The Bible story from Mark 12:41-44 focuses on a poor widow who put all she had into the temple offering box. Though rich people put in greater amounts, Jesus told His disciples she actually gave the most because she gave all she had to give. Children's activities based on the story, sometimes known as the "Widow's Mite," can focus on a heart attitude toward God and how giving to the church helps others.
Heart Attitude Hanging
The widow gave everything she had, showing how much she loved God and wanted to follow Him through her giving. This money was used to maintain the temple and help others. Provide 8 and 1/2 by 11 pieces of felt for the children. Have them cut out a heart from red or pink felt to glue onto their first piece. Add the text, "Giving is a Heart Attitude," along with the memory verse from Luke 6:38. A dowel rod, cut to length and glued to the back gives a place to add yarn for the hanging. The children can make the hanging from cardstock, using the same approach and adding text to a large heart in the centre. Create a stained-glass appearance with bits of different coloured paper glued around the heart.
Give each child ten pennies. Tell them they can keep the money. With the lesson from Mark 12:41-44, explain that money isn't something to hold on to too tightly. It is useful, but God knows money won't satisfy the deepest needs of life; only He can do that. Talk about trusting God first and following Him with the whole heart. That means giving back to God at least a tenth of what money is given or earned. Explain a tenth is one penny out of ten, though the widow gave all she had. Read Hebrews 7:2 and 4. Ask the children for ideas of where they think the money given to church is used for. List their ideas on the board, such as sponsoring Sunday School, weekday and summer activities for the children. Gently correct incorrect impressions. Giving to church helps others. Tell the children, if they wish to give any of their pennies to church, to put what they want to give in a receptacle you provide.
Have the children make their own offering box where they can get into the habit of putting money they wish to bring to church. Explain that God blesses a generous heart. From cardstock, let the children cut out, decorate and make an offering box. Provide small wooden boxes with the markers or paint to decorate them for personal offering boxes. The children can take the boxes home to remind them of the lesson about giving. Use a plastic container about the size of a margarine tub. Cover with sticky-backed paper, markers or stickers. Cut a slit in the top to add coins. Explain that the children can save their money and bring a portion to church on Sundays.
Older children can learn to do more than give their money. They can earn money and donate to something they choose. Talk about needs within the church. Maybe the Sunday School needs supplies. Maybe a church family has children who don't have toys for a birthday. The class can choose to help out in practical ways by pooling their money or even fund-raising. Get permission for the project from church leadership. Have the money go through the church, but accessible for the children to use to help them see how money donated to the church is used in practical ways.