Bright As New: Forgiveness and Pennies

Want an easy and fun idea to help your kids ponder the importance of confessing our sins? All you need is some tarnished pennies, hot sauce, and paper towels.

Together with your children, look at some tarnished pennies. Point out how the pennies look dirtied or discolored. Then cover one side of each of the tarnished pennies with hot sauce and let it sit on the coins for about 3 minutes. When time’s up, use paper towels with your kids to wipe the pennies clean and “polish” them a bit. They’ll look shiny and new!

Invite your kids to flip over the pennies and compare the clean sides with the dirty sides. Ask your children what they think about the difference.

As you look at the tarnished sides of the pennies, talk with your kids about how we are like the pennies-we sin every day, and that sin dirties our heart. Then explain that our hearts can be cleaned by Jesus! Tell kids that an important part of having a friendship with God is confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness when we do things wrong. If your children don’t know what confession means, explain that it’s simply talking with God and telling him what they did wrong. Consider sharing with your children a recent time you confessed a sin to God and asked for his forgiveness. Be sure to let your kids know that they can confess their sins to God at any time, day or night.

Then have your kids look at the shiny sides of the pennies. Say something like, “Just like this hot sauce did to the pennies, when God forgives us, he washes us clean! God helps us start over, bright and clean, shiny and new! Isn’t that awesome?” You may want to read Psalm 51:1-2, 7 with your kids to help them understand what confession looks like. 1 John 1:9 is also a powerful verse to share with kids to reassure them of God’s forgiveness.

Lead your kids in putting hot sauce on the remaining tarnished sides of their pennies. As the hot sauce sits on the pennies for about 3 more minutes, encourage your kids to privately think about their actions and thoughts over the past few days and silently confess their sins to God. After some quietness, pray aloud on your behalf and for your children, saying something like, “God, we do wrong things and we know that they dirty our hearts. Please forgive us for these things. Please clean our hearts. We accept your forgiveness. Thank you for giving us a new start! Amen.”

Polish up the pennies together, celebrating God’s awesome forgiveness.


One response to “Bright As New: Forgiveness and Pennies

  1. Good idea! I read about doing this in a book (just as an activity, no spiritual tie-in and I do like that a great deal), and they mentioned you can do that with vinigar–if you don’t want to have to worry about your child touching hot sauce and getting it in his eye or mouth (yes, that would happen to Alex!).

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