The Fruit of the Spirit for Kids (Elementary Lesson)

Use this grab-and-go lesson to teach kids about the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5.
9 min read

How do you bring to life the Fruit of the Spirit for kids? Use this lesson outline for ideas when teaching elementary students. We’ve included some extra background for the teacher too!

Editor’s Note: This lesson was adapted from HeartShaper Children’s Curriculum, Middle Elementary.

Scripture

  • Galatians 5:16-26

Bible Memory

  • Galatians 5:22-25

Focus

  • Live by the Spirit.

Materials

  • Bibles
  • paper, crayons, blindfolds
  • reusable adhesive, masking tape
  • self-stick notes, pencils

Teacher Prep

Devotion

“Each tree is recognized by its own fruit” (Luke 6:44).

Fortunately, we don’t have to guess what the fruit of a Christian’s life is to be, since Galatians 5:22-25 tells us. When God and others look at our trees—our lives—they should see nothing but “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Model for your students what it looks like to live by the Spirit, showing and sharing with them the fruit of your life.

Bible Background

Much of Paul’s discussion in the book of Galatians focuses on opposites. He looks at the differences between the gospel of Christ and false gospels, faith and observance of the law, promise and law, freedom and slavery. One pair of opposites that he looks at in detail is living by the flesh (following human desires) and living in the Spirit (following God’s desires). The decision of which way to live makes an impact on all aspects of life. Paul is clear about the results of each way. People who choose to follow the flesh can expect their lives to hold the things that way of life produces. Ultimately, that choice means eternal separation from God.

On the other hand, the choice to follow the Spirit produces very different results for this life and for eternity. The fruit of the Spirit includes different attitudes and actions that become more and more evident in our lives as we follow God’s way. They grow in our lives just as fruit grows on a tree that is properly cared for.

These characteristics of Christians are quite varied. They include such all-encompassing ideas as love, joy, and peace. They deal with our behavior toward others: forbearance, kindness, and gentleness (power under control). And they describe our inner values of goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.

These characteristics identify us with Christ. Paul uses an interesting image when he stresses our need to live by the Spirit. Anyone who has watched a marching band knows how obvious it is if one person is out of step with the others. In the same way, if we are not living the way that the Spirit directs us, that fact will be immediately noticed, and the results can be disastrous.

Opening Activities

Use one or both of these activities when you teach the Fruit of the Spirit for kids. They’ll help students discover who the Holy Spirit is.

Option 1: The Right Guide

Materials: Bibles (optional: blindfolds)

Have students get in pairs. One partner should close his eyes while the other partner snaps his fingers in various locations around his partner. The student with his eyes closed should turn in the direction where he believes the sound is coming from. After a minute, have partners switch roles. Ask kids to tell what they discovered in this experiment.

Be aware that blindfolding and eye-closing can be scary for some kids and can be an opportunity for subtle bullying to occur. Consider having just one or two kids model this rather than having everyone try.

SAY: I know someone who is the right guide. He helps us to turn and keep going in the right direction. I’m talking about the Holy Spirit.

Ask students to turn in their Bibles to Acts 2:38, 39. Have volunteers read those verses aloud. Then have kids turn to John 14:15-18, and have volunteers read those verses aloud.

ASK:

  • Who is promised the gift of the Holy Spirit? (those who repent of their sins and are baptized)
  • What do these verses say about the Holy Spirit? (God sends the Holy Spirit. He’s the Spirit of truth. He’s a counselor. He will be with us forever. We can’t see Him. He lives with us and in us.)

SAY: When we live by the Spirit, we live a certain way. Let’s find out about that.

Option 2: The Best Guide

Materials: paper, crayons, blindfolds, Bibles

Have students pair up. Ask one student in each pair to sit down and put on a blindfold. Put paper and some crayons by each of the seated kids. The other kids should stand behind their partners; those students are the
guides. Guides will tell their partners to draw a simple object, such as a house, tree, or boat. The guides can offer advice about how to draw the objects and suggest what crayons to use. After a few minutes, let kids switch roles.

SAY: Some of you guides were helpful, while others weren’t. But I know someone who is the best guide of all—the Holy Spirit.

Ask students to turn in their Bibles to Acts 2:38, 39. Have volunteers read those verses aloud. Then have kids turn to John 14:15-18, and have volunteers read those verses aloud.

ASK:

  • Who is promised the gift of the Holy Spirit? (those who repent of their sins and are baptized)
  • What do these verses say about the Holy Spirit? (God sends the Holy Spirit. He’s the Spirit of truth. He’s a counselor. He will be with us forever. We can’t see Him. He lives with us and in us.)

SAY: When we live by the Spirit, we live a certain way. Let’s find out about that.

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Bible Exploration

Ask students to turn in their Bibles to Galatians 1:1, 2. Have volunteers read those verses aloud.

