Skip to main content

Please add your lessons and suggestions for teaching preschoolers The Parable of the Prodigal Son to this topic.

I was in charge of the childcare for volunteers' children during River Community Church's Marketplace Vacation Bible School, 2011-2015. We were working our way through the Old Testament, starting with Creation in 2011, but also tied in some New Testament stories. They were not detailed lesson plans, but I am sharing all of my teaching notes here, in case the general ideas from my rough outlines are of use to someone.

We filled our 3 1/2 hours each day with story and activities related to some of the same stories the "big" (elementary aged) children were studying. Most of the time was spent in learning centers related to the day’s story and in free play, so it was not truly rotation, but many ideas were gleaned from this site and some ideas listed here could be expanded to full Sunday-school-hour-long lessons for younger children.

Each year we had a different overarching theme for the week. Those are included in the lesson notes below. Some of the activities tie into those as well.

Last edited by Luanne Payne
Original Post

Jesus: Author and Finisher of our Faith

Main Story: The Prodigal Son

Point: God wants us to trust Him
Scripture: Luke 15:11-32
Memory Verse: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart” Proverbs 3:5a


  • box
  • pig, enlarged: from game -
  • pea pods - prepared for game as described in directions at that site 
  • paper bags (pink if possible)
  • pig puppet pieces, cut out:
  • memory verse on smaller pea pods (one set for each child)
  • glue sticks
  • coins
  • lightweight paper
  • crayons without paper wrappers
  • Prodigal Son picture book
  • Party things for the housekeeping center (party hats, decorations, play cupcakes)

Encourage children to visit centers and engage them in conversation as indicated below.


  • Art/Science: coin rubbings - as the children work, talk about how our story today is about a young man who trusted money instead of God
  • Book: Prodigal Son picturebook
  • Blocks: build a pig pen
  • Kitchen: have a party; talk with children about why we celebrate, especially family celebrations

Coloring sheets:
Another maze at


This parable clearly shows the difference between God and humans, and how much God loves us, and how He doesn't hold a grudge. God's grace is so great and so hard to believe compared to the life we live on earth. Who wouldn't react like the older brother in this parable? Yet the brother wasn't the one who was wronged, it was the father who was wronged but he still chose to forgive his son easily and wholeheartedly.

See child-friendly retellings at

Review memory verse.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart”

TRUST The hands close tightly around something to show that a person has a good hold on it.

LORD The sign KING (handshape moves from the chest to the waist while crossing the body; the movement indicates the location of the royal sash worn by kings) is made with a L handshape (form an L with the thumb and index finger).

ALL The hand moves in a circle and then ends up in the palm of the other hand to show that everything (all) is included.

HEART The middle finger taps the chest over the area of the heart.


Make pig puppets.

Give children smaller copies of pea pod memory verse (from game below) to take home to feed to pig


"God Is So Good”
God is so good,... He’s so good to me!
God loves me so....
God answers prayer...


"Feed the Pig" Bible Verse Review Activity -  You can find the complete directions and patterns for this craft on Danielle's Place of Crafts and Activities on the Prodigal Son Sunday School Lesson page.


"I can trust God because....”
Help the children think about how God has been faithful to them. Help them think about feeling safe and comfortable and secure. Encourage them to draw pictures, or have them dictate what to write in their journals.


Review memory verse.
Clean up room.
Send home projects with children.


ASL Browser - videos of the signs used are from this site

Danielle's Place of Crafts and Activities - Prodigal Son Sunday School Lesson page.

DLTK's Activities for Kids The Prodigal Son-


Images (1)
  • IMG_5559
Last edited by Luanne Payne

Add Reply

Post a New Topic
Lesson or Resource Inc. is a volunteer-run, 100% member supported, 501(c)3 non-profit Sunday School lesson ministry. You are welcome to borrow and adapt content for non-commercial teaching purposes --as long as both the site and author are referenced. Inc reserves the right to manage, move, condense, delete, and otherwise improve all content posted to the site. Read our Terms of Service. Get a free Registered Membership or become a Supporting Member for full access to all site resources. is rated 5 stars on Google based on 51 reviews. Serving a global community including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, S. Africa, and more!
Link copied to your clipboard.