Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Teaching Children About the Atonement

Pin It

Last night, we kicked off our Easter celebrations with our Easter carnation experiment.

First, we sang, "Did Jesus Really Live Again?" from the Primary Songbook.

Then, we read "In the Garden" by Caralyn Beuhner.

This book opens with Christ instituting the Sacrament at the Passover meal.

This opened up a discussion with my children about what Easter celebrates, what the Passover commemorated (and why the use of the firstborn of the flock symbolized Christ, the firstborn, unblemished one, who would come to save us all), what Resurrection entails, and what it means for each one of us.

As we read about Christ suffering for all of the sins, pains, sorrows, and weaknesses of mankind while in the Garden of Gethsemane, we discussed how difficult this would be to accomplish...and that Jesus Christ was the only one capable of doing it.  And because he did, we don't have to suffer, if we come to him and ask for his help in our lives.  If we "apply the Atonement."

Since we did this carnation experience last year to illustrate how Christ took our sins upon him, I didn't have to explain too much to the children.  The pure, white, unblemished flower takes on the color of the water, showing in a tangible way, how the Savior experienced and carried our pain and sins while he suffered for us in the Garden.


You start with a bunch of plain white carnations.  We picked ours up at the grocery store.

We trimmed the stems to about seven or eight inches, much shorter than last year.

Then let the children add red food coloring to the water.


The shortened stems made a huge difference in the time it took to see results.

This is what the flowers look like this morning at breakfast!

Pretty instant gratification!

The idea that someone can take your pain upon himself can be difficult to grasp as a child (and as an adult), but this little "experiment" helps to bring this key concept behind the Atonement of Jesus Christ to life for young children...and it's a lot of fun too!

And be sure to check out That Good Part's FHE here.


  1. visual aids are so important in teaching...

  2. I love this idea!  I will have to use it.  Thanks for sharing your FHE messages.

  3. What a great object lesson. Sending it to my DIL.


  4. What a wonderful idea!  I will have to keep this one in mind someday, when I have kids at FHE.

  5. What an incredible idea! It's such a beautiful and simple way to illustrate the lesson. I am definitely going to do this with my children as we prepare for Easter this year. I've taught my children about the Atonement and I've done this activity with them, but I would never have thought to put the two together like this. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Thanks for yet another wonderful idea, Jocelyn.   I love the powerful imagery in this. 

  7. My boys would love this! Thank you for the awesome idea!

  8. You have the best hands-on learning activities. I just put a hold on that book at the library and need to plan something with kids who are older than yours.  :) 

  9. Thanks for this post! I read it awhile ago and put it in my memory for my seminary class this morning using Isaiah 53 to teach about the Atonement.   I couldn't find Carnations, but I did pick up Daisies, since I didn't re read your lesson, I didn't trim the stems short enough, so the object lesson was that was laughed about, but I'm certain they will remember it.  I appreciate you sharing all of your wonderful lessons, ideas etc.  I went to high school in Colorado springs and was good friends with Shanna.  It took me awhile to figure out that you are married into that great family.  Renee was one of my "little cherubs" that I was in charge of at Girls Camp, your husband was always a wonderful and sweet smiling young man.  In fact a few years ago, Renee shared your Proclamation to the family lessons on her blog, but it wasn't until Pinterest did I "come back" and then I remembered (after a few posts) that you were a sister in law to the great family I loved as a youth. The world truly is small- 
    Much Love
    Kareena Barnes Mullens
    Deep in the heart of Texasd

  10. Dear "Deep in the heart of Texas!" :) - Thanks for your sweet note.  I am indeed blessed to have married into such a beautiful family and to have such wonderful SIL and MIL!!!  Love each one of them!  (You should just email your class and tell them to cut the stems down. We didn't figure that out until this year, but it still worked last year, just took longeR!)  Have a wonderful Easter and please come back soon! :)

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.