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Tin Can Lanterns

PREPARATION
You'll need:
• an empty tin can
• and a votive candle for each child,
• hammers, • nails,
• and matches.

• Before class, remove the labels from the cans and wash them. Then fill the cans with water and freeze them. The cans will be very cold. You may want to bring potholders for children to wrap around the cans as they hold them.


STORY
Nicodemus visits Jesus (John 3:1-21)
Nicodemus came to Jesus one night with questions. Jesus answered his questions and taught him. Children will learn from Nicodemus' example that God wants us to go to him to seek answers to our questions.

THE EXPERIENCE
Ask:
• What can we use to help us see when it's dark? (Candles; flashlights; lamps.)

Say: We're going to make tin lanterns now. Then we'll hear a story about someone who went through the dark to find answers to his questions.

Form pairs. Give each child a frozen tin can. Set out hammers, nails, and pot holders. Show children how to make designs in their tin cans by gently pounding nail holes. Have one partner hold the can with a pot holder while the other partner carefully pounds holes: Then have partners switch roles. You may need to help younger children with the hammering.

By the time children have finished, you should be able to remove the ice from the cans. If the ice hasn't melted, run the cans under hot water. Empty the cans, then set a votive candle in the bottom of each can to make a lantern. Light the lanterns, then have children arrange them on the table. Turn out the lights in the room and tell the story of Nicodemus, found in John 3:1-21.

Ask:
• Why did Nicodemus come to see Jesus? (He wanted to ask questions; he wanted to meet Jesus.)
• Why do you think he came at night? (Maybe he didn't want anyone to see him with Jesus; maybe he was too busy during the day.)
• Where can you go when you're curious and you have questions? (To parents; to teachers; to God.)

Say: Nicodemus went to Jesus to find answers to his questions. We can go to Jesus, too. We can find out what Jesus said by reading the Bible. Each time you see your lantern, remember to look in the Bible for answers to your questions.

From Crafts and More for Children's Ministry (Group Publishing, Inc.)

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