Snack time doesn’t have to be a break from your lesson. Jesus often used food to illustrate spiritual truth (Luke 22:19–20), and some of the most memorable moments in his ministry happened over meals. As you unpack Scripture for kids, God can work through snacks, too.
Some of the simplest snacks can help you illustrate Bible stories. And I would argue that simple snacks work better than elaborate handmade ones—because kids are going to eat them again and again, giving your lessons an impact that reaches far beyond your weekly time together.
We’ve put together a list of snacks you probably have in your cupboard right now, plus multiple Bible stories you could use them to illustrate.
Note: Don’t give kids a snack without parent permission. Kids won’t always tell you if they have a food allergy or dietary restrictions. Some allergies are so severe that kids can’t even be in the same room as the food they are allergic to. It’s your responsibility to protect the kids in your class, so know your kids and know your snacks.
Here are 10 snacks you can use to illustrate Bible stories:
Bible snack #1: Goldfish crackers
This classic snack is more than just convenient: it’s also a great illustration for several Bible stories. Fish appear in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, but this snack will have the most applications when you explore the gospels. Four of Jesus’ disciples—Peter, Andrew, James, and John—were fishermen, and Jesus told them he would turn them into fishers of men. Jesus fed the 5,000 using five loaves of bread and two fish. And after the resurrection, Jesus used a miraculous catch of fish to reveal himself to his disciples.
Fishers of men
Metaphors are hard for young kids to wrap their brains around. “Fishers of men” is so well known that it’s easy to forget what a bizarre idea it is. Passing out Goldfish gives kids a new way to ponder Jesus’ words, and it’s a great opportunity for you to unpack the idea with your class. As you pass out the Goldfish, ask kids to tell you what they know about fishing. They’ll probably come up with some interesting ideas, and you can steer the conversation to draw out the metaphor. Or, you may also want to start by asking the kids what they thought when they first heard Jesus’ words.
“What do you think Jesus meant when he said he would make the disciples ‘fishers of men’?”
You’re welcome to provide your own lesson, but here’s an example of where you could take this conversation:
Tell the kids to imagine they’re on a boat. Instead of the water being full of fish, it’s full of people. When we pull fish out of the water, they die, but when we pull people out of the water, we save them. As fishermen, the disciples knew how dangerous the water was. When Jesus said he would teach them how to be “fishers of men,” he meant that he would teach them how to save people.
Fun fact: In the ancient world, the sea was a symbol for chaos. It’s uncontrollable, unpredictable, and deadly. Fishers of men pull people out of the chaos of this world and into a life-giving relationship with God.
Feeding the 5,000
Dividing two fish into thousands of pieces is pretty hard to imagine. Using Goldfish as a visual aide will never be a perfect demonstration (you aren’t going to recreate the miracle, after all), but it can help kids visualize what happened in the Bible story.
As you talk through the story in Scripture (Matthew 14:13–21, Mark 6:30–44, Luke 9:10–17, John 6:1–5), take out two of the Goldfish.
Tell the kids: “This is what the disciples had to work with. It was one little boy’s lunch, and Jesus told them to share it with 5,000 people. If we all share these two Goldfish, how much do you think you will all get? Not very much.”
The disciples probably thought Jesus was asking them to pass out tiny pieces of fish. “Here’s a scale!” To help your class picture how silly the disciples thought Jesus was, you could smash the fish into crumbs.
Then tell them:
“Jesus wasn’t asking the disciples to pass out crumbs. He was asking them to trust God to provide what they needed.”
Then pass out the rest of the Goldfish.
The miraculous catch
The disciples fished all night without catching anything. For this snack, empty the bag of Goldfish into another container, and tell a kid to reach into the empty Goldfish bag with his or her left hand. Have several kids try. Ask if they’d like to try again. Help the kids see that this is how the disciples felt after fishing all night. They knew they’d tried everything, but there just weren’t any fish for them to catch.
Then Jesus stood on the shore and said, “Try casting your nets on the other side of the boat.” That’s like you asking each of the kids to try reaching into the bag with their other hand. Let them think about how silly that sounds. Then put the Goldfish back in the bag.
Once again, Jesus was asking the disciples to trust him to provide for them.
Bible snack #2: Animal crackers
Animal crackers are a sweet treat with a handful of biblical applications. Noah’s ark may be the most obvious example, but you can also use them to talk about the food laws in Leviticus (and Peter’s vision in Acts), and Daniel’s dreams in Daniel 7. Not every brand of animal crackers will have a variety of hooved animals, or all the animals you need for Daniel’s dreams—I doubt you’ll find any ten-horned beasts—but that’s okay. Use what you have, and encourage the kids to use their imaginations.
Give the kids a small plate or bowl, and ask them to only take two of each kind of animal cracker—there’s no room for more! Technically, Noah was only told to bring two of every kind of “unclean” animal in Genesis 7 (he brought a lot more “clean” animals), but it’s up to you to decide if you want to talk about clean and unclean animals.
Clean and unclean animals
Animal crackers offer a great way for kids to recognize differences between clean and unclean animals. You could use this classic snack to illustrate lessons on the Torah, or to show the significance of Peter’s vision in Acts.
