Free Sunday School Lessons for Children
The following Sunday School lesson for children is a free sample Sunday School lesson.
There are many more Sunday School lessons for children available
on The Resource Room.
The Prodigal Son
Written by Carolyn Warvel
is a great lesson to teach for Father's Day. Children today need to
know more than ever that they have a Father in heaven that they can
always depend on, who will always be there for them no matter what
happens or what they do. So many children today come from broken homes.
They often only get to see their fathers on the weekends or a couple
of times a month. Fathers today are busier than ever. I have
heard statistics that the average time a father spends with his children
is only two to three minutes a day.
Memory Verse: Psalm 86:5
Scripture References: Luke 15:11-31
Teaching Concept: Children learn that God is a loving and
Early Arrivers Activities
1. Color Pigs to be Used for the Activity
out pig pictures for the children to color (See the activity section
for printouts.). Tell them that they will be used for a game
they will be playing later.
2. Work on the "Help the Prodigal
Son Find His Way Home" (PDF Pattern) Sheet
Read the "Parable of the Lost Son" from Luke 15:11-31
Our story today is about a father who had two sons. For some
reason the younger son was not happy at home with his family. Our
story doesn't tell us why he wasn't happy, only that he wanted to
leave. Does anyone have any ideas why the younger son might
not have wanted to stay home with his father and older brother? (Let
the children give their ideas.) He had everything he needed.
His father provided for all his needs. He had food, clothes, and servants.
Maybe he was bored at home. Or maybe he felt like he
couldn't be good enough. Maybe his big brother was always doing
things better than him. Maybe he wanted to prove to himself that he
could make it on his own, that he didn't need anyone to depend on for his clothes and food. Maybe he was tired of
doing things his father's way and wanted to do things his own way.
Maybe he thought his father made him work too hard.
It doesn't really matter why he wanted to leave, we only know that
he did. One day he went to his father and persuaded him to
give him his inheritance now instead of waiting for him to die. His
father divided up his land and all the possessions he had worked for
all his life between the two brothers and gave each half.
The younger son sold everything he had been given and left his family.
He bought himself the best clothes he could find. Everyone wanted
to be his friend. Everybody liked him because he threw wild
parties with lots of food and drinking and dancing. He thought only
about what he wanted and how he could please himself.
After awhile though his money began to run out and he found that
the people he thought were his friends only liked him for his money.
About that time there was a famine in the land. There wasn't
much food to go around and jobs were hard to find. He went everywhere
looking for a job, but no one wanted to hire him. Finally he
persuaded a local farmer to hire him to feed his pigs. The son was
so hungry that the pigs food began to look good to him. Does
anyone know what pigs eat? They are fed the parts of the plants that
aren't very edible to humans. The pods that are left over after
collecting the beans or the husks and cobs lift over after eating
the corn and other things like that.
By this time this poor son was in pretty bad condition. Can
you image what he looked like? What he smelled like? What do
you think he was thinking at this point in his life? He had
everything he wanted when he lived with his father. Now he was living
with the pigs and eating their food. He began to realize that
he had made a big mistake. This was not at all what he wanted to do
with his life. He had no friends, or family, or even food.
He knew that his father was kind and made sure that the people who
worked for him had plenty to eat. He thought to himself, "I
have sinned against God in heaven and my father. I have wasted all
the money my father worked so hard to save for my future. I don't
deserve to be called his son. I will go back home and ask him to hire
me as one of his servants so that at least I won't starve to death.
The younger son picked himself up and headed back to his father's
house. When he was still a long way off his father had seen him and
felt sorry for him. He ran to his son and hugged and kissed him and
held him in his arms. The son told his father how he felt -- that
he didn't deserve to be his son anymore. He just wanted to work
for him so that he would not starve. But his father wasn't listening.
He was so excited to see his son. He had been waiting and praying
a long time for his safe return. He had been worried and was
constantly watching and waiting for the moment he would appear over
The young man's father didn't yell at him, or reject him. He
didn't tell him how stupid and wasteful he had been. Instead he had
his servants bring his son the best clothes he had and put them on
him. He put a ring on his finger symbolizing that his father had forgiven
him and accepted him back into the family. He prepared a big party
and invited everyone he knew to celebrate the return of his son. He
celebrated as if his son had been dead and had now come back to life.
