"The Rainbow Fish" Lesson

"The Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister is a delightful children's tale.  

Initially, the Rainbow Fish snubs other fish as he thinks he is far better than others however, he learns that true happiness comes from sharing all he has.

It is a great story to use as an introduction to Bible lessons such as Who is the Greatest and The Rich Young Ruler.  The discussion questions below are designed to be used in conjunction with the reading of "The Rainbow Fish", as a lead in to either of these Bible stories.  It is also a great story to use as a children's talk or sermon.

"The Rainbow Fish" and "Who is the Greatest?"

  • Prior to reading together, discuss with children:
    • What makes us feel important?
    • What makes us a good friend?
    • Can the things that make us feel important be the same as being a good friend?  Can they also stop us from being a good friend?
  • Read "The Rainbow Fish" together.
  • Discuss together:
    • What made the Rainbow Fish so extraordinary?
    • The Rainbow Fish was the most beautiful fish but was he the nicest?
    • What did he do when other fish invited him to play?  Why do you think he did this?
    • Do the other fish like him?  Why not?
  • Tell children that the story of the Rainbow Fish reminds you of a story in the Bible.  Read Mark 9:33-35
    • What were the disciples arguing about?
    • Explain that because each of the disciples wanted to be the greatest it was stopping them from getting along together.
  • Read Mark 10:43-44
    • What did Jesus tell the disciples they must do if they wanted to be the greatest?
  • What did the Rainbow Fish learn he had to do if he wanted to get along with others?  Do this make him the greatest fish?  What became the most important thing for the Rainbow Fish?
  • Relate this to things in children's own lives and experiences.

"The Rainbow Fish" and "The Rich Young Ruler"

  • Prior to reading the story, discuss:
    • What are the things that you have that make you happy?
    • Can we find happiness in things?
  • Read "The Rainbow Fish" together.
  • Discuss
    • What made the Rainbow Fish beautiful?
    • The Rainbow Fish was the most beautiful fish but was he the nicest?
    • What did the Rainbow Fish say when the little blue fish asked him for a scale?
    • What did the octopus tell the Rainbow Fish he should do if he wanted to have friends?
    • Did the Rainbow Fish like what the octopus told?  Why not?
    • What happened when he followed the octopus' advice?
  • Explain - that there is a story in the Bible about a man who asked Jesus what he should do to be happy and go to Heaven.  Read Mark 10:17-23.
  • Discuss
    • What did Jesus tell the Rich Young Man he should be to be happy?
    • Did the Rich Young Man follow Jesus advice?
    • Why not?  What was the result?
  • Ask the children whether they should be like the Rainbow Fish or the Rich Young Ruler.  Discuss together the things the can do to be happy and explain the importance of sharing.


  • Paper Fish Craft - print out the scales on different coloured sheets of paper.  Give one colour per child and encourage them to share their scales in order to create a more beautiful fish.  You may like to reward their sharing at the end with a silver foil scale to put on their fish.

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