In the Biblical parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25:1-12, the virgins are waiting for the bridegroom to come to take them into the party. Half of them are unprepared and have to go and buy fuel. They are missing when the bridegroom comes and do not get to go into the wedding feast. Christ explains in Matthew 25:13 that the parable teaches the reader to be prepared, because no one knows when He will return in the second coming, and the unprepared will not get into heaven. Use activities that focus on the lesson of the parable to reinforce its importance.
Children of any age remember stories better when they learn to sing them than when they are simply told the same story. Select a song that is age-appropriate for your students. Choose songs with only a few lyrics set to familiar children's tunes with preschool and primary age students and more complex songs set to the tune of common church hymns for older students. "This Little Light of Mine" is a song familiar to very young students and ties to the story's lamp theme, warning students to not let their light go out. The song "The Wise and Foolish Virgins" is set to the tune of "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning" and is suitable for students in middle and high school classes.
Talk about being prepared
Since Christ explains that the moral of the parable of the 10 virgins is to always prepare yourself for His return, begin the lesson by talking about what it means to be prepared. With preschool and primary age students, play the game, "I'm going on a road trip," or "I'm going to an island." Students say, "I'm going to an island, and with me I am taking **." Then the students fill in the blank with an item they would take with them to be prepared. Each student adds a new item to the list. For example, the first student may say, "I am going to an island, and with me I am taking matches." The next student says, "I am going to an island, and with me I am taking food and matches." Continue the activity for 5 to 10 minutes until every student has an opportunity to respond more than once. If a student messes up the list, they are "out." After playing the game, introduce the idea of being prepared for Jesus. At the close of the lesson, after the parable has been read and discussed, repeat the game using the phrase, "I am preparing for Jesus' coming, and so I will** ."
Colouring parable-specific pages is the most basic craft project for the lesson of the 10 virgins. Find a colouring page that has an image related to the 10 virgins and appropriate to the age level you teach. Colouring pages are often included with instruction material if your congregation purchases lesson plans. If you are assembling your own lesson plans, you can find colouring pages from multiple online sites. Students can decorate the colouring page with markers, crayons and other craft supplies.
Making lanterns is a more complex craft project. Have students cut slits 13 cm (1/2 inch} apart across the width of a sheet of construction paper. Fold the paper in half to put a crease in the middle of the slits. Tape or glue the paper into a tube so that the slits run vertically. Put the paper lantern over the end of a basic flashlight to light it.
Read the Bible Account
Read the Biblical account of the 10 virgins from Matthew 25:1-13. For younger students, act out the parable with finger or hand puppets. You can make hand puppets from socks or purchase hand and finger puppets from Bible education supply companies. If you have fewer than 10 students in the class, give each student a puppet to act as one of the virgins. If you have more than 10 students, slide hand puppets over 2-litre bottles to make them stand without a hand inside them. You can then use your hands to move the bottles around during the story, or to animate the puppets that are "speaking." For older children, allow them the opportunity to read it to themselves silently or to take turns reading aloud to the class. Use a version of the Bible that is appropriate to the students' reading level. For very young children, consider using a paraphrased version of the parable.