The father in this story was a great father wasn't he? We don't always
get this response from our own fathers when we make mistakes, do we?
Sometimes they yell at us and tell us that we didn't make a very good
choice or weren't being very smart. Sometimes they give us a
lecture about what we should have done. Sometimes we even get
punished. But our fathers don't do these things because they want
to hurt us, they do them because they want the best for us.
They punish us because they love us and want us to do the right thing.
The father in this story knew that his son had learned his lesson.
He knew that he was sorry for what he had done. He probably
thought that his son had been punished and shamed enough. He didn't
have to tell him he was so stupid and wasteful; the young man already
When Jesus was telling this story, he wasn't talking about our fathers
here on earth, he was talking about our Father in Heaven. He was trying
to show us how God loves us unconditionally. He loves us no
matter what we do. He is sad when we do wrong and turn away from him,
but he never rejects us and anxiously waits for our return. David
said it perfectly when he wrote in Psalms 86:5, "You are kind and
forgiving, O Lord, abounding (overflowing) in love to all who call
Copyright Notice-Even though this is a free lesson it is still copyrighted. It is for personal use only. It may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, except for local church, school, or home use. It is illegal to copy this material and publish it on another web site even if you include the copyright notice. You must have permission to copy the material. To request permission to copy this material for any other use contact me by email.
How to Print or Copy these instructions.
©2000, Digital by Design, Inc - See Copyright Information
Father, we thank you for your loving kindness. We thank
you that we can come to you whenever we have a problem and that you
will always be there for us. We know that you are quick to forgive
us when mess up and will always welcome us back when we return to
1. Play "Feed the Pigs" Memorization Game.
What to do:
Before class print out the 8 pig sheets and cut out loosely around
the pigs. Pig sheet 1 (PDF Pattern), Pig sheet 2 (PDF Pattern), Pig sheet 3 (PDF Pattern), Pig
sheet 4 (PDF Pattern), Pig sheet 5 (PDF Pattern), Pig sheet 6 (PDF Pattern), Pig
sheet 7 (PDF Pattern), Pig sheet 8 (PDF Pattern) If you
have younger children, you may only want to use part of the verse
so you won't have to print out as many pigs. You may want to print
them all out to use as an opening activity for the children to color
and then you can just use as many as you need for the game.
You will have to print out one sheet twice if you are going to use
the whole memory verse for this game. You need one pig for each
word of the verse. Print out the pea pod card sheet and make
copies onto light green paper, and cut out the pea pods. Write one
word of the verse on each pea pod.
How to play:
Before class write the memory verse up on the board. As the children
finish coloring their pigs place a pig above each word. Have
the children say the verse with you as you point to each word.
Erase some of the words and then go over the verse again. Keep
doing this until all the words are erased.
Now mix up the pea pods cards and have the children take turns picking
a card. When a child picks a card he tries to "feed a pig" by
placing the appropriate card in front of a pig to make the memory
verse. If the card is put in the wrong place, the card goes back into
the deck and the cards are shuffled again. Keep playing this
way until all the pigs are fed and the memory verse is complete.
2. Play a Pig Snorting Game
Here is a fun game to play although
it may not be appropriate for Sunday morning Sunday school.
The object of this game is to pass a snort around the
circle as fast as you can without laughing. Have the children sit
in a circle. Start by snorting at the children to your right.
That child then snorts to the person on his right. Have the
children keep going until someone laughs when they are snorting or
receiving a snort. If a child laughs while someone is snorting
at him or he is snorting, he is out of the game. He can laugh at all
other times. If a child does not want to snort he can say "oink" The
object of the game is to get the person you are snorting at to laugh
so making faces while snorting or acting silly is okay. Keep
up the snorting until there is only one child left.
3. Review the Story
Before the lesson collect some
play money, sandals, a play ring, some food scraps in a plastic
bag or bowl, a toy pig, a toy cow or picture of a cow, a party invitation or balloon, a Bible, and some binoculars. Show your child the items, one at a time, and see if they can guess how they relate to the story. You could also see who can find the passage in Luke first that relates to the object:
Money - 12 - "give me my share of the estate."
Sandals - 22 - "and sandals on his feet.
