LOST AND FOUND RUN: Play this game like a Hide and Seek game, or hide things that the children have to find when the teacher calls out an item. When the item is found, the children will call out, "LOST, BUT FOUND."
BIBLE VERSE RELAY: Divide the children into teams. Each team will have a bag of items from the Bible verse that they'll take turns running to the bag and putting one of the items on ( a ring, a robe, sandals; or a balloon to blow up for the "celebration"). There can be more than one ring or robe, or sandals so that there will be enough of the items for each team member.
THREE WISHES SKIT: Let the children choose a narrator to read today's Bible story while the rest of the children act out the story as it is read. (Examples: father with a sad face; a son grabbing everything and being greedy; the son begging his father for his inheritance; the son spending a lot of money (play or monopoly money is fine); the son acting hungry; snorting pigs; and the son returning home and the entire class acting out the final CELEBRATION with balloons and whistles, etc.)
BALLOON ART: Give the children some balloons to write on (using markers) with WELCOME BACK SON; or I FORGIVE YOU SON; or MAKE GOOD CHOICES, NOT BAD. Children can then blow up their balloons and have a CELEBRATION because God forgives bad choices. SING "Amazing Grace" or "I have Decided to follow Jesus" together while waving balloons.
PRODIGAL SON MAZE: Give each child a piece of paper and a pencil to draw a line that meanders around the page from the top right corner of the page to the bottom left corner. (This will create a "maze" to follow in the next part of the activity. Give the children crayons or markers to draw a Prodigal Son in the upper corner and a drawing of the Father in the lower opposite corner. The children will then give their "maze" to another child who will use a MARKER to follow the wandering lines to find the path from the son to the father.
"GOD FORGIVES" OVER-THE-DOOR BANNER: Divide the class into two teams. Give each team a large piece of poster board to decorate with their ideas of today's lesson on forgiveness and bad choices. When the time is up and the banners are completed with words, pictures, balloons, hole punch the poster board and add long strings and hang it over the class room door. Let teams explain their drawings and talk about today's Bible story.
PRODIGAL SON PUPPET: Give each child a brown or white paper lunch bag, markers, yarn for hair, eyes, and brown felt for the children to glue items on the paper bag to make a "prodigal son" puppet. Sit in a circle after the bags are completed and have the bag puppets take turns in telling what bad choices he made and what a celebration his father had for him when he returned home. The teacher can ask the bag puppets questions if the children have trouble telling a part of the story.
CELEBRATION AND FEAST TIME: Let children spread a fancy tablecloth on a long table and decorate it with paper plates and balloons, bright colored napkins and small treats that the teacher will provide for the celebration. Children will LOVE decorating the table together with streamers, confetti and Bible verse slips from today's lesson and God's forgiveness. The verses can be taped to a toothpick to make a flag and stuck into a small piece of molding clay or play dough. Let the children sit around the table and THANK GOD for HIS forgiveness when we make wrong choices and CELEBRATE God's love together, while enjoying their snack foods, cupcakes, chips, ice cream, etc!!! (Feel free to use your imagination, teachers, with little nut cups and brightly colored cups or whatever will help the children to enjoy and realize the CELEBRATION!
Song: "The Prodigal Son" by Charles & Elaine Kirkpatrick
Words and Music (PDF)
Song: "Lord, I'm Coming Home" (Refrain)
Words and Music (PDF)