How To Explain Sin to a Five-Year-Old

How To Explain Sin to a Five-Year-Old

Sin. This word is small yet heavy. It is a significant reality because everyone on earth encounters it. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and are living in a culture that is constantly bombarding us with temptations to sin. This world denies sin, redefines sin and invites us to participate in sinful pleasures—and it even expects us to celebrate sin as well.  

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, or a Sunday School teacher, it is of utmost importance to know where to find truth about sin, to define it honestly (and biblically), and to be able to teach accurately about the awful reality of sin to the younger generations. Teaching children about sin, will shape their thoughts and cultivate a worldview that is consistent with biblical truth. Setting a foundation of who man is in relation to Goda fallen sinneris an essential element for presenting the gospel.

First, we must examine what the Bible says about sin. We know that it originates in our hearts and is part of our nature as humans (Ephesians 2:3); it's in our expressions, our thoughts, words, and actions. It is small enough to be overlooked yet destructive enough to tear apart families (Matthew 19:3-9), end lives (Genesis 4:8; James 4:2), and cause fights (James 4:1). Sin affects all men, women, and children of all ages; from birth to old age sin is a part of us (Psalm 51:5).

Second, we must define sin and its consequences. In its simplest form, sin is any failure to meet God’s perfect standard of holiness. It can be internal or external (Matthews 15:18-20; 1 John 3:12). Its consequences lead to death and separation from God (Romans 5:12,17). The only solution to sin’s curse is to respond to the gospel with a repentant heart, believing in Christ’s atoning work, and to live a life of grateful and joyful obedience.

Third, we can help a five-year-old understand how sin personally affects their relationship with people and God. Some examples of common sins for a five-year-old may be; using unkind words (Ephesians 4:29), not being obedient to parents (Ephesians 6:1), not honoring parents (Ephesians 6:2), and lying (Exodus 20:16). Having a list of common sins connected with a Scripture reference is effective, as the Word of God is active and living, able to convict their hearts (Hebrews 4:12).

Fourth, we can find value in using the type of illustrations Grace Curriculum calls “Object Lessons”. These lessons are crafted by using standard household items as a means of showing a biblical concept. For example, when teaching children how sin separates us from God, we can use some wood or Lego blocks. Start by building two small towers with a space between them, pause to explain that one tower represents man and the other represents God. You can show how a longer piece can go across the two towers and serve as a bridge that connects the two. Explain that when we sin, it separates us from God, we can only have access to God through saving faith in Jesus.

In conclusion, when explaining sin to children we must connect the gospel. Learning about sin is futile if we don’t also give the good news of salvation and the hope of heaven. Romans 4:7-8 says, “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” We hope that this was a helpful overview of sin and how to teach it to children. Our desire is to see lives transformed by the truth of the gospel. 

For additional resources on teaching children on this topic, we recommend Adventure Club: Man, Sin, and Salvation Teacher Book - Year 2 – Grace Curriculum. For more object lessons that correlate on the topic of sin, there are free videos available at Adventure Club Teaching Tips - Grace Media.

Back to blog

1 comment



Leave a comment