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Cooking Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for the Prodigal Son

Post your Sunday School cooking lessons, ideas, activities, and resources for the Prodigal Son here.

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Including: Prodigal son, Lost son, Older brother, Father, Lost and Found, Luke 15:11-32, etc.

Bible lessons and ideas about the Prodigal Son -with Cooking, Food, Bible Foods, Recipes, Baking, Preparation, etc.

Cooking Workshop

Prodigal Son Pig Slop Lesson 

I took an idea from another posting and added the rest of the lesson.  

Summary of Lesson Activities:
Making pig slop and decorating cookies to illustrate the lesson. 

Lesson Objective: 
The students will gain a deeper understanding of the hard decision that the Prodigal Son had to make while he was in the pig’s pen. 

Scripture Reference:
Luke 15: 15 – 20.


  • Sugar Cookies in a heart shape
  • Bibles
  • Decorations
  • Small cooking pot and spoon
  • Cornstarch      
  • Plastic Ziploc baggies
  • Food coloring      
  • Food scraps
  • Water        
  • measuring cups

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.

Lesson Plan 

Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:       

Welcome the students and ask them what they know about the Prodigal Son.  Explain that today we are going to focus on the decision the son had to make when he was with the pigs. 

Paraphrase the story up until the part where he is eating with the pigs and start to read from Luke 15: 15 – 20.   You might say something like: 

Jesus wanted to teach lessons to the people and in order to do that he told parables, which were stories.   One day, Jesus was sitting with the tax collectors, whom everyone hated, and the sinners.  The Pharisees, who thought they were better than everyone else, were appalled that Jesus would spend time with these people. 

Jesus tells the story of a young man who asks his father for his inheritance, something he should not get until his father dies.  His father gives it to him and he runs off to the city and spends it all.  He is not very smart and ends up with no money or food.  He has to ask someone for a job.  What job does he get?  (Feeding the pigs.) 

Dig - Main Content and Reflection: 

Read Luke 15: 15 – 20.  

As a Jewish man, this was an unthinkable job.  Do you know why?  According to Moses’ law, pigs were unclean animals.  (Take a quick peek at Leviticus 11:2-8 and/or Deuteronomy 14:8.)  This meant that pigs could not be eaten or used for sacrifices.  To protect themselves from defilement, Jews would not even touch pigs.  For a Jew to stoop to feeding pigs was a great humiliation, and for this young man to eat food that the pigs had touched was to be degraded beyond belief. 

Today, I want you to think about the decision he needed to make.  Why would he want to go back to his father?  (He realized even his father’s servants were treated better than he is now.)  Why would he not want to go back?  (He was embarrassed that he spent all the money.  He realized he was wrong and was scared to ask his father to forgive him.) 

We are going to make the pig slop as well as a heart cookie to think about what it was like to make that decision. 

 Make the slop and decorate the cookies!

The slop is basically one part cornstarch to two parts water and whatever else you might want to throw in (apple or carrot peelings, etc., a little food color for effect).
Heat the water and cornstarch to boiling until cornstarch dissolves and thickens. Throw in the rest of the yuck.

It makes a thoroughly disgusting slime. We let kids who wanted to take it home. The biggest problem was getting them to stop with the slime and decorate the cookies. 

In the end, please remind the children, that Jesus sees us as this son.  We often make mistakes and turn away from our Father, God.  We need to go back to him and ask for forgiveness.  (Take time for God!  - Go to church, pray, just spend a moment talking to Him.  He will listen to you and forgive you!) 


End with a prayer.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer
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The Prodigal Son

Cooking Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

Uses Carob Pods (Pig Food)


Lesson Objective:

For the children to learn about food that is part of the Prodigal Son story. 


God wants us to know that no matter what we do, we cannot be separated from the love that God has for us in Jesus Christ. God wants us to love others this way, with lots of understanding, and lots of forgiveness, no matter what other people think of us for acting/loving this way. 

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the story ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Cornbread muffin ingredients.




Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.


Opening Prayer: Loving God, thank you for allowing us to learn about you through cooking. Help us to remember that we are lucky to have food to share in this way, and help us to remember all who are hungry today. Amen. 


Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

Gather the children together around the cooking table. Start them off immediately with preparing the cornbread/carob muffins. Once the muffins are in the oven talk with the children about the part of the story where the Prodigal Son eats with the pigs. The older children can look this up in their Bibles and the younger children can look at it in a children’s Bible. Talk to the children about how it feels to be hungry and to be willing to eat anything you can get to, and how we usually eat what we like, not what we need. Show the children the carob pods and talk with them about how they were used in pig feed and what a carob plant is (see handouts). Talk to them about how pigs also eat corn. Look with them on the globe at the different areas of the world where carob grows and let them taste the carob. Have the children help clean up and wash dishes while the muffins are in the stove. When the muffins come out let the children eat them and use honey as a dip. There is juice in the kitchen and/or water for them to drink. Bag up extra muffins in ziploc bags for the children to take home. 