Before your lesson, take out one of every kind of animal cracker you have. Identify the ones that are labelled “unclean” in Leviticus 11. This will include animals like:
When you’re ready for snack, give each kid a handful of crackers and tell them to remove every animal you identified as “unclean” (it will probably be most of their crackers.)
If you’re teaching a lesson that includes Peter’s vision in Acts 10, you’ll still need to explain the difference between clean and unclean animals. This is a great opportunity to talk about how Jesus changed everything. People didn’t need to use things on the outside to show that they followed God anymore, because now the Holy Spirit lives inside of us. And of course, now they can eat all of their crackers.
In Daniel 7, Daniel dreams of four beasts: a lion with wings, a bear, a leopard with four wings and four heads, and an unknown beast with big teeth and ten horns.
For this snack, give the kids the closest thing you can find to a lion, a bear, and a leopard (some brands of animal crackers will have female lions or house cats—close enough). Pass them out on a piece of paper, and encourage the kids to draw the wings and horns and extra heads around the animal crackers, then have them draw their own interpretation of the mysterious fourth beast.
Bible snack #3: Graham crackers
Graham crackers are perfect for constructing miniature buildings. With a little frosting for glue, you should have everything you need to recreate Solomon’s Temple (2 Chronicles 3), the second temple (Ezra 3:8), and the Feast of Booths (Leviticus 23:42–43).
Solomon’s Temple (or the Second Temple)
It’s up to you to decide how much you want to weave this snack into your lesson. You could simply have your class try to put together a graham-cracker temple while they listen to you (if you dare), or, you could provide specific instructions on what the temple should look like (based on the materials you have available.)
The pieces of Solomon’s temple were assembled before they were brought to the site the temple was built. For fun, you could have the kids try to assemble their temple piece-by-piece, or put it together “off site” at the other end of the room, before bringing the finished temple to their seats.
The Feast of Booths
For this snack, kids should construct “lean-tos”—you should be able to do this with four crackers, using three for the walls and one for the roof. Or, you could give them two crackers to break in half.
Bible snack #4: Sour Patch Kids
There are several varieties of Sour Patch Kids, but for your snacks, you’ll want to choose a kind that actually has kid-shaped candy. These will work great with a lesson on Jonah and the whale, the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, or any battle scene. Any scene with people, really.
Jonah and the Whale
Your kids have just become whales. Have each of them stand at one side of the room, and give each of them a single Sour Patch Kid named Jonah. When you give the signal, the have to “take the Sour Patch Kid to Nineveh” on the other side of the room and spit it into a bowl or a cup. For extra fun, divide the class into two teams for a relay race to Nineveh.
The Israelites Wandering in the Wilderness
To get the full effect, take out all of the Sour Patch Kids and leave them on a plate in front of the kids for 40 years. Or until the end of your lesson. It’s up to you.
Any Battle Scene in the Bible
Who will win? Blue? Green? Yellow? Probably red. Divide all of the Sour Patch Kids into “armies” based on color. You don’t have to get the ratios exactly right, but use numbers to help kids see how horribly the Israelites would’ve lost without God on their side. And of course, the losers get eaten. Maybe the winners, too.
Bible snack #5: Kool-Aid
Any colorful juice mix will do, really. The visual effect will be best if you use a large clear container to mix the juice. There are lots of ways you can use it, but for starters, you could use it for a lesson on Jesus’ first miracle (water into wine), the fourth plague of Egypt (the Nile turning to blood), or Naaman bathing in the Jordan River.
Water into Wine
There are a lot of directions you can take a lesson on this miracle. Even Jesus listens to his mother. Jesus kept the celebration going. Jesus can change anything (even dirty foot water) into something incredible (the best juice you’ve ever had). However you decide to teach on this passage, Kool-Aid is a tasty visual aide.
Jesus didn’t have secret “really good wine powder,” but in a way, that makes Kool-Aid an even better teaching tool—what Jesus did was nothing short of miraculous. Feel free to point out that in John 2:6–10, Jesus never even touches the water.
The Nile Turned into Blood
In Exodus 7:20–22, God used Moses to unleash the fourth plague on Egypt: turning the Nile into a river of blood. For fun, you could use a straw and a funnel to pour the Kool-Aid mix into your water to simulate Moses’ staff. (Don’t touch the bottom of the straw to the water, or it will clog.)
Naaman Bathing in the Jordan
When Elisha told Naaman to bathe in the Jordan in order to be healed, Naaman was disgusted.
“Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?”
Take several colors of juice and mix them together until they’re a nasty brown. Now it’s Jordan Juice! Your kids will love it. Or at least enjoy the sugar.
Bible snack #6: Jerky
Jerky is one of the healthier snacks we’ve looked at so far, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less tasty or symbolic. Break out the jerky when you teach your class about the fifth plague of Egypt, the time God provided Israel with manna and quail, or the food laws in Leviticus 11.