Ring - 22 - "Put a ring on his finger"
Food Scraps - 16 - "He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating"
15 - "sent him to his fields to feed pigs."
Cow - 23 - "Bring the fattened calf and kill it."
Party Invitation or balloon - 23 - "Let's have a feast and celebrate. "
Binoculars - 20 - "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him"
How to Print or Copy these instructions.
©2000, Digital by Design, Inc - See Copyright Information
1. Make a "Pig in a Basket" Craft
What you will need: Small paper plates, pink and peach fun
foam or construction paper, crayons or markers, scissors, yarn or
jute string, raffia or ribbon for a bow, hole punch, glue and stapler.
What to do:
1. Before class print out the pig
pattern (PDF Pattern). You can print it out on pink card stock or print it out
on white card stock and have the children color the pigs. You
could also use the pattern to cut pigs from pink fun foam.
the snout from a different shade of pink so that it will stand out.
3. Cut the small paper plates in half. Print the Bible verse on
the front of each paper plate half. Have the children color the paper
4. When they are finished, staple them together to form
a basket. Punch holes in the sides and tie string or yarn to
form a handle. You can tie raffia or ribbon on top of the handle to
form a bow.
5. Glue the pig face and hoofs onto the front of the basket
so that it looks like the pig is hanging out.
Copyright 2000, Digital by Design, Inc
Danielle's Place of Crafts and Activities
All rights reserved. No part of
this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by
any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording,
or by any information or storage retrieval system, except for local
church or school use only. This copyright notice must be included
on all copies. Requests for permission to copy this material for any
other uses should be addressed to Carolyn Warvel, 588 Duran Street,
Henderson, NV 89015 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
We would love to hear your comments about this lesson. If you
have done this lesson with your class we would love to hear how it
went, if you changed anything, added anything, what age you taught
and was it appropriate. Any comments that would help other teachers
would be greatly appreciated and posted here for everyone to read
I just got back from teaching Sunday School and I
wanted to tell you how TERRIFIC the lesson went thanks to Danielle's
Place. We did the lesson of the Prodigal son. We
played both games......the snorting one, (which was a BIG success)
and the memory Bible verse feeding the pigs. They enjoyed
working as a team on thistle We then made pigs in a basket and
I really left feeling good. The kids and I both enjoyed
our Sunday. I always recommend Danielle's Place to all the teachers.
Sincerely, Joni Wilson
When the son finally returned home, his father gave
him a robe, new sandals, and a ring. I used costumes from our
supply closet, bought rings (a party pack) and we made sandals.
I devised a pattern by tracing around my granddaughter's sneaker.
Then I cut a felt piece which had sides attached to the foot, much
like a butterfly. I punched three holes in each side.
Then I cut another felt piece and a cardboard piece of just the sole.
In class we glued the cardboard, for stability, onto the sandal and
covered the cardboard with the felt sole to hide it. Then the
students laced their sandals using yarn. I put glue on the ends
to make the yarn stiff and easier to thread. The kids really
liked this project. Jane Chubb
Also Halloween is the perfect time to get little
things for the kids. I found musical batons at party city. They had
them called "Groaning Sticks". I bought one for each of
our kids and used them in our lesson of the Prodigal Son. They fit
right in for a boy who wasn't happy at home and probably groaned a
lot about his life. All of them groaning at once makes a great sound.
They were 69 cents each. Kandy
Last night I did the prodigal son lesson, and the
story was great. I had them thinking about how they would have felt,
and they were riveted when I was talking (it was one of the first
times!). I teach 1-5th grades, and even the 5th graders enjoyed "feeding"
the pigs. I went a little farther with the "pig" theme and
served pigs in a blanket (prepared ahead of time -- I put them in
the oven just as I started the lesson. Take a refrigerated biscuit
(I used Grands.) and roll it out to the length of a hot dog, place
a slice of cheese and hot dog on it and roll it up. I made them at
home and individually wrapped them in plastic wrap. Bake at 350 for
20-25 minutes. It was a good change from cookies and juice. Thanks!!
Copyright Notice -Even though this is a free lesson it is still copyrighted. It is for personal use only. It may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, except for local church, school, or home use. It is illegal to copy this material and publish it on another web site even if you include the copyright notice. You must have permission to copy the material. To request permission to copy this material for any other use contact me by email.
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