Thank you God for helping us to learn about you. Thank you for the food we eat and all of the abundance around us. Help us to be your servants. Amen. 

Check your local Whole Foods or Organic Food store for carob pods. Or you can purchased carob pods at an online organic store like 

There are tons of carob recipes online, but I found after lots of time with Google, that they all take a great deal of time, and in 45 minutes, the muffins were about all I had time for. Carob chips can be ordered online as well, but if you have a local health food store, it's a lot easier to just go there to get them, but they are fairly expensive compared to chocolate chips, our health food store charges about $5 a package.

We thought this was a great way to introduce the kids to thinking about what it would be like to eat with the pigs and highlight a usually glossed over part of this Parable (put it in context!)

Have the kids look at a globe/Bible maps to see/find the part of the world that the carob tree grows. We did this at Christmas too to find the frankensince and myrrh plants, they like finding things on the globe and seeing how that might fit into the biblical story. The adults learn too, most of them have no idea about these things and it helps them to appreciate the teaching you do with their children of these somewhat esoteric facts!

More follow up from the actual hands-on

)....the kids had mixed reactions to the carobs (typical!), and so perhaps to not let them try them until they are cooked in the muffins and they have honey on hand. Before cooking we got lots of scrunched up noses and "ewhhhh" commments, after cooking, they liked them. Of course, the carob chips look sort of like chocolate chips and so that throws them off a bit.

Originally posted by member RevShannon.


A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

The following is a fragment of a discussion and list of ideas saved from a previous Cooking discussion held elsewhere on the Exchange:



I agree with ZBCC.  Making "pigs in a blanket" for the Prodigal Son cooking lesson sounds cute but doesn't make teaching or theological sense. How do pigs in a blanket teach the story?  Would you make a pig covered by a blanket in an Art workshop lesson?  Probably not. 

Now I could see pigs in a blanket as ONE of MANY food items in a Prodigal Feast you could create. There are other 'feast' cooking lessons at Essentially, the kids make numerous food items, each of which has some teaching significance in the story... a visual representation of a scene or character or particular meaning in the story. After preparation, the kids then sit down and retell the story with their teacher by "eating their way through it".  This is a SEDER concept.

Prodigal Feast ideas:

Wasted money = ? Something that disappears when cooked. 

Pigs in a blanket = wrong living. Dip them in mustard?

Humble pie turnover = confession, turn around, with a hidden surprise.

Restoration  = sweet rolls in the shape of shoes and rings.

Sour patch = older brother

Stay home with God! = a sticky bun

Feel free to add more/improve!!


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

We took a cooking idea from a lesson set already here on (

and made some adaptations.  Here are the changes we made:


The Prodigal Son

Cooking Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

Kids will make a fruit salad, using the rinds to create a pig slop to help learn more about the Bible story in focus.  Conversation will vary based on age of students so that learning matches intellectual/spiritual development.  Younger children will learn simple story details and basic application while older children will discuss more in depth the love of God and the consequences of life apart from our Heavenly Father. 


Scripture Reference:

Luke 15.


Leader Preparation:
  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • ice cream
  • jello
  • bucket
  • spoon
  • fruit



Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Greet your students warmly. Introduce yourself and any other adults. 


Say: Today we’ll be learning about the parable of the Prodigal Son and how God loves us always, no matter what we do. 


Let’s begin with prayer:

Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: “Dear Jesus, Thank you for giving us the story about the prodigal son who made bad choices but was forgiven by his father. Help us to see your love for us in this story. Forgive us when we make mistakes. (End with the Lord’s Prayer) Amen.


Play Money:

Pass out handfuls of fake money to each child.  Have them imagine it is real money and they are planning how they are going to spend it.  Tell children that they can decide how they want to spend their money - they can pick anything they want.  


As kids give their answers, take back the money until they have nothing left.


Ask: Now what are you going to do? You have no money and can’t get any more!
How will you pay for you food and living?

Maybe some children took that into consideration?!


Ask: Who can tell me what the word “prodigal” means? (wasteful, or reckless)
[You might get kids that start to tell you the whole story. This is ok, but get them back on track by telling them the word prodigal describes how the son acted while he had money to spend.]


It was fun to imagine what we could spend our money on - and maybe if you had known that you would have needed money to eat or have shelter you would have spent your money a little differently!  Today, we’re going to learn a parable from the Bible that tells us a story about a boy that was pretty reckless and wasteful with his money.


