Published: September 6, 2023
In this object lesson, kids do a chromatography experiment to explore patience as a fruit of the Spirit.
Patience Is a Fruit of the Spirit
- small clear plastic cups (1 per child)
- coffee filters (1 per child)
- child-safe scissors (1 per child)
- washable markers in a variety of colors, including black
- paper clips (3 per child)
- Pour about an inch of water in the clear cups so they’re approximately ¼ full.
Prep Coffee Filters
Say: Chromatography is a Greek word that means “color writing.” We’ll write with markers on coffee filters and then wait for colors to change or be revealed.
- Give each child a coffee filter, and distribute scissors and markers.
- Instruct each child to cut the coffee filter into three 1-inch-wide strips that are at least the height of your cups.
- Have each child use a black marker to draw a thick line on one of the coffee filter strips about half an inch from the bottom.
- Have kids use two other colors of markers to draw thick lines at the same height on their other coffee filter strips.
Watch the Colors
Say: Let’s see how long it takes for the lines to move up the filters to the top of the cup. You’ll need some patience, but as you wait, watch carefully to see what happens to our color lines.
- Give each child a clear plastic cup with water.
- Have each child dip one coffee filter strip into his or her cup until the bottom of the strip just touches the water (not passing the ink line).
- It’s best if the strip stands up and isn’t folded over, so show kids how to use a paper clip to attach the filter strip to the top of the cup.
- Encourage kids to add the other two coffee filter strips to the cup, too.
- Have kids watch and wait for the water to travel up the strips. Encourage them to observe the changes in color as the marker lines move.
Talk About Patience
- How did the colors change as the water moved up the coffee filter strips?
- What surprised you about this experiment?
Say: Surprise! The black marker contains other colors that appear over time. You may have noticed green and blue appear while we waited for the marker line to move up the filter.
- How is waiting for the marker line to move like waiting for God to answer a prayer?
Say: Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. When we pray, sometimes we have to wait for God to answer. Our hopes and prayers aren’t always answered right away. But good—even beautiful—things can happen while we wait. Share a story from your own life about something good that God brought into your life while you were waiting for something. Perhaps as you prayed for healing from sickness, a friend brought you chicken noodle soup to help you feel better. Or maybe you were waiting for a new job, and God gave you an opportunity to take a fun class to help build your résumé.
- How has God surprised you with something good in the past when you were patient?
Say: Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. God is with us and can bring good things into our lives while we wait.
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