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An Object Lesson for kids on Honesty


The other day I was thinking about how I could help my kids understand honesty better. While they understand what it means to be honest I think as kids their little minds think that lying can actually change the truth. I came up with this idea for a Family Home Evening lesson to help illustrate how a lie doesn’t cover up the truth.

For the lesson you need:

Vanilla ice cream

chocolate syrup


3 bowls

a big bowl of water


To prepare in the morning I put a little water in one of my bowls and then I added a bunch of salt. I let it dry and also used a blow dryer on it to help the salt harden in the bottom. I added another layer when the first dried and did the same thing to make sure it was thick and hard.


That evening I took my tray out at lesson time and the boys were so excited to see ice cream and chocolate syrup for our lesson! I dished a scoop of ice cream in a bowl and handed them each a spoon and asked them who liked ice cream.  They were so excited! I said that sometimes we make bad choices. What about putting salt on ice cream, would that be a good choice? They said no and I took about a teaspoon of salt and sprinkled it all over the top of the ice cream. I made a big deal out of it saying oops!

Then I said sometimes we are embarrassed about the choices we make so we try to cover them up with a lie. At this point I took the Hershey syrup and covered all the salt with the ice cream. I then asked them questions like, can you see the salt anymore? How does it smell now? How do you think it would taste? I took their  spoons and gave them each a spoonful of the ice cream and syrup. I made sure to take shallow bites so there would be lots of salt. I asked who wanted to try it and shockingly they all did. I really think they thought you wouldn’t be able to taste the salt. Be prepared to laugh at some funny faces!

I said that’s how lying is. We try to cover up what we did that was bad but it doesn’t really go away. The only way to get rid of the salt is to start over and go back and make our mistake right.

I took the second bowl and added a little salt to it. I told them that when we tell a lie we can go back and make it right. I had them take a paper towel and had them easily wipe the wet salt out of the bowl. Then I took the bowl with salt dried in it and said sometimes we have told a lie a long time ago and everyone has forgotten but we don’t. Sometimes the lies build up because we have to tell more lies to cover the first one we told. I talked about how the longer you let it go the harder it gets to tell the truth. I let them try to swipe the dried salt away with a paper towel but it wouldn’t come off.

I took the big bowl of water and talked about how we need the Savior to help us make it right through repentance. Then I took the bowl with the hard salt in it and put it in the big bowl of water and swished it a few times and the salt dissolved. We talked about taking the sacrament each Sunday and how that reminds us of our baptism and how each week we can be washed clean.

The boys were mesmerized during the whole lesson – no fighting or whining! Yea! After we were done we dished up ice cream with syrup and had that for our treat. They have referred back to it a few times so I know it made a difference for them. Yay! I love when a lesson actually gets through!

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Previous author of Over the Big Moon. I shared my passion for home and family life! I love graphic design, DIY projects, cooking, and working in my garden! My favorite role is taking care of my husband and our 3 amazing and busy boys!
  • Mags

    Love this! Just going to take out the sacrament part cuz not LDS. Wishing this was a Christian site to Look up more lessons.

    • Hayley

      LDS is short for The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints.
      Jesus Christ

      This is really not a difficult concept to grasp….

    • Hayley

      Also, Christian churches have sacrament…

  • Tiff

    That was awesome. Excellent lesson!

  • K. Lawrence

    I like the lesson. Cool way to help your kids grasp it. By the way I was reading the comments…I thought repent just meant to change your mind or perspective on something…right?

  • goshgolly4ever

    I love the idea including the repentance part. It is brilliant. For those that need another ending you could use the idea that every time we need to cover up that lie we need to add more syrup. Pretty soon we can’t taste the ice cream anymore because of all the salt and syrup, and as with our lives: we can’t enjoy our lives because we are consumed with our lies and covering them up. It is better to learn to never tell a lie, if we do we must tell the truth to the one we wronged this can be illustrated by taking some of the salt out. There will always be traces because people don’t forget. How in depth the explanation is will depend on the age of the audience.