Age adaptation: 

Young children may not have an idea about the actual cost of items.  You can take a bill from them for each item they list or take several bills if you think that item is very expensive!

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:
You will be making a fruit salad while telling the story of the prodigal son.  Midway through the story children will have an opportunity to make pig slop.  After making the pig slop younger children will wash their hands before hearing the rest of the story.  Older students will sit with dirty hands to hear the remainder of the story.  Their hands will get increasingly sticky and the “slop” will begin drying.  This process will help to make an interesting illustration about life without our heavenly father.    


Note about jello: this ingredient is used for effect to create a cooler slop making experience and also added to make a very sticky mess on the hands as an illustration for the older students.


Say: This parable about the prodigal son is a parable that Jesus told.
Ask: Who can tell me what a parable is? (a story told by Jesus to teach his listeners something) 



  • Where in the Bible would we read about our story? (in the New Testament)
  • What are the first four books of the New Testament?
  • What do we call those first four books? (the Gospels)
  • The word Gospel means “good news.” 


  • What is the good news of the Gospels? (accept a few answers) 

Say: Today, we find our story in the Gospel of Luke.  



The Story from Luke 15:

Feel free to elaborate and paraphrase in your own words with younger children.  It may help to even make up conversations of the characters so that children stay engaged. 


Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. The younger son said to his father, ‘Give me now the part of your property that I am supposed to receive someday.’ So the father divided his wealth between his two sons.


Younger children explanation (Preschool/K): The son had been taken care of by his dad but now he wanted to live by himself and do what he wanted to do.  He asked his dad for some money.


Older children explanation: Under the Jewish inheritance laws, the younger son would be entitled to 1/3 of his father’s property; the older son would get 2/3. The property would be mostly in the form of land, not money, so the father might have had to split up the family farm in order to give the younger son his share. This might have caused hardship for the family.


A few days later the younger son gathered up all that he had and left. He traveled far away to another country, and there he wasted his money living like a fool. After he spent everything he had, there was a terrible famine throughout the country. He was hungry and needed money.  So he went and got a job with one of the people who lived there. The man sent him into the fields to feed pigs. He was so hungry that he wanted to eat the food the pigs were eating. But no one gave him anything.


Slop Activity:


Say: When the son left his home he thought that life was going to be a ton of fun!  But after he ran out of money it didn’t turn out so fun - he ended up needing to work with pigs - and he even wished he could eat pig slop!!  Can you imagine what it might be like to eat pig slop?


I think we should try and make some pig slop to see what it might be like!



  1. Hand out an ice cream pail (with pre-made jello inside) to every 3-4 students
  2. Have them roll up their sleeves
  3. Explain that they need to get their hands into the bucket to mix up the pig slop REALLY well - no spoons allowed!
  4. Bring out the ingredients for the pig slop (scraps from your fruit salad,  - all ingredients must be shared but kids can add any combination they would like to their slop
  5. The only rules are - all food must stay in their slop buckets, they must mix it up really well, the slop can’t overflow and it must be very yummy for a pig!
  6. Walk around and visit slop making stations and encourage children as they have fun making a gross concoction

Older children explanation/discussion: Pigs were considered unclean under Jewish law, so feeding pigs would be the lowest, most despicable job for a Jew.  How clean was the job of making your slop today?  What do you think it might have been like to actually work with pigs like the son in the story?  Why did he end up having to do such a dirty job?  How desperate would you have to be to take a bite of the slop you made?  The prodigal son must have been in a very bad spot if he was considering eating pig slop!  Let’s find out what happens next.



Back to the Story:


The son realized that he had been very foolish. He thought, ‘All my father’s hired workers have plenty of food. But here I am, almost dead because I have nothing to eat. I will leave and go to my father. I will say to him: Father, I have sinned against God and have done wrong to you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But let me be like one of your hired workers.’ So he left and went to his father.


Younger children explanation (Preschool/K): The son would never have to eat something as yucky as pig slop if he was still at home with his Dad!  His Dad takes very good care of Him just like God takes very good care of us! 


Older children discussion:  The prodigal son is starting to realize that maybe life without his Dad isn’t quite what he thought it would be!  He thought that it would be a LOT of fun, but it ended up being a little bit more trouble than he imagined.  What did you think when I first told you we were going to make pig slop today?  Maybe you thought it would be lots of fun - and it probably was at the beginning!  



