I'll explain it in the simplest way possible: Say you have 5 apples in your basket. Each of those apples is an object of type Apple, which has some characteristics (i.e. big, round, grows on trees).
In programming terms, you can have a class called Apple, which has variables size:big, shape:round, habitat:grows on trees. To have 5 apples in your basket, you need to instantiate 5 apples.
Apple apple1, Apple apple2, Apple apple3 etc....
Alternatively: Objects are the definitions of something, instances are the physical things.