Explaining the Trinity to Children

Explaining the Trinity to my children on the drive to church on Easter morning was not what I expected to be doing. But I found myself in a unique situation.

Earlier in the week we covered the meaning of Good Friday and Easter. Between grandparents and great grandparents, we’ve discussed death since they were 3. When I first told Emma that Jesus died on the cross, she burst in to tears. But the tears soon disappeared as we discussed the resurrection. So although we discussed it all before, it’s still a big concept for them to digest.

Sunday morning John was reviewing the meaning of Easter on the way to church and the kids were quite attentive. But somewhere in the process thoughts went astray and he started getting questions like: Did Jesus grow up to be God? But Jesus is in my heart and He’s also in heaven with God? Etc. John looked at me. I look at John. Hmmm…. I said, “Well, I hadn’t thought we’d be covering the Trinity this morning.”

I had wondered how to explain the Trinity to them before. How does a child grasp this concept? I wasn’t sure how it was explained to me and I haven’t heard anyone else explain it to their kids. So while I was at a loss for a moment, my ‘thinking-fast-on-your-feet’ mommy gene served me well. Here’s how it went.

ME: You know what water is right? It’s liquid.


ME: Ok, so what happens to what when it freezes? It turns in to what?

THEM: Ice!

(Side comment from John: Oh you’re good! It was the boost I needed to know I was on the right track.)

ME: Yes, ice. Very good! Ok and what happens to what when it’s heated? Like when it’s on the stove and it begins to boil. What does it turn in to?

THEM: Ummmm…. (a little prodding on my behalf… ssssttttt) Steam

ME: Yes, it turns in to steam. Ok, so water can be liquid, or ice, or steam. But it’s all still water just in different forms right?  THEM: Yes….

ME: Ok, that’s how God is. God is in three forms. Father God, who is in Heaven. Jesus, who came to Earth as a man. And the Holy Spirit, who lives inside our hearts. They are all God but in different forms. Does that make sense?

THEM: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah……..

I won’t go in to the details of the variety of questions, cross-references and comparisons they made on their own, but suffice it to say it was a very interesting conversation in the next 5 minutes it took us to get to church. They surprised me with their ability to transfer knowledge and give me examples of things that are different but yet the same.

It’s still a very large concept to grasp, but I think we have good starting place.

How did you explain it to your children?