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Broken Telephone

A string telephone

Bible Text:

Jeremiah 6:10.

Materials You Need:

For each child:
5 to 10 metres of thin string.
Two small buttons or paper clips.
A small nail.
Two empty yoghurt cups or plastic cups.


This lesson is a good group activity for the children to make and take home.  To make a string telephone, use a nail to make a small hole in the centre of the bottom of two empty yoghurt cups.  Poke the end of the string through the hole in the cup and tie the end to a small button or paper clip.  Repeat this with the other cup.

A child holds one cup and walks away from you until the string is stretched tight and then holds his cup up to his ear.  You then speak into your cup and the child will hear you.  If you hold the cup to your ear, the child can then speak back to you.

The string must be kept stretched tight for the telephone to work.  If the string is loose, or you touch it with your fingers, the telephone won't work!

Age Group:

Grades 1 - 5 (7 to 11 years).


We need to be like Samuel and have good hearing and listen and obey what God says to us.


Listen, hear, obey.


Samuel Listened:

The boy Samuel grew up in favour with God and the people of Israel.  All Israel recognised him as a prophet of the Lord and listened to his words.  He had one thing that really pleased the Lord.  What was that you ask?  Samuel had good hearing, and listened and obeyed whenever God spoke to him.

But Jeremiah tells us of people who would not listen when he warned them about their sin, and that God was going to punish them very severely.  In Jeremiah 6:10, he said:

"Who can I speak to and give warning to them?
Who will listen to me?  Their ears are closed so they cannot hear.
The Word of the Lord is unbearable to them, and they find no delight in it"

Hearing Others:

I need two people to try out my telephone.  You'll see it's much better than your posh cell phones!  I want one of you to stand here and hold the cup to your ear, and the other to go to the other side of the room and hold the cup in front of your mouth.  Now, pull the string tight and speak to your friend.  Tell him that Jesus loves him!

Did you hear anything?  You did?  Now let's try the other way.  You speak and he will have a chance to listen to you.  Tell him that you know that Jesus loves all the children!  Did you hear what he said?

Telephone to Jesus:

Let's pretend we could use our telephone to speak to Jesus.  You can act as Jesus and your friend can say a little prayer to you.  Say, "Dear Jesus, please help me to be good!"  Jesus, did you hear his prayer?  Well, now answer him and tell him if you are going to answer his prayer.

Let's do that again.  But, this time after you have said your prayer, I want you to pinch the string with your fingers while "Jesus" answers you.  Did you hear him?  You didn't?  Well remember I told you that this telephone has a special feature unlike your cell phone!

Jesus always hears our prayers, but what can stop Him from answering our prayers? (Let the children respond).  Yes, sin.  It's like a broken telephone.  Someone can talk to you and you can hear them, but they can't hear what you say!  We need to ask Jesus' forgiveness and then He will be able to answer our prayers.

Listening to Jesus:

It's easy to talk to Jesus just like you would talk to a friend.  But, we need to do three things to hear Him talk back to us:

  1.  Firstly, we must make sure all our sins are forgiven.
  2.  Secondly, we need to be quiet.
  3.  Thirdly, we must take time to listen.

And then like Samuel we must be ready to do what Jesus tells us to do.   Let's bow our heads in prayer and pray to Him and then be quiet and listen for His voice in our hearts.


Telephone Activity:

And now we are going to make our own telephones.  Collect your materials from the table and then I will tell you how to make a string telephone.  Use a nail to make a small hole in the centre of the bottom of the two yoghurt cups  Poke the end of your string through the hole and tie the end to a button.  Repeat this with the other cup.

Now get a friend to test your telephone with you.  You must whisper otherwise with all of you talking, you will make too much noise and you won't be able to hear your friend talking to you!

How the Telephone Works:

Your voice, like all sounds, is a vibration.  Children, put your hand on the front of your neck while you say, "Hey!  Jesus loves you!" to somebody next to you.  Did you feel the vibrations?

When you talk into one of the cups, the vibrations from your voice travel through the cup, into the string, along this into the other cup.  The cup then channels your voice into your friend's ear.

Your telephone only works if the string between the two cups can vibrate freely, and to do this the string must be stretched tight.  If the string is loose, the sound vibrations die out before they reach the other cup.  If you pinch the string between the two cups, your friend won't hear your voice, because your fingers stop the vibration from travelling further.

God bless!

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