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What Colour is Your Heart?

Though we are all different in appearance, it is the content of our heart and soul that matters to God.

by Gill O'Neill

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To demonstrate that although we are all different in appearance, it is the content of our heart and soul that matter to God. To encourage children not to judge by appearances.

Preparation and materials

  • It would be helpful to display some paintings of large, brightly coloured butterflies. Children could prepare these in their art lessons prior to the assembly.
  • You will need five shoe boxes, filled and wrapped as follows.
    1. Fill with screwed-up newspaper, and wrap in gold or silver wrapping paper. You could add a bow.
    2. Fill with strips of brown paper/shredded paper, and wrap in even more sumptuous wrapping paper, with a ribbon, etc.
    3. Put two sheets of plain drawing paper and some felt pens inside, and wrap in fairly plain wrapping paper.
    4. Fill with brightly coloured tissue paper and wrap in plain white paper.
    5. Put a colourful butterfly picture inside, and wrap the box in newspaper.
  • Put the boxes in a large bag or bin liner before the start of the assembly.
  • (optional) A table with a cloth on; a copy of the poem 'Reasons Why' by Langston Hughes (which can be found in the anthology Poetry Jump-Up compiled by Grace Nichols, ISBN 0-14-034053-X); a large candle and some matches.


  1. Begin by asking the children what they think might be in the bag. After a few suggestions show them the contents of the bag, taking the boxes out one at a time. You could display them attractively on a covered table.

    Ask the children to vote (by raising their hand) on which one of the parcels looks the best, and which, if they were able, would they choose to unwrap.

  2. Now choose five volunteers. Ask each one in turn to choose one of the parcels. Ask the child who chose box 1 (screwed-up newspaper), to open the parcel and show the children the contents.

    Then ask the other volunteers to open their boxes in turn with boxes, and each time to show the contents to the assembly. (2: brown paper/shredded paper; 3: plain drawing paper and some felt pens; 4: brightly coloured tissue paper; and 5: butterfly picture). Note: When box 3 is opened, ask the child just to show the paper, and to leave the pens concealed in the box.

  3. Now ask the children which box had the nicest contents, compared with how the parcels looked from the outside. Go on to say that this is sometimes how it is with people. Often we make judgements about the people we meet, based on what we can see. But inside every person is a heart and soul, which determines who he or she really is.

  4. Go back to the child with box 3. Ask him or her to hold up the paper. Explain how we can change what was in the box (the plain paper), e.g. we could transform it into something beautiful. Give the child the pens and ask him or her to draw a pattern on the paper. In the same way we can change what we are like inside, if we really want to.

  5. In the Bible, 1 Samuel 16.7, it says: 'God says, "I do not judge as people judge. They look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart."'

    Point out that the butterfly in the final box is beautiful, and although it is similar to those on the display, all the butterflies are different - every one is unique, and that applies to us all.

  6. Read the poem 'Reasons Why' by Langston Hughes, if you have it.

Time for reflection

Light a candle and ask the children to concentrate on the colours in the flickering flame as you read the prayer.

Dear Lord,
We thank you that we are all different,
that we are all unique,
on the outside, and the inside too.
May we learn to judge one another not by outward appearances,
but by looking, like you do, at the heart and soul.


'Colours of day' (Come and Praise, 55)

Publication date: October 2002   (Vol.4 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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