Jesus used salt and light in the Gospel as metaphors to teach Christians how to conduct themselves. Although your toddler or preschooler may be the tiniest of believers, he’s not too little to learn big lessons about Christian living principles. Bring the Bible alive with hands-on learning activities about salt and light and watch as your tot catches on with invigorating energy.
Read the Scriptures
Little ones usually love any excuse to snuggle up with a parent and a good book. To teach your little one about the salt and light metaphors, get comfy and crack open the Bible. Open the pages to Matthew 5:13 through 16 to read these verses of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. After you read the three verses, talk about how we use salt and light. Salt is important because it brings out delicious flavors in food and it also preserves some food and keeps it from spoiling. Light helps people see – without it we’d be in pitch black darkness – not a nice situation to think about! Make sure your little one understands that Jesus says He wants Christians to be like salt (helping others) and like light (showing people about God).
Grab a flashlight and head to a pitch dark room in your house with your child. A windowless bathroom or a spot in the basement would be ideal. Remember, the object of this lesson is not to scare the pants off your kid – it’s to demonstrate the importance of light. Stand or sit together in the dark, holding hands and talking in soft voices. All of a sudden, whip out the flashlight and turn it on to splash some light into the darkness. Smile big and greet your little one as soon as he sees your face. Talk about how people who don’t know about God and Jesus walk around like they’re in the dark all the time. Say, “We can help these people come to know God by shining our lights for the world. When we tell people about God and when we treat others with love and kindness, we’re shining our lights.”
Get two small cups of water and add about 1 teaspoon of salt to one of the cups, stirring it well until it dissolves. Show your tot both cups and tell him that one cup of water has salt in it and the other cup doesn’t have salt in it. Ask him to guess which cup holds the salty water and which cup has plain water. After he guesses, invite him to take a sip of both cups to see if he was right. When he winces upon tasting the salty water, smile big and tell him, “Yes, salt makes a big difference, doesn’t it? We can’t always see it when we add it to food, but when it’s there, we really notice it. When it’s not there, we really notice it, too. Salt can make food delicious and it can keep it fresh for a long time – just like Christians can in the world. Say, “We can make life more pleasant for other people and we can help others – just like salt.”
Encourage your child to choose either light or salt and then to draw a picture of himself being light or salt to the world. What will he do? How will he help? If he chooses light, he could draw a self-portrait, with light emanating from him to a crowd of people surrounding him. If he chooses salt, he could draw pictures of himself helping a sibling by sharing, helping a neighbor with a chore or helping a friend in need. Another option could be to cut out pictures from a magazine, showing ways he can be light or salt to the world. He might look for pictures of people in need he'd like to help. A homeless person, a hurt child or even a lost pet could be situations in which he might feel empowered to make a difference. Once he cuts out the pictures, help him make a salt and light collage by gluing them to background paper.
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