The Parable of the Prodigal Son, which appears in Luke 15:11-32, describes the story of a repentant son. After asking his father for his inheritance early, the son runs off and quickly squanders his money. It is only when he is forced to take a job on a pig farm feeding swine that the son sees the error of his ways and returns home to his father's open, forgiving arms. Teach children the Parable of the Prodigal Son using a pig craft.
Paper Bag Pig
Tie a pig puppet into the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Supply each student with a brown paper lunch bag. Beforehand, make a set of pig parts for each student: two eyes, two ears, one snout, four hooves and one spiral tail. Or, use an online template (see Resources 1). Instruct the students to color and cut out each part. Glue a set of eyes and the snout to the bottom flap of a paper bag. Glue the ears to the top section of the same flap. Glue the front and back hooves to the sides and bottom, respectively. With the flap at the top and the open end at the bottom, use the bag as a pig puppet. Let students use their pig puppets, along with other puppets in the classroom, to reenact the story of the Prodigal Son.
The Prodigal Son took care of the pigs in a pig pen. Give the children craft sticks and glue to create one of their own. Lay the craft sticks flat to form a box. Glue the ends together at the corners in the overlapping style of a log cabin. Layer on more sticks to create a taller pen. Cut out pigs from pink construction paper and fill the bottom of the pen with shreds of brown paper. Have the children write different sins, which the Prodigal Son committed, onto the pigs before placing them into their pens. Cut a piece from a craft stick and glue it to the back of the pigs to help them stand.
The dramatic irony in the story is that the Prodigal Son, who was wasteful and proud, had to take care of pigs -- a job he once would have considered dirty and beneath him. Print out pictures of pigs for the class to color. Instruct the children to add mud to their pictures. Tie the mud in the pictures into the story by explaining how even though a person may feel she is without sin, the Bible teaches that she is born with natural sin; however, if she seeks forgiveness, according to the Bible, God will forgive.
Pig in a Basket
Crafting a pig hanger can help children remember the book, chapter and verse of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Prepare for this activity by drawing one pig head and a front set of pig hooves for each child. Or, print out a premade pattern (see Resources 2 and scroll down to "Crafts"). Color the pigs parts. Cut small paper plates in half. Write "Luke 15:21" on the back of one of the plate halves. Color the backs of both. Staple the two halves together, with front sides facing each other, along the curved edge. Keep the top, straight edge unstapled. The plate with the written verse should be on the front of the basket. Insert the pig's body into the opening and glue it between the plates. Then, glue the hooves below the body so it looks like the pig is hanging out of the basket. Punch a hole into each side of the basket and thread string or ribbon through the holes to create a hanger for the project.