SAY: Listen as I read some of the things Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia. Paul told them how they can live by the Spirit, the Holy Spirit. He contrasts living by the Spirit to living by the flesh, not doing right things and not living for God. (Read Galatians 5:16–26.)

SAY: Let’s say that a guy named Alex becomes a Christian and receives
the gift of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes he tries to live by the Spirit, but
he flips back and forth. Alex has to choose which life he wants to live—live for God or not; live by the Spirit or live by the flesh. The choice is his.

Ask kids to look at verses 19-21 while you read those verses again.

SAY: Did you catch what living by the flesh can look like? Hating others, being jealous and envious, being angry, and having selfish ambition—those are some of the things people might do when they live by the flesh.

Ask kids to look at verses 22 and 23 while you read those verses again.

ASK:

  • What does it look like when you live by the Spirit?

Distribute the Fruit of the Spirit activity sheet and pencils. SAY: Let’s see if we can figure out what each fruit of the Spirit is. Work on the page together as a class. Ask volunteers to take turns matching a fruit of the Spirit with its definition. (Answers: 1=f; 2=d; 3=a; 4=h; 5=b; 6=i; 7=c; 8=e; 9=g)

  • Which fruits of the Spirit do you think you’re doing pretty well with?
  • Which fruits of the Spirit do you need to work on?

SAY: When we live by the Spirit and others look at our lives, they’ll
see nothing but love, joy, peace, forbearance (that’s patience!), kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Now that’s great
living!

Have kids turn in their Bibles to Galatians 5:22-25, and have volunteers read the verses aloud.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:22-25

SAY: When we belong to Jesus, the Holy Spirit helps us give up living by the flesh. Now let’s help each other keep in step with the Spirit by memorizing these verses.

Memory Activity: The Fruit of the Spirit for Kids

Materials: Bibles, reusable adhesive, masking tape

Place two long strips of masking tape parallel to each other on the floor, going from wall to wall if possible. Space strips far enough apart so a student can walk on each tape line.

Have kids pair up, and make sure each student has a Bible. Ask a pair to stand, one on each tape line.

SAY: As you step on the tape lines, alternate reading the memory verses out loud to each other. Try to time it so you’ll be done reading the verses by the time you reach the end of the tape lines.

SAY: These verses are really great ones to memorize because they tell us how to live by the Spirit!

Closing Activities

Use these activities when you teach the Fruit of the Spirit for kids to help students understand why it’s important to live by the Spirit and plan to do so.

Option 1: Fruit Groups

Materials: self-stick notes, pencils

Give each kid a self-stick note. SAY: On your notes, write one of these fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, or peace. Stick it on your forehead. Then get up and find the others who chose the same fruit.

Allow kids with sensory sensitivities to hold the self-stick notes rather than putting them on their foreheads.

When kids are in groups, ask each group to come up with one reason why it’s important to have that particular fruit in their lives. After a short time, let groups share.

Then have kids cross out what they wrote on their notes. SAY: Now write on your notes one of these fruits of the Spirit: forbearance, kindness, or goodness. Stick in on your forehead, and find the others who chose the same fruit.

When kids are in groups, ask each group to come up with one reason why it’s important to have that particular fruit in their own lives. After a short time, let groups share.

Then do the same with the last group: faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

ASK: Why is it important to live by the Spirit? (Be sure to bring out this idea from Galatians 5:21—that if we don’t we won’t inherit the kingdom of God; and this idea from v. 24—that it shows we belong to Jesus. Also, we’ll treat others like we want to be treated, it pleases God, and it’s a great way to live!)

SAY: Let the Holy Spirit be your guide every day. He will help you make the best decisions, and those decisions will always please God.

Option 2: How’s Your Fruit?

Distribute the activity sheet How’s Your Fruit? SAY: Rate yourself to see how well you think your fruit of the Spirit is doing. Tell kids to take some time to think about this and be honest. Tell them that they won’t be sharing this with anyone.

When everyone is done, have kids gather in a circle for a time of prayer. Ask them to spread out a little from one another. Have volunteers take turns praying, thanking God for the Holy Spirit who guides us, asking God to help them grow in the fruit of the Spirit, and, asking for help in staying close to Jesus. After the volunteers have prayed, ask everyone to take a step toward the middle of the circle. Close by thanking God for the Holy Spirit who keeps us close to Jesus. Thank God that the Holy Spirit helps us grow and live by the Spirit every day.


Did you enjoy this lesson? It was adapted from HeartShaper Children’s Curriculum, Middle Elementary. To learn more about this age level, check out the video below or visit HeartShaper.com.

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About the Author

  • HeartShaper® Children’s Curriculum is designed to help your kids discover God through His Word. From toddlers to preteens, we take them on a journey like no other through the Bible. By the time kids reach 6th grade, they’ve gone through the Bible 5 times! No matter where your students go or what they do, the lessons you teach them in Sunday school will be with them for a lifetime. Come along on the journey—shape hearts and change lives. Learn more at heartshaper.com.

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