This is not for the faint hearted! It is a little expensive, but well worth the cost for the lesson that is learned.
Arrange the mixer and the ingredients on the table in a way so that everyone knows you are making chocolate chip cookies (or whatever your family favorite is). You've already got them thinking, "Cookies! Cookies!" from the time they walk in the door and look at the table!
I tell them that since we are in church we gotta make the cookie dough fit in with some "churchy stuff." We discuss and name the blessings we have in our life as we add the ingredients for the cookie dough. I let them help me add the ingredients. I *really* talk up how yummy everything is, I let them smell the vanilla, smell the dough--really get their mouths watering.
After the cookie dough is finished (and they get a good look at it), we talk about how wonderful life is.
Then, I add potting soil that I have kept out of sight. It has to be real potting soil (yes, you ruin the cookie dough--really-- I cannot stress enough that you should not use crushed Oreos!--the end effect is not the same!)
The first reaction I get is, "That's not real dirt, that's crushed Oreo cookies."
My answer, "When was the last time your parent or Primary teacher or leader lied to you? Why would I lie to you?" (see why it is important to not use Oreo's?! You'll notice another reason later on.)
Hmmmm.... usually there is an astounding amount of silence at this point. They realize that I have just used the best ingredients that I could find--I didn't spare any expense--and then I ruined it to make some sort of point! They have no idea what the point is yet, because all they have been *really* thinking about is the cookie dough and that they are going to get a treat. They "say" what their blessings are, but most kids are more intent on the cookies than on really thinking about what is wonderful in their life.
If the kids really insist that I added Oreo's, that I would lie, and that I would never ruin the cookies, I pass around the bag that had the dirt in it so that the children (and teachers) can smell it and learn on their own that it is real dirt. (Potting soil works best because it looks like Oreo's. Sometimes bad stuff looks good or fun until we get close to it and realize that it isn't good.)
There is no way that *I* can get that dirt out. I've really ruined the dough! When I make a mistake, I can repent, but I can't get the "dirt" out. The only one who can "take the dirt out" or wipe away my sins, is the Savior. That is His job. If we did not have the Savior then as soon as I sinned, that would be it. The end. But because Jesus Christ is our Savior, we can be forgiven of our sins.
I also tell them that the dough is still there mixed with the dirt, our blessings are still there when we sin. We don't enjoy our blessings as much when we sin, just like we can't enjoy the cookie dough when it has dirt in it. I use the scriptures: 2 Neph 25:26 (And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins) (you can have the students count how many times Christ is state in that scripture, too) and Matthew 16:16 (And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God).
I usually get some boys that want to taste the dough. (Not a surprise!) I tell them that if their parent comes in and gives their okay, then they can taste it. Most parents say no, but once in a while, I'll get a one that says yes. The kids find out it is real dirt.
I always have kids that want some cookies after it's over. For Family Night, that might be okay. For Primary, it is not! They remember the lesson better if they don't get a treat right after the lesson. They think about the concept longer, they go home and talk to their parents about what happened, sometimes they come up to me years later and ask, "Do you remember the time you made cookie dough and put dirt in it?"
"Yup, I remember. Do you?"