  • Shannon

    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your idea! I am looking forward to doing this with our children tonight. I have struggled lately with helping them truly understand the concept of lying and honesty, I think they will really like this and understand it thank you again!

  • Ruth

    I’ve just come across this and it’s just what I need for my Sunday School class. It’s so simply explained, thank you.

  • Chelsea

    Lizzy V.- you were very eloquent and did a very good job trying to explain everything in a non- confrontational way. I just think that whenever God is brought up, everyone gets on edge and for that simple reason, people feel their toes are being stepped on. The fact of the matter is, we live in a secular society whose values, like honesty, are actually derived from Christianity, although we’ve tried so hard to separate ourselves from the roots this nation was founded on that most people do not even realize their value systems are Christian based. So, for someone trying to remove “redemption” from the lesson, everything else matches just about perfectly with the Bible. They are just missing the most important part: Jesus.

    • AnnaHart

      So Jewish families, Muslim families, all families before Christianity….they were all cool with lying, huh?

  • Get Over it

    While I do enjoy this lesson, I believe it will work better WITHOUT any religious remarks. I teach my children that THEY can chose which faith to believe in, should they want one. I don’t force myself, OR my beliefs down their throats. Nor do I threaten them they’ll go to hell. I don’t believe in religion, get over it. But I do congratulate you all on finding “the right” religion that will take you to “heaven”.

    • Maddi

      Get Over it – you are teaching your children exactly the right thing for you. Kudos to you for standing by your convictions and allowing your kids the opportunity to make their own choices. That’s wonderful! I hope you also teach them to be tolerant and accepting of others. Perhaps it’s more of a “do as I say, not as I do” lesson for you.

    • binnyt

      I don’t think once did she threaten her children with hell. Why do people feel the need to go on a blog page belonging to someone else and trash them and demean when they are just sharing a gift to you. Quietly move on.When we want your opinion on how you would do it better we will come read your blog. Please don’t steal this lesson if you can’t be civil to the creator of it.

  • LaRisa

    Thank you, thank you!!!:) I love this idea I’m going to use it tonight!!!:)

  • Kelly

    I did this with my daughters tonight, and wouldn’t you know it? My littlest one liked the ice cream WITH salt! But all in all, a great lesson! They were very mesmerized with the bowl of water part. We have been talking about baptism, so this is a nice double lesson 😉

    • Lisa

      Lol! Well there is salted caramel everything right now 🙂

  • Justathought

    I found you on pinterest- I had to tell you that this is such a beautiful lesson! And, I plan to use this in my own home! We’re not religious, but I think the bowl of water idea is absolutely fantastic in either use! It illustrates that “coming clean”, at any point, is better than leaving the residue on the bowl (who wants to eat ice cream out of a dirty bowl :]). Thank you so much for the brilliant post!

  • ann newell

    I’m going to use this at my Chapel tomorrow in school. Can’t wait to see how the kids react to the salt. Love how it applies to real life and making good choices. Also how we need God’s help to truly repent.

  • Georgina

    Thanks so much for this awesome object lesson! Each month our family has a theme and January is always Honesty. We listen to Alexanders Amazing Adventures by Richard and Linda Eyre and hold all our FHE lessons about the month topic. I really wanted a new object lesson for teaching honesty and I found this one- THANK YOU! I love it!

  • JustAMom

    Great idea! Even if you did not want to include the idea of repentance you could easily talk about how hard it is to get rid of the damage done by lying long-term. I love the bowl of water and reference to the Savior, so great!

  • There’s Just One Mommy

    What a lovely lesson! I am going to have to remember this one for the future!

  • Lizzie

    Love this idea!!! I am going to have to use this with my sunday school class! 🙂

  • Lizzie

    Love this idea!!! I am going to have to use this with my sunday school class! 🙂

  • pchef3

    Wonderful idea! I am going to do this with my Sunday School class. Thank you for sharing!

  • Mathieu Steele

    Lesson went well. 7 year old said that she doesn’t like chocolate ice cream, but agreed to try the salty ice cream. Upon trying it she decided she does like chocolate ice cream but only with salt. Thanks for the great post.