Grade 1-3: How much fun would it have been to eat it?!  Maybe funny to watch someone try to eat it but probably not too fun once it got into our stomachs.  Well - this story can help remind of something very important.  Let’s imagine that the activity of making pig slop is like sin in our lives.   At the beginning, sin can look pretty harmless - and sometimes even fun.  Sort of like the prodigal son when he left his father.  Maybe we choose to stay home from church to play a video game, or tell a little white lie to get out of trouble.   Maybe we even make fun of someone who is wearing silly clothes or spend our tithe money on a new toy for ourselves instead of giving it to God.  Sin in our lives separates us from God, our Heavenly Father.  The prodigal son learned that life without his Dad was pretty difficult and life without our Heavenly Dad would be pretty difficult too.   God wants to take good care of us and help us stay away from the sloppy consequences of sin!



Grade 4-6: How much fun is pig slop now?  How are your hands/arms feeling?  Are they getting sticky?  Are they smelly or itchy?  How might they feel in an hour from now or maybe even a day from now?  How fun might that be?!


Well - this story can help remind of something very important.  Let’s imagine that the activity of making pig slop is like sin in our lives.   At the beginning, sin can look pretty harmless - and sometimes even fun.  Sort of like the prodigal son when he left his father.  Maybe we choose to stay home from church to play a video game, or tell a little white lie to get out of trouble.   Maybe we even make fun of someone who is wearing silly clothes or spend our tithe money on a new toy for ourselves instead of giving it to God.  Sin in our lives separates us from God, our Heavenly Father.  The prodigal son learned that life without his Dad was pretty difficult and life without our Heavenly Dad would be pretty difficult too.   God wants to take good care of us and help us stay away from the sloppy consequences of sin!



Take a look at your hands - you can see the consequences of making slop on them can’t you!  Well, life without God would have a ton of consequences too - consequences that would stick to you all the time.  God doesn’t want that for us!  He wants us to be loved, well cared for and washed clean from sin.  (Have students continue to wait before washing their hands.  If there are students who are very bothered by the experience allow them to wash their hands.)



While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him coming and felt sorry for him. So he ran to him and hugged and kissed him.  The son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against God and have done wrong to you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’


But the father said to his servants, ‘Hurry! Bring the best clothes and put them on him. Also, put a ring on his finger and good sandals on his feet. And bring our best calf and kill it so that we can celebrate with plenty to eat. My son was dead, but now he is alive again! He was lost, but now he is found!’ So they began to have a party.


Younger children explanation (Preschool/K):  The dad was so very excited to see his son again! He loved his son so very much!  That’s how much God loves us!  When we choose to love God there is a big party in heaven celebrating our decision to follow Him.  Even when we do something wrong, God will always forgive us and love us - just like the dad in this story.


Older children discussion:  What were the consequences for the son when he returned home?  There weren’t any!  The Dad completely forgave him and showered love on him!  What would that have felt like for the son?  (At this time, allow older students to go and wash their hands.  Once they have returned ask them how they feel now and how that might relate to the feeling of forgiveness and receiving the love of our Heavenly Father).  


A note of interest: The robe was symbol of honor. The ring was a symbol of power of attorney. Wearing his father’s ring, the son could act legally in his father’s name.



For Younger Students (Preschool/K)


The Dad in the story had a huge celebration and feast when his son came home.  He loved his Son so very much.  God loves us just the same way.  He wants to take care of us.  Let’s celebrate God’s good love together with a special feast I prepared!


Enjoy some fruit salad together.



For Older Students 


This parable teaches us a lot about the love of God our Father.  It teaches us that God wants to care for us and he wants us to enjoy the richness of his blessings.  It also teaches us that His love is ALWAYS available to us.  Even when we sin, or decide to live for ourselves and not for God - we can ALWAYS come back and he will forgive us and accept us.  God can take our sins and toss them far away.  He can save us from the pig slop of sin and transform our lives so they are fit for a heavenly feast.


Remember that pig slop we made earlier....well, some of the ingredients for the pig slop came from something much more beautiful and delicious.  Fruit! (Pull out your fruit salad).  I made this delicious fruit salad for us to eat as way to celebrate the feast the father threw for his son in the story we heard today.  Some of the ingredients in here wouldn’t have tasted too good if I hadn’t taken out the seeds or removed the peels.  Our life is like that too - without our Heavenly father’s love and forgiveness - we’d have sin in our lives that wouldn’t look to good.


Because of God’s great love for us - we can toss away the sloppy parts of our life.  When we ask for God’s forgiveness we get to be part of God’s family - His sons and daughters. 
We get to inherit his kingdom and his rich blessings - just like the prodigal son when he returns home.   Let’s celebrate!!



End with a prayer.


Enjoy some fruit salad together.


A lesson posted by Andrea Anderst from: Zion Baptist Community Church, 

Alberta, Canada


A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

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