Adding onto my character series, I am focusing on teaching kids about forgiveness through this parable of the lost son craft. The “Parable of the Lost Son” is also called the “Parable of the Prodigal Son,” and it was taught by Jesus when he walked on this earth. The story I paraphrased at times and read directly at times. I want to make the story accessible to kids, so I find that I like to explain things as I go along and simply some of the terminology. I like to have my Bible sitting open as I tell the story to the kids so they really can see the source. The story can be found in Luke 15:11-32 and is about a son who has decided he didn’t want to wait for his father to die before he received his inheritance, so he asked for it early. His father gave it to him, and he went off and spent it all on “wild living.” Soon, he had nothing and dreamed of eating the slop that pigs were being fed. He figured out that his father’s servants had more than him, so he returned to his father with the plea, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Make me like one of your servants.” First of all, the father was waiting in anticipation and ran out with wide arms to greet him. Rather than condemn the son when he returned, the father threw a celebration for the son. He eagerly and quickly forgave and embraced his son completely. He loved his son dearly, and wanted nothing more to be in a right relationship with him again. This is exactly how our Heavenly Father feels about us. He created you. He loves you. He is eagerly waiting for you to turn to Him for grace and forgiveness. He wants to move forward in a restored relationship with you. I want my kids to understand this beyond anything else. There is NOTHING that can separate us from the love of God. We may feel like our sins our insurmountable, but Jesus told this parable in anticipation of his death on the cross that offers forgiveness of sin and restoration of our relationship with God. What exciting news to tell our kids. I wanted to do a craft to drive home this point. I did a Google image search and found this idea on Pinterest, but the links I found only led to an image rather than a “how to” or tutorial. I wanted to make sure you received a printable and directions on how to make it all come together.
1. Use a piece of construction paper or colorful card stock. Measure in 3 inches along the length of the paper and draw a guide line. This was a great opportunity to teach kids how to measure and draw straight lines using a ruler.
2. Have your kids cut along your guide lines. This will give you a strip of paper 3″ by 11.”
3. Fold this paper into thirds.
4. You or your kids will want to cut out the printable I made for you. I actually made two for you to choose from:
a. Printable with Just the Verse and Head Outline – Older kids can do the google eyes and draw in their own face.
b. Printable with Drawn in Face – Easier for Sunday School Lessons and younger kids to color.
7. Kids can use a Sharpie or another pen to create the mouth and nose. I like to use white glue to attach the eyes.
I love how the arms open wide with a willingness to forgive. I also like how they interlock to show a big embrace as the son returns to the father. I chose the verse, “In Him we have the redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance of the riches of God’s grace.” – Ephesians 1:7. Although this has some big words that need explaining, it’s such a rich verse that can bring such hope to all of us. After all, we are ALL sinners and can only come into God’s presence because of his abundant forgiveness and grace.
If you are a parent working on raising up your children in a way that teaches the truth about God, I want to provide you with a few of our family favorite resources. (affiliate links)
- Jesus Storybook Bible – This is my favorite. I tear up throughout the story, and I am amazed at how beautifully they tell the gospel story and weave Jesus into each story from the creation of the world to the end of the New Testament. I even buy this book for friends who are wanting to learn more about the Christian faith. It tells God’s story in a way that makes so much sense.
- Long Story Short – Ten Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God – This is the Bible Study we are currently doing as a family, and I love it. I love that it ties the Old Testament stories to Jesus, like the “Jesus Storybook Bible.” It is an engaging way to interact with your kids, with questions geared for great discussion. My oldest (age 7) is especially loving it, and it always the one who goes and grabs the book to make sure we get our devotion done. There are 5 lessons a week that take about 10 minutes. It is super manageable and brings a lot of intention into your Christian parenting journey. Even today, my daughter was whining about not getting something her sister was able to get. They had learned about the story of Cain and the word “envy.” It was a great tie in to discussion about her current feelings. Although I haven’t read them, the same author has two other books – Old Story New and The Gospel Bible Story.
- Seeds Worship CDs – These are my favorite kid music CD’s to play in the car. They are not annoying! The music is well composed but straight scripture. My kids have easily memorized scriptures since we have these playing in the car. Here are some of their CD’s: Seeds of Courage, Seeds of Praise, Seeds of Character, Seeds Family Worship
- Grace for the Moment – I haven’t actually gone through this one with my kids, but I have heard great things. It is full of 365 different devotions to last throughout the year. It’s written by Max Lucado, and I tend to love all of his work, so I look forward to doing this one in the future.