With lessons designed to be fun and entertaining, even kids can get the big message behind the wheat and the tares parable. Jesus taught his followers with parables that can seem simple on the surface, but they pack a powerful punch underneath. Your youngsters can dive into a parable to get a deeper understanding if you take the time to teach them.
Explain Wheat and Tares
Before you delve into the lesson of wheat and tares, you'll have to get your youngster up to speed. Use dried wheat stalks as a prop to explain how wheat grows in the ground. Show your little one the wheat and say, "After farmers plant wheat, it grows until it's tall enough to harvest. As the wheat grows in the ground, weeds often grow along side it." Explain that the wheat comes from the good seeds planted by God, but the tares come from the bad seeds planted by Satan. The tares growing along with the wheat are bad because they use up the good nutrients and growing space that the wheat needs to grow strong and healthy. Read Matthew 13:24 through 30 from the Bible to go right to the source for the parable. Compare the wheat to people who know and try to follow Jesus and the tares to people who don't know Jesus and who aren't trying to follow Him.
Organize a seed-planting activity to show your little one how seeds sprout and grow. If it's warm outside, find a small patch of soil and scatter some marigold or pansy seeds and cover them with a light layer of soil. If the weather is too cold to grow outdoors, plant seeds in a pot and nurture them indoors instead. Encourage your little one to water and tend his seeds to help them grow. With some attention and effort, the seeds should sprout and grow. After the seeds are a few inches high, explain that your little one is caring for his seeds just like God takes care of him. If you can see any weeds growing among his flowers, seize on this opportunity to drive home the lesson. You might say, "You didn't plant those weeds, did you? How did they get there?" When he says he doesn't know, say, "Those weeds sprouted just like tares sprout and grow among wheat. Satan plants them and we have to be careful. If we try to pull weeds or tares out, we could hurt the roots of the flowers or the wheat. Instead, we let God deal with them because He knows best."
The bundle of wheat stalks you used to introduce the concept of wheat and tares can help illustrate the parable. Take a moment to hide two or three weed stalks amongst the bundle of wheat and hold the entire bundle in your hand. Tell your little one, "I'm holding some wheat here. Isn't it pretty? What if I told you that there are some tares hiding inside this wheat bundle? Do you think you could find them?" Hold out the wheat to your child to invite him to examine the wheat. Suggest that maybe he could find the tares if he spread all the stalks out on a table -- help him do this, if necessary. With a little effort, he will probably be able to find the plants that look different from the golden wheat stalks -- go ahead and help, if necessary. The lesson to take away is that when wheat and tares are all bundled together, it can be really hard to tell the difference. It isn't a Christian's job to identify wheat and tares -- this is God's job. We wouldn't want to make a mistake, because we can't know someone else's heart.
Put that wheat to good use and have your little one make a collage. Provide some glue and a large sheet of poster board. Encourage your little one to draw the green grass along the bottom of the paper and the blue sky along the top of the paper. Show him how to glue the wheat stalks onto the paper as if they are growing in a field. He should make a field full of wheat stalks to fill up the paper. Finally, ask him to glue a tare or two amongst the wheat to hide them. If he wants, he can challenge Dad or siblings to find the tares within the wheat.
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