DLTK's Sunday School Lessons
Men of the Old Testament Pt 1: Jonah

by Leanne Guenther

Sunday School Teacher's Guide - this is just one possible lesson plan.  Visit the Jonah Bible lesson plan for further ideas to supplement this.


This lesson is about a man that is in a little bit of all of us.  How many times do we get frustrated with people who are always doing the wrong thing, or have wronged us?  Yet God wants us to help them?!  This is how Jonah felt and he decided to do what many of us might do today,  but in this story Jonah learned his lesson immediately (just as we will be held accountable someday).

The message:

Preschool thru Grade 1: Good things happen when we listen to God.
Grades 2 and 3: God wants us to listen to Him.  He loves us and wants to keep us from harm.

I've split this message into two separate ones depending on the age level.  For the younger children, the message is simple: Good things happen when we listen to God.   For the older children, we expand on this message and say: God wants us to listen to Him.  He loves us and wants to keep us from harm.  It might be helpful to use examples of how we listen to God (read the Bible and obey, pray, our conscience, etc.)

Make sure you repeat the message many times during the lesson.  Send the Jonah Take Home Sheet  home with the children to encourage parents to reiterate the message during the week.  It includes a poster at the bottom that the children can color and hang on their wall or refrigerator.

Preview of the lesson:

Some people like to do craft time first and story time second and some like to switch it around.  I like the first option, myself.

Always consider offering the Mini Book, Old Testament Coloring Pages or the Whale/Fish Coloring Page for children who aren't interested in participating in the group activity (or if you get done the group activities very quickly and need something to fill in the spare time).  Everyone has a need for "alone time" once in awhile.  Also, sending home the mini book or coloring pages with the Take Home sheet provides parents with much needed help in reinforcing the lessons.  You can make a nice little booklet each week with the Take Home Sheet on top -- I promise that most parents will appreciate the effort! 


Time Allotted



Receive name tags.  Have the children use crayons, markers, yarn, feathers and whatever other materials (such as sparkle glue) that you have available to personalize their name tag.

Sing the Learning our Names song

10 to 15 minutes Fish name tags, scissors (or adults can precut),  crayons, markers, yarn, safety pins or tape.

Craft time!

Preschool thru Grade 1: Make the Stuffed Paper Bag Whale/Fish.  This is a classic craft that we've likely all made when we were young.  It continues to be loads of fun for the kids!  For more fun you can draw a "paper person" and cut him out OR twist a pipe cleaner into a person shape like shown to the right.  This is Jonah.  Stuff the fish a little ways, then insert your Jonah into the fish.  Finish stuffing and continue on with the craft instructions as normal.  The children will know Jonah is "trapped" inside their fish.

Grade 2 and 3:  Make the Whale Paper Craft.  During the craft you can always talk about the story: what it might be like to be in the belly of a whale, did Jonah think he would die in there, how would the sailors that threw him overboard felt, how do you think this changed Jonah's life...etc.

15 to 30 minutes 
depending on your
adult/child ratio
Preschool thru Grade 1: Paper Bag Whale template. paint (blue or grey), paper lunch bag, newspaper, blue construction paper, elastic band or masking tape, scotch tape, glue, black marker, OPTIONAL:  wiggly eyes, pipe cleaner.

Grade 2 and 3: Whale paper craft template.  paper (legal sized...8.5"x11"...blue or gray are most appropriate)
(a slightly heavier paper than 20lb helps too), scissors, OPTIONAL:  wiggly eyes, marker or pencil crayons, bingo dabber.

Bible Story Time:

Preschool thru Grade 1:  Read The Story of Jonah (or read from your own store bought children's bible).

Grades 2 and 3:  It's tough to know when it's the right time to start readings from the Bible, but if the children have been read a children's version of the story in the past, I believe this is a good age to introduce the King James (or your preferred) bible reading.

10 minutes The Mini Book or Coloring Pages can be distributed to the children so they are able to color at home, or during the story.  Print the pages, staple them together in order and let the kids know when to turn the page.  The handouts can be taken home to color in.


Preschool thru Grade 1: depending on the time remaining ask the children what happened to Jonah when he didn't listen to God?  What happened the people from Nineveh when they listened to God?  How can we listen to God (obeying our parents and the Bible, listening to our conscience, etc.)

Grade 2 and 3: depending on the time remaining ask the children if God punishes us when we do something wrong (Hebrews 12:7-13)?  Do our parents like to punish us?  Does God?  Why did God save Nineveh even though they were so bad?


Standard ending song: "We Love to Learn Together"

5 to 15 minutes

Brainstorm Board (chalkboard, whiteboard, poster board,...)




Words to:

Standard ending song: "We Love to Learn Together"


Printable version of this Teacher's Guide