The Bible introduces the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. These heavenly attributes include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. As these are all abstract ideas, teaching them to children can be challenging. Games and hands-on activities will help kids remember the nine fruits of the spirit and what they mean.
Fruit for Fruit
Help your students remember the fruits of the spirit by associating each of the nine attributes with real fruit. Use a heart-shaped strawberry to represent love. For joy, show how a banana's curve looks like a smiley face. For peace, use a watermelon, which is a fruit that must be eaten one piece at a time. For patience, use an orange, which must be peeled before eating. For kindness, use grapes, because they are a fruit that's easily shared. For goodness, use a nutritious tomato because it's good for the body. For faithfulness, use a cherry, because the pit represents how faith should be our solid core. For gentleness, use a soft, fuzzy peach. For self-control, use a red apple because it looks like a stop sign. Pass the fruit around the room so children can hold each piece.
After listing and explaining the fruits of the spirit, give each child a few pieces of newspaper. Tell them to crumple up the paper and shape it so that it looks like a piece of fruit, such as a banana, apple or lemon. Tell them they're going to make their fruit look more appetizing by painting it. Give each child a small amount of washable paint and let them paint their fruit and set it on a table to dry. Tell children to look at the table full of fruit. Ask, "Who wants to eat this fruit?" No one will really want to eat it because it isn't real. Show children a plate of wax or plastic fruit. Say, "This fruit looks much tastier. Who wants to eat it?" Again, the fruit can't be eaten no matter how good it looks. Explain to children that the fruit of the spirit must be real inside us. If we fake being loving, gentle or kind, we may look good, but we won't be truly good inside.
Divide students into nine groups and assign each group a fruit of the spirit. Give them three minutes to define their particular attribute as best as they can. Tell them to write their definition down. Next, ask them to them to write down an example of that particular fruit of the spirit. An example of kindness would be sharing toys. Then, have them write down an anti-example. An anti-example of kindness would be pushing to get in the front of a line. Last, give each group a list of scriptures to read about their fruit. Ask them to write down why they think this fruit is important to have. Tell the class they are now experts in their particular fruit. For the grand finale, let each group share their knowledge with the rest of the class.
Play this game to help students remember the names of the fruits of the spirit. Have each child sit in a chair in a circle with one child standing in the middle. Tell all children to silently think of a fruit of the spirit. The person in the middle of the circle shouts the name of his fruit, and everyone who secretly chose that fruit must get up and move to another empty chair in the circle, leaving one person standing in the middle to start the next round. At any point, the person in the middle can yell, "rotten fruit basket" and everyone must get up and switch chairs no matter what fruit they chose. Stop the game before the children tire of it.