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Unconditional love - prizes for bubbles!

To consider the idea of unconditional love.

by The Revds Trevor and Juliet Donnelly

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider the idea of unconditional love.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need four bottles of ‘bubble mixture’.
  • A towel to mop up any spills (and an adult volunteer to do the mopping, so you do not have to break the flow of the assembly to clean up any mess yourself).
  • Prizes (e.g. sweets, or fair trade chocolate coins).
  • A suitably accessible Bible to read Matthew 20.1–16, or be prepared to tell the parable in your own words.


  1. Read (or tell) the parable of the labourers in the vineyard (Matthew 20.1–16). Alternatively read it after the prizes have been given out.

  2. Explain that to understand this better you want to play a game: a bubble blowing contest. Ask for two pairs of volunteers; one from each pair is the ‘blower’, the other is the ‘counter’. The blower has to blow as many bubbles as they can in the allotted time, while the counter keeps a score of them. Keep the contest light-hearted.

    Pause the contest after 30 seconds, and ask for the scores. Then say that you think it would be even more fun adding another pair of contestants. With two more volunteers continue the contest – making it clear that the original pairs pick up their scores where they left off, but the new pair starts from zero.

    After another 30 seconds pause again and add another pair of volunteers. Again the new contestants start from zero and the others pick up their scores where they left off.

    After a final 30 seconds call a halt and find out the scores. The last to join the competition should have much fewer (and if they don’t, teasingly accuse them of cheating!).
  3. Discuss how hard it was to count and allow the participants to talk about the game. Then declare that it is time to give out the prizes.

    Give the winners four sweets/coins. Then give the second pair their prize – also four sweets/coins. Then the third prize – also four sweets/coins. Finally the pair in last place also get four sweets/coins. Thank your volunteers and ask for applause as they return to their seats.
  4. Explain that in our competition, and in the story Jesus told, it didn’t matter how much they achieved, or how lucky they were, everyone was given the same reward.

    Explain that in our society being the best at something, or working hard at something, can bring its own reward. In some jobs, the more hours you work, the more money you will be paid. But when we think about God, Christians believe that God’s love is the same for everybody. Whoever we are, whether or not we work hard, if we are rich or poor, clever or sporty, artistic, whether we are lucky in life and have a nice home, a nice family, and things that we want, or whether we struggle and find life difficult, Christians believe that God loves us all and God gives us the best prize we could ever hope for – God’s love!

Time for reflection


Close your eyes and think about something that you have done really well,
something that makes you proud…
And then think about something bad you have done that makes you sad…
We all do things that we are pleased about and things that we are sorry for,
but no one person is worth more than anyone else.
Will you try to treat everybody fairly today?



Loving God, we thank you for your love for all human beings,
the most powerful rulers, and the most humble and poor.
We thank you that love us, no matter who we are or what we do.
Help us to love others as you love us.


‘Morning has broken’ (Come and Praise, 1)

Publication date: November 2005   (Vol.7 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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