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Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

Matthew 13:1-23

Story Summary

This is the first lesson in the Parables unit. We aren't going strictly chronologically in this section. We're studying several of the most popular parables of Jesus together.

What are Parables?

Take this opportunity to teach your children what parables are. They are little stories Jesus told that teach us about the Kingdom of God. They are similar to fables in that they are stories with a deeper meaning. But fables give moral or ethical lessons. For example, the Tortoise and the Hare teaches us not to give up (if you are the tortoise) and not to be too full of yourself (if you are the hare). The Boy Who Cried Wolf teaches us that if we lie repeatedly, people won't believe us even when we are telling the truth. Parables teach us about life in the Kingdom of God, or life as a Christian.

The Parable of the Sower is found in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:3-25 and Luke 8:5-18. This parable is best read directly from the scriptures. Below is an overview of the 4 different types of soil:

Type of Soil Result
Path When we don't understand the word, it is like it is snatched up like a bird swoops down and eats a seed he finds on a path.
Rocky Places When we receive the word and it springs up quickly, but trouble comes and because it doesn't have a good root, it quickly falls away.
Thorns When we receive the word, but the worries of life and our possessions choke it out.
Good Soil When we receive the word, understand it, and it changes us. It "produces a crop"

The Kingdom lesson in this parable: Not everyone receives the Word of God. We must be willing to receive it and allow it to be more important than anything else in the world.

What You Will Need

Supplies
Garden tools, planting and potting supplies (pots, dirt, trowel, fertilizer, seed, water, etc)
Snack Suggestion
Dirt Cake Reinforcement Activity

Resource Sheet

Parable of the Sower Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts the 4 soils Jesus used in the Parable of the Sower

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

Have you ever worked in a garden? What were you growing? What sorts of things do you need to make plants or vegetables grow? What do you have to do to make sure they stay healthy?

Today, we are going to learn about a story - or parable - that Jesus told that compares the Word of God to seed.

2. Teach the Story

teach a holistic story

Teach the children what a parable is (see the Story Summary above for an explanation)

Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.

For older children, read the story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or read directly from the Bible.

3. Bible Mastery

give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: Matthew 13:18-23

4. Comprehension Questions

make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • What is a parable? (a little story Jesus told that tells us about the Kingdom of God, what life is like as a Christian)
  • What did Jesus compare the Word of God to? (seed that a farmer plants in the ground)
  • Did all of the seed in Jesus' story grow? (no)
  • What were the different types of soil the seed fell on? (a hard dirt path, rocky soil, among thorns, good soil)
  • When Jesus explained the parable, what are some of the things that get in the way of the Word of God in our lives? (when we don't understand it, when troubles come, when we get too worried about our possessions or money)
  • What happened to the seed that fell in the good soil? (it grew and produced a crop)
  • What was the Kingdom lesson in this parable? (Not everyone receives the Word of God. We must be willing to receive it and allow it to be more important than anything else in the world.)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • Jesus helps us understand that the Word of God (what the Bible teaches us) should produce a crop in our lives. It should change us.
  • Is your life different as a Christian? How can you let the Word of God change your life?

6. Memory Verse

hide God's Word in their heart
Everyone should be quick to listen. But they should be slow to speak. They should be slow to get angry. James 1:19

Reinforcement Activities

Growing plants

Scripture Then he told them many things by using stories. He said, “A farmer went out to plant his seed. Matthew 13:3

Supplies cups or small pots, plant seeds, dirt, water in a watering can, spoons, table cover

  • Place dirt in cup or pots.
  • Put seeds into the dirt and give it water.
  • Glue or tape a paper strip with Matthew 13:3 onto the cup or pot.
  • Place plants in a sunny place.

Dirt, Rock, Thorn Craft

Scripture Matthew 13:4-8

Supplies dirt, small pebbles, thorns (maybe small piece of a rose bush or broken toothpicks), paper, green crayons

  • Draw a picture of a plant in the middle of the paper.
  • At the bottom of the paper, glue a small pile of dirt right under the plant.
  • Next to the dirt, glue a few small pebbles.
  • On the other side, glue some thorns.
  • Place the verse Matthew 13:4-8 at the top of the paper.

Dirt Cake

Scripture But still others received the seed that fell on good soil. They are those who hear the message and understand it. They produce a crop 100, 60 or 30 times more than the farmer planted.” Matthew 13:23

Supplies clear plastic cups, dirt cake ingredients,

  • Place pudding mix into each plastic cup.
  • Place crushed cookie on top of each.
  • Add a plastic flower or gummy worm to each cup.

Parable of the Sower Four Corners

Scripture Matthew 13:4-8

Supplies 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper

  • Play the game of Four Corners, but instead of each corner of your room being a number 1-4, name each corner: Path, Rocks, Thorns, Soil.
  • Write each word on a sheet of paper and hang them on the wall at each corner.
  • Identify one child to be "it" (or have the teacher be "it")
  • While It closes their eyes and counts to 10, all the other students run to one of the four corners.
  • Then It says one of the four names of the soils.
  • All children in that corner sit down and are out of the game. If no one is in that corner, no one has to sit down.
  • Repeat until there is a winner.

Dirt Discovery Science Experiment

Scripture Matthew 13:4-8

Supplies Jar with lid, Spoon, Dirt, Pitcher of water, Paper towels, Magnifying glass

  • See the link below ("Dirt Discovery Science Experiment") for a good science experiment to get your kids talking about dirt and soils.
  • This experiment works best if you get regular ol' dirt from outside, not topsoil from a garden store.
  • Use this experiment to reinforce the concept in the parable that not all places are good for seeds to grow, and we must be willing to receive the Word of God so it will grow in us.

Four Soils Craft or Diorama

Scripture Matthew 13:3-8

Supplies Shoe boxes or construction paper, topsoil, rocks, pebbles, thorns or broken toothpicks, pieces of grass, pieces of paper (for the path), glue

  • Give the kids all sorts of supplies listed above and have them create a diorama of the four different types of soil in the Parable of the Sower.
  • Have them use their best creativity and talk about the parable with the children as they are building it.
Four Soils Craft or Diorama Example

The Parable of the Sower

Heads up! Go to website and print out wordsearch

Scripture Mathew 13:1-9, 18-23 NIV

Supplies Wordsearch, pencils, crayons

  • Go to http://www.sermons4kids.com/parable_of_the_sower_wordsearch.htm and print out "The Parable of the Sower" word search. See if you can find the words and how these words are related to the parable.