You will need a bucket with some soil in it, a bowl of clean warm water, a couple of towels and some soap. (It is a lot but it is worth it!)
Show the children the bucket of soil and add water to it to make mud.
Ask them who likes to get muddy.
Bring out one child, ask them their (name) and ask them to get their hands all muddy.
Say the problem about getting muddy is that we need to get clean again. Why does (name) need to get clean.
Among answers, there will hopefully be:
Because if they don't they'll make other people muddy, they'll get sick from germs, the mud will stick onto them.
Talk about how many Christians use Lent as a time to look at mud - not the mud on the outside, but the mud on the inside of our lives:
- unkind things
- unkind words
- we want people to be fair to us, but we are not always fair to them
- we sometimes don't do the right thing because we are frightened of what others will say
- we tell lies and then further lies to get ourselves out of the lies we have already told
- we don't say sorry, or we take people for granted
And we realise that we need to clean up.
The problem is that we can't clean ourselves up. We try to be good, to pull our socks up, but it never seems to work.
Give (name) a clean white towel and ask them to clean themselves up. They simply get more muddy and the towel gets muddy.
Ask a teacher, or get someone sensible to come to front, and help (name) wash their hands in the water and dry them with a clean towel.
As they are having their hands washed, say how Christians believe that we can't make ourselves clean on the inside, but that we need Jesus to make us clean. Jesus is the only person who can really clean us on the inside. He forgives us and he can start to get rid of the inner mud, if we ask him.
Finish with a prayer thanking God for his forgiveness because of Jesus, and asking him to make us clean on the inside