Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A copy of story, "The Lost Son"
- Optional: A quarter, two dimes, and a nickel
- Optional: “The Lost Son” coloring sheet, and crayons
Preparation for Activity
- Review the story, "The Lost Son" so you will comfortable telling it instead of reading it to the group.
- Optional: Have the coins ready to use in your follow-up discussion of the story.
- Optional: Print the coloring sheet and copy for all participants. Place coloring sheets and crayons where children can use them when invited but will not be distracted beforehand.
Description of Activity
As children listen and respond to the story, "The Lost Son," they are helped to understand that love is always at home even if you are not there. Part of family structure is saying "good-bye" to family members and then welcoming them home.
Gather the children in a circle, and tell the story. When you have finished, lead a discussion with these questions:
- Why do you think the younger son wanted to leave home?
- When the younger son was in trouble and had spent his money, where did he go?
- Have you ever made a mistake?
- Does your family forgive you and love you in spite of your mistakes?
- Why was the older brother mad?
- Did the father treat his two sons the same?
- Do you think he loved both sons the same amount?
- Can love be equal without being exactly the same?
Many children this age are learning about the equal value of different combinations of coins. You can use coins to illustrate the way the father in the story loved his older and younger sons. Place a quarter in one of your hands, and two dimes and a nickel in the other. Open your hands to display the coins, and say:
Let's look at this money. I have a quarter here and I have two dimes and a nickel here. Are these the same? Not exactly. Just like the two sons were not the same. Are these equal? Yes, these are both of equal value. Each of my hands has 25 cents. But they are not exactly the same. That is how the father loved his sons, the same amount, but not the same.
Including All Participants
Offer children the opportunity to color the illustration provided for “The Lost Son” to engage different learning styles and to help children focus on or relate to the story. A coloring activity can be a "preview" of a story. It can work as a quiet activity to help children physically settle. You might use it afterward to help the group recall and respond to the story.