Whether you are teaching a Sunday school class or you are a teacher in a Christian school, you will have to teach the parables -- simple lessons -- of Jesus to children at some point. Present a variety of activities to draw the children into the learning experience and leave them with the most important lessons.
A crossword puzzle helps children to focus in one the main points of a particular parable. You could make a crossword puzzle for only one parable or combine a couple of them into one puzzle. Words to consider including the puzzle are Samaritan, prodigal, Levite, sower, soil, good and brother. Add the word parables and lesson somewhere in the crossword puzzle as well, to remind children of the main purpose of the many parables that Jesus taught.
Have students fill in a chart about several of the parables. Pre-select which ones you would like the students to focus on, or allow them to pick their own. Create columns with the following heads: Parable of; What was the message?; Who was the audience?; How would you use this parable today?; and Found in which Gospels? Allow students to work in groups on this project, and then to share the answers with the entire class.
Some children are visual learners. However, visualisation is difficult when you are discussing a time period in which there are no recorded images. Present colouring book pages or create your own of a scene of one of the parables. Have the children colour them and then explain what is happening in the pictures. An alternative is to ask children to draw their own pictures of how they imagine the scene of one of the parables to have looked like.
Older students can try their hand at writing parables. Read Jesus' parables out loud to the students. Then read some secular parables, since that is more along the lines of what they will be writing. Ask them to explain in their own parables one of the lessons that Jesus taught. Have students share them with the class or make a book that contains all of the parables that the students in the class write.