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Object Lesson with Toothpaste

The Bible talks a lot about our words.  This simple object lesson will give kids a visual they will remember and help them think before speaking.

Topic: Think Before Speaking - Words Can Hurt

Title: No Taking It Back!

Object:  Toothpaste

Bible Verses:  Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 11:9, 15:1,4, Psalm 141:3

Key Takeaway:  Our words can be stones that hurt or gifts that build up.  Once they are out of our mouth though, they cannot be taken back.

We probably have all heard or even chanted the jingle – “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me.”  We would also probably all agree…that just isn’t so!  Words can hurt.  Words can damage.  Words can scar!

Solomon, the wisest man that has ever lived, attests to exactly this when he writes in Proverbs 15:4 – “Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit.” GNT

This Bible object lesson of being cautious and mindful of our words is an important one and one that the Bible speaks of often.

Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”  [Other translations use “abusive word” NLT or “corrupt word” NKJV. ]

Proverbs 11:9 – “With their words, the godless destroy their friends, but knowledge will rescue the righteous.” NLT

Proverbs 15:1 – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”  

Christian object lesson:

Begin this lesson talking about how often we brush our teeth.   Ask:  

• Why do we brush our teeth?

• How often do you brush your teeth? 

• Do you have to be reminded to brush your teeth?

Hold up the tube of toothpaste.  Ask for a volunteer to squeeze all the toothpaste out onto a plate.  Encourage them to use all their strength and get it all out.  Next ask for another volunteer to come and put all the toothpaste back into the tube.  Offer them a spoon to help, maybe a toothpick, even a small funnel.  Allow others to try if they think they can do better.

We know the saying – “What goes up, must come down,” but in this case what came out does not just go back in!  Our words are very much like this toothpaste.

Have everyone say the word “anger” together.  Now tell them all to take the word back.  Trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube was difficult, but taking our words back that we say is impossible!

Read the object lesson Bible verse - Ephesians 4:29 together. 

Paul talks about unwholesome or abusive words; what type of words might these be?  (curse words, words said in anger, insults, name calling, etc.)

Then he talks about words that are good for edification and give grace.  Words good for edification are words that build up & encourage.  Words that give grace to the hearer are words that may not be deserved, but are said in kindness in spite of not being deserved.

Let’s change some “unwholesome” words to words that build up or give grace.


  •  Your younger brother or sister comes in your room without permission.  You want to yell, “Get out, Dummy!”  Instead you say, “I’m busy right now, could you come back later please? Maybe then we can play.”
  • Your parent won’t let you go somewhere you want to go.  You want to say, “I don’t care what you say; I hate you!”  Instead you say, “I really want to go, but you are mom/dad and I will trust you.”
  • Someone on your team makes a big mistake in the game.  You want to say, “Way to mess up; can’t you do better than that?!”  Instead you say, “It’s okay; we all make mistakes. Way to try hard!”

Words can hurt or words can heal.  Words can leave scars or they can be soothing medicine.

Proverbs 11:9 – “With their words, the godless destroy their friends, but knowledge will rescue the righteous.” NLT

Proverbs 15:1 – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”  NLT

It’s important that we think before we speak.  Once the words are out of our mouth, they cannot be taken back.  We can ask God to help us just like David does in Psalm 141:3 - 

“Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips.” NLT

Pass out either strips of paper with this verse or attach it to a small tube of toothpaste for kids to take with them.  Tell them to remember this simple object lesson each time they brush their teeth and ask God to help them use words that build others up. 

Take time to pray this verse together as a group.

T.H.I.N.K.  Acronym

You have probably seen this on posters or here on the Internet.  This THINK acronym is a great way for any of us to think before we speak.

Before speaking, ask yourself - "Is it..."

T - true?

H - helpful?

I - inspiring?

N - necessary?

K - kind?

James, Jesus' brother, gives us great advice about being slow to speak -

"Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry."  James 1:19 NLT

Bible Craft option:  Kindness Rock

Kindness rocks are another fun way for kids to remember this important Bible object lesson!

Provide various size rocks for students to choose one and then either use paint or permanent markers to write a kind word on it and decorate it.  Encourage them to either give their rock to someone who needs encouragement or to leave it in a spot around church or town where someone can find it and be encouraged.

Remind them that our words can be stones we throw and hurt others or they can be kindness rocks gently passed to another to encourage them and build them up – even if they don’t deserve it.  May our words be gifts of grace!

© Copyright 2018 Susan Smart

More Christian object lessons....

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