news. 



Welcome the children and discuss which vegetables and fruits they like best. Which of these grow on a tree, on a bush, on top of the ground or underneath in the soil? 

How many fruits and vegetables can they think of that are red, green, brown, purple or orange? Have a few fruits and vegetables for the children to try. 



You will need: A4 white card cut into the shape of a bird’s body (as large as possible) with a 4cm vertical cut on the body for the wings; scissors; googly eyes; felt-tip pens; a hole punch; A4 white paper; wool; green crepe paper; glue sticks 

Work together to make the props for ‘Bible story’. Each child should make the following: 

A bird: Colour the beak and body, then stick on some googly eyes. Concertina a white sheet of paper to insert through the slit as wings. Hole punch once, just between the wing and the neck, then insert a piece of wool through the hole, long enough to dangle the bird. 

A leaf / thorn bush: prepare large leaf shapes on white paper if the children cannot draw or cut out their own. Colour the leaves or stick them on green paper. 



You will need: props from ‘Intro activity’; large yellow card sun; sunflower seeds; a bag of mixed vegetables; a broom 

Gather the children together and tell this story: 

One day, Jesus was telling stories to crowds of people who had gathered beside Lake Galilee. In fact, there were so many people crushing close to Jesus that he 

got into a boat, which was pushed out a short way into the lake. That way, more people could see and hear him. He told the following story. 

A farmer was sowing seeds in his field. Show the sunflower seeds and walk over   to one corner of your space. He scattered some seeds onto the hard pathway at the 

side of the field. These seeds never stood a chance of growing because along came the birds and gobbled up all the seeds. Scatter  a few seeds on the floor. Give each child their bird to peck at the seeds. Then take a broom and sweep away the seeds. See, the seeds have all been pecked up. They’re all gone. 

The farmer also scattered some seeds onto thin and rocky soil. Move to the next corner of your space. These seeds never stood a chance as there was nowhere for the roots to grow. And then the sun came out, bright and warm. It dried up all the seeds in next to no time. Ask a couple of children to wave the sun over the scattered seeds, then sweep them up. See, the seeds have all dried up. They’re all gone. 

The farmer also scattered seeds among some thorn bushes and weeds.  Move  to the next corner of your space. These seeds never stood a chance. Scatter a few seeds on the floor and have the children scatter their green leaves on top. See, the seeds have all been choked by the thorns and the weeds. They have no room to grow tall and strong or to catch the sun’s warmth! 

The farmer also scattered some seeds on good, strong soil. Move to the final corner of your space. This ground was not hard like the pathway. This ground  was not rocky, so the roots could grow downwards. There were no thorn bushes or weeds, so the seeds enjoyed the warm sunshine. These seeds did very, very well and produced lots of vegetables and corn. 

The farmer was really pleased. Scatter your vegetables on top of the seeds



Discuss the story using these questions, making sure everyone has the chance to contribute: 

  • Most of the people listening to Jesus knew that it was important to plant seeds in the good sort of soil. Who can remember the four different types of soil? What happened to the seeds planted in the different soil? 
  • Jesus told his stories to help people find out more about God, his father. I wonder what he wanted them to know about God… 

Explain that not everyone who listened to Jesus was happy with what he said, and that’s why Jesus told this story. The people were like the different soil. The age of the children in your group will dictate how far you can take these next questions. With younger children, just explore the fourth kind (the good, strong soil). 

  • If someone was like the hard pathway, what might they have thought when Jesus told them God loved them? 
  • What about people who were like the thin, rocky ground or the thorn bushes and weeds? 
  • What about the good, strong soil? How did they feel when they heard that God loved them? 



You will need: small carrot, pepper and cucumber sticks and tomatoes laid out on a tray (the children could prepare these from the vegetables used in the story); fruit (in case you have any children who don’t eat vegetables) 

Sing a song about how much  God  loves us, or one that gives thanks to God for our food. The chorus to the old harvest hymn ‘We plough the fields and  scatter’  goes like this: “All good gifts around us, are sent from heaven above, so thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord, for all his love.” If you’re preparing the vegetables during the session you could sing these songs as you work. 

Lay the vegetable tray in the middle of the group. Thank God that he gives us good food to eat. Then encourage each child to say something they want to thank God for, including their food. 

Conclude by thanking God that we are happy because we know he loves us. Then eat the vegetables! 

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