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Another quick talk for a harvest assembly idea, or you can use this in an all-age service in church.  Gets kids laughing, and involved, but does have a serious point to it as well. Apologies if anyone finds this mildly offensive. Please realise you have to get into the heads of kids sometimes

You also need to strengthen the point that you threw bread around to emphasise that we throw bread away, and it’s wasteful.  (you might even want to lose that part of it all together, I include it as an interactive idea only, not prescriptive)

You will need:

5 or more different types of bread -I used flat bread, pizza base, heavy cob, bun, and a french stick (one of the longer ones)

5 kids as volunteers (you could use adults)

maybe one catcher – read through this and decide if you would like a catcher or not

You may want to google some bread facts – I’ve put some ideas below and they should be quite easy to check out

What to do:

Keep the different breads hidden in a bag.  Have the children come up and excitedly introduce that this is the first bread olympics. Explain that each person is going to be given some bread and they will try to throw it as far as they can (so in an assembly, across the hall…or in a church down the aisle – warn the people at the ‘receiving end’ that they may have to duck or catch the bread. I didn’t find there were any problems though).

As each volunteer comes up, suggest ways in which they can throw the bread – discuss…shot put…or javelin…or leave it up to them.

Cheer the person who ends up throwing the furthest.

Explain that actually this isn’t the first bread throwing championships at all.

In Dorset each year there is a bread throwing competition

Bread is fantastic stuff though…

its over 12000 years old (not this bread…that would make it really hard!)

Its in every culture of the world

The Egyptians used to bury it with people who had died.  In fact they also used to use it as money. Demonstrate the french stick in the pocket as pocket change

It was used as a peace offering.  Demonstrate saying really sorry…here’s some bread…

And its for sharing with others.

In 1700’s the Earl of Sandwich gave his name to the sandwich, in 1928 the sliced bread was invented…and in 1943 and American statesman tried to ban sliced bread (never caught on!)

there are 12 million loaves of bread bought in the UK every year…but 1/3 of them are thrown away because there are never completely eaten.  Thats 4 million loaves of bread.

But the best about bread is yet to come..

All bread everywhere, when its not a flat bread, is based on basic ingredients.  Some type of flour, water, salt, fat, sugar and yeast.  And its the sugar and yeast that make bread fluff up. When I eat baked beans something happens.  The bacteria in my stomach go to work on the food and as they process it and multiply, the create…gas.  Which has to come out somewhere. (be polite with this and feign being embarrassed to talk about such things.)

Now, when yeast eats the sugar the same thing happens!  It creates gas.  Yeast is a type of fungus…so yes, when you eat bread, you are eating fungus burps

(editorial note…trust me, kids love this, and its the key to hang the rest of the information on, your main teaching.)

Bread is amazing, but we take it for granted because its so common and we don’t really notice it.  Its just bread, after all.  But I’ve just spent 10 minutes (rough time all the above takes to go through!) getting excited about it.  All that from some very basic ingredients that come together to make something amazing, but something we take for granted as not important.

But bread is important.  You can’t live on just bread, but it is one of the staple foods in diet, and its good for us (unless you have an illness…I have).

God gives us good gifts, and bread is one of them.  But we mustn’t forget that as well as food, which we remember at harvest, God gives US gifts as well.  Abilities and skills.  Special things. But we so often forget that we are special because we have gifts.  Because they are our gifts we take them for granted. We get jealous of the gifts that other people have.  St Paul said that we have gifts to build one another up and encourage each other, and we each have different gifts.  They come together like all those different ingredients in bread.

So we need to use those gifts, and be willing to bring them together with others.  And yes its funny to think about how when the ingredients are mixed together they create fungus farts, but the fact that there are many ingredients is important

For Christians, bread has an important meaning.  Jesus called himself the bread of life.  That doesn’t so much mean that we eat him, as its his love and power that nourishes our spirits (simplify this if working with younger children). And bread is for sharing…so we share Jesus.  We share our gifts.

In fact probably the greatest meaning comes out in the communion service when we say ‘we are one body [in Jesus] because we all share in one bread’

How can you remember to say thank you to God for your gifts that you have?  How can you see your gifts and abilities as ingredients that work together with your community (church…school etc) to create something special? How can you see yourselves as part of the one bread in Jesus, who is the bread of life? (read to the end to find a small science experiment to add an extra wow factor)

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Take it one stage further with the yeast idea, and blow up a balloon using yeast – takes about 20 minutes.  Do this at the start of a service and show it during the talk!