What Is an Object Lesson?
An object lesson is a form of teaching where the teacher uses everyday items to illustrate the primary lesson for the day. The item can be anything brought to the classroom and the more unique the object the better opportunity to make the lesson memorable.
Why Use Object Lessons?
Object lessons are simply tools we can use to communicate and clarify our message. When we engage multiple senses in our teaching children will retain more of what we teach. A significant benefit of object lessons is they will increase our student’s attention span. When we introduce a new object while teaching we pique the interest of children, particularly if the object is unique and not directly related to the lesson.
Presenting an Object Lesson:
Capture the attention of the children by using a brief, intriguing introduction such as a thought-provoking question, a brief story, or a personal illustration. Show the object and describe what it is or what it does. If the children know what it is we can ask questions and have them tell us what it does. If possible, let the children handle the object, we are then engaging another one of their senses. The more of their senses they use in the lesson, the greater the impact and the longer it will last. Next, give the spiritual lesson you want to teach with the object.
The next step is critical if the lesson is to impact the lives of the children. Apply the lesson to the child’s life—make it specific and simple. If it’s too general, they tend to ignore it and if it’s too difficult they may just give up without even trying.
“Show God’s love to others,” is a general application and it can be difficult for a child to practice.
“Say ‘Thank-you’ to five people this week you normally wouldn’t,” is specific and easy for the child to do. This is a specific measurable act that can be performed by every child.
Where Can You Use an Object Lesson?
Object lessons can be used in a Sunday School Class, during a Children’s Large group program, in Children’s Church, as a children’s sermon in a church service or during Vacation Bible School. Using object lessons will increase the effectiveness of our teaching, hold the attention of our students, drive home our message in a way that lasts, and generally make class time more enjoyable for the students and for us. Give object lessons a try and see what God does in your life and the lives of your students.