DLTK's Sunday School Lessons
Parables: The Prodigal Son - Part 3

by Leanne Guenther

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


This lesson is the second last one in the series of parables.  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.

The message:

Preschool thru Grade 1: We should never be afraid to ask for forgiveness.
Grades 2 and 3: God has unlimited grace for us no matter what we've done. 

I've split this message into two separate ones depending on the age level.  For the younger children, the message is simple: We should never be afraid to ask for forgiveness.  By reading this parable everyone should have courage that God is nothing but gentle and loving when we repent.  For the older children, we expand on this message and say: God has unlimited grace for us no matter what we've done.

Make sure you repeat the message many times during the lesson.  Send the The Prodigal Son 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 Parable Coloring Pages or the Family Coloring Pages 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 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 Piggy Bank name tags, scissors (or adults can precut),  crayons, markers, yarn, safety pins or tape.

Craft/Game time!

Preschool thru Grade 1: Work on the Prodigal Son Maze. Help the Prodigal Son find his way home.  You could also make the Paper Bag Pig if you have additional time or would rather do a craft.  It includes the memory verse for the week.

Grade 2 and 3:  This week we have the Prodigal Son Word Search.  You can print a copy for each child, or use an overhead projector (if you have a big enough space and an empty wall) and do it together as a class. (You may want to complete the word search first so the solution is handy).

15 to 30 minutes 
depending on your
adult/child ratio

Preschool thru Grade 1:   Paper Bag Pig. printer, paper, paper bag, pink paint or construction paper, glue, crayons, scissors.

Grade 2 and 3: Prodigal Son Word Search.  Paper, printer, something to write with. OPTIONAL:  overhead projector, transparent paper, special markers.

Bible Story Time:

Preschool thru Grade 1:  Read The Story of The Lost Son (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 Coloring Pages can be distributed to the children so they are able to color at home, or during the story.


Preschool thru Grade 1: depending on the time remaining ask the children if they have ever asked Jesus for forgiveness?  Was it hard?  What did they do?  Were they forgiven right away and how did they know they were forgiven?  Encourage the children to ask for forgiveness and remind them that he promises to forgive us of our sins if we ask.

Grade 2 and 3: depending on the time remaining ask the children how they would feel if they were the older brother in the story?  What does GRACE mean? (God's Riches At Christ's Expense)  Is there any sin that they think God won't forgive?  Only God knows how we feel on the inside and if we are truly sorry.  He will forgive anyone if he knows they are repentant.


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