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Watch your tongue!

To show that once something has been said, it can never be taken back again.

by Rebecca Parkinson

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To show that once something has been said, it can never be taken back again.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need two flipcharts (or two large pieces of paper would do).
  • Shaving gel or toothpaste.
  • Two aprons.
  • A cloth to clear up any mess!


  1. Ask for two volunteers to come to the front and put on the aprons.
  2. Explain to the volunteers that you want them each to draw a picture, but rather than using a pencil they are going to use shaving gel (or toothpaste). Explain that the pictures need only be very simple, e.g. a house, a person, etc.

    Allow the children to produce their pictures, encouraging them all the time - it's more difficult than they may think!
  3. Congratulate the volunteers on their works of art and ask them now to clear up and put all the shaving gel back into its container!

    Carry on talking to the rest of the school while the two children attempt to do what you have asked. You could talk about the pictures, and other pictures you have seen, or about art in school – it really doesn’t matter as no one will be listening to you!
  4. Eventually ask the children if it would ever be possible to get the foam back into the containers – the answer is obviously ‘no!’ Thank the volunteers and ask them to sit down.
  5. Explain that we can sometimes let hurtful, thoughtless words come out of our mouths. Once we have said something we can never push those words back into our mouths, just like the gel and the containers today. Sometimes things that we say can hurt people very badly and people can remember those things for many years.

    Read James 3.5: ‘Remember, it only takes a spark to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that’ (from The Message ).
  6. End by pointing out that we can try to mend the damage that hurtful words can do, by saying sorry and working hard to win back trust and friendship. But it is so much better not to say the hurtful things in the first place.

Time for reflection


Think of a time when something you have said may have hurt someone else. Could you tell them that you are sorry?

Think of a time when someone has said something to you that made you feel wonderful.

Make a decision today to use your mouth to say good, kind things to people, not things that could hurt them.



Dear God,

Thank you that you always listen.

Please forgive us for the times that we have hurt other people.

Please help us to always use our mouths to say things that will help others and not harm them.



‘One more step’ (Come and Praise, 47)

Publication date: September 2006   (Vol.8 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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