The Fifth Plague
In a single day, all of the Egyptians’ cattle died. Talk to your class about how important livestock were to the Egyptians. It wasn’t just cows that died—they lost working animals too, like horses, donkeys, and camels. This plague devastated the Egyptian economy and significantly changed the Egyptians’ daily lives.
God Provided Quail
While the Israelites wandered in the desert, God provided them with quail and manna. Don’t bother looking for quail-jerky, but if you keep jerky in your snack pantry, a lesson on Exodus 16 is a good time to break it out for snack.
Food Laws in Leviticus 11
If you don’t have animal crackers (or the right kind), or you need another illustration, jerky works well, too. You could get several kinds of jerky and ask kids to tell you which is clean and which is unclean, or you could use a single kind and talk about why it’s clean or unclean. If it is an unclean kind, like pork jerky, you should probably take a moment to explain why thanks to Acts 12, food laws no longer apply to Christians.
Bible snack #7: Bugles
These fun little corn chips can be edible trumpets. Your kids can take down the walls of Jericho, play Psalms, or snack their way through other passages about celebration or preparing for battle.
The Walls of Jericho
For seven days, the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6). Seven priests marched in front, each carrying a horn. On the seventh day, the Israelites marched around the city seven times, with the priests blasting their horns. The soldiers had marched silently for seven days, but in the grand finale they shouted, and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down.
If you decide to have your kids march around the room with seven Bugles leading the way, you’ll need a grand finale. Otherwise you’re going to have an awkward transition on your hands. You could build a “fort” with paper or cardboard for them to tear down. Or play music and start a victory dance party. Whatever you do, give them lots of Bugles when it’s over.
Trumpets are appropriate for lots of Psalms, but Psalm 150, Psalm 47, and Psalm 98 all specifically call for trumpets. Pass out Bugles before you read these Psalms together, and allow a brief trumpet interlude where the passage calls for celebration.
Bible snack #8: Fruit leather
Looking for something a little healthier? Fruit leather has a place among your Bible-story snacks. It makes a yummy representation of the veil to the Holy of Holies, and it’s a fun illustration for tearing garments.
The Veil to the Holy of Holies
Whether you’re talking about the veil to the Holy of Holies being put in place or being torn in two, fruit leather is a simple representation of this theologically significant biblical curtain. And what kid doesn’t want to rip a piece of fruit leather in half?
In the Bible, tearing your garments was a powerful expression of grief and frustration. Instead of sending your class home with ripped up clothes, use fruit leather at snack time.
Bible snack #9: Hot chocolate
Hot cocoa is an easy treat to stock up on, and it makes for a handy illustration of a few Bible stories, too. You could use the powder to talk about times where the Israelites needed water. Or you could use room-temperature water to illustrate the lukewarm church of Laodicea in Revelation 3. Or mix a little powder and water to make “mud” for Jesus to heal the blind man in John 9.
The Israelites Needed Water
In Exodus 15, the Israelites were out of Egypt and out of water. They grumbled against Moses, and the Lord made the bitter water of Marah fit for them to drink.
Give your kids a cup with some cocoa powder in it but no water. At the end of your lesson, give them the water.
Two chapters later, there’s another great opportunity to use this snack.
The Lukewarm Church
In Revelation 3, God speaks to the church at Laodicea. He’s frustrated that they’re neither hot nor cold. He tells them, “I wish you were one or the other, But because you’re not, I’m going to spit you out of my mouth.”
Give the kids some tepid “hot” chocolate. Ask them, ‘What would make it better?” Hopefully they catch on and suggest it would be better hot. If they don’t, ask them questions to help them come to that conclusion. Use this as a springboard to discuss why God would want the Laodicean church to be hotter or colder.
Jesus Heals a Blind Man with Mud
In John 9, Jesus mixes spit and dirt and rubs it in a blind man’s eyes. Just put a little cocoa powder on a plate and let the mix water in it until they’ve made mud. Then give them actual hot cocoa.
Bible snack #10: Donuts
Your kids may not hear a word you say after donuts, so it’s up to you to decide if this snack works for your class. But as you journey through the Bible together, there are a couple of lessons where donuts may be appropriate, such as the resurrection (rolling away the stone), or Gideon and the barley bread in Judges 7.
Rolling Away the Stone
You’ll probably be using this lesson on Easter anyways, so why not give the kids a special snack? Get O-shaped donuts and put donut holes in them. When it’s time for snack, have the kids “roll away” the donut hole.
Gideon and the Barley Bread
In Judges 7, Gideon overhears two men talking about a dream. One of them dreamt of a round loaf of barley bread that destroyed the Midianite camp. His friend interpreted the dream as a sign that Gideon would conquer the Midianites (he’s the round loaf of bread). This dream affirmed Gideon just as he headed out to conquer the Midianites.
For this snack, you could either get the biggest donuts you can find, or specifically buy donuts made with barley.
Try not to let it turn into a foodfight.
Want more snack tips?
Children’s ministry is a lot of work. Give your team the tools they need to succeed with The KidMin Almanac. This free ebook is packed with insights about children’s ministry safety, planning, supplies, snacks, and more.
Sign up to get your free copy of The KidMin Almanac.