The story of the lost sheep is a parable told by Jesus to his disciples, tax collectors, sinners, Pharisees (religious leaders) and scribes. The story is mentioned in the gospels of Matthew (chapter 18, verses 12 to 14) and Luke (chapter 15, verses 3 to 7). In the parable, Jesus uses the symbols of an owner and his sheep to describe God’s love and compassion for his people. The parable also illustrates the importance of repentance.
Popcorn Sheep Picture
This craft is especially appropriate for preschoolers and kindergartners with a short attention span, because it can be completed in 15 minutes or less. You will need a Bible opened to Matthew (chapter 18, verses 12 to 15), 8.5-inch by 14-inch white paper, school glue, crayons, a paint brush, a plastic plate, and 10 pieces of popped popcorn for each child. Air-popped popcorn without salt or butter works best for this project.
Using a green crayon, show the children how to draw a mountain on the left side of their paper that descends into a flat field on the right side of their paper. After they have drawn their mountain and field, ask them to completely cover them with green crayon so no white background shows underneath it. Give each child a paper plate with some glue on it, a paint brush and nine pieces of popcorn.
Tell them that you are going to read a story to them about lost sheep, and that while you read it, you would like them to glue their sheep (show them a piece of popcorn) on the field. After all of their sheep are glued to the paper they can draw legs on their sheep with a black crayon.
Read the parable from Matthew. When you finish, ask the children to glue the last piece of popcorn by itself on the mountain. Discuss the story. Ask the children about the lost “sheep” on their page and discuss why the shepherd would leave all the other sheep to find the lost one. Emphasise the importance of each and every sheep in the flock.
Lost Sheep Diorama
This project is best for older children (ages 9 to 12) because it takes more time and requires each child to work independently without step-by-step instructions.
After reading the gospel of John's version of the Parable of the Lost Sheep (John, chapter 15, verses 4 to 9), give each child a shoebox, scissors, some markers, and a small bottle of school glue. On a separate craft table set out cotton balls, black chenille sticks, a bucket of sand, and sheets of construction paper in brown, tan, blue, green, black, and white.
Discuss the Bible passage and ask each child to make a miniature desert scene of the parable using the shoebox and any of the materials found on the craft table.
Toilet Paper Tube Puppets
This craft uses empty toilet paper tubes, crayons or markers, glue, and a colouring sheet of a shepherd and sheep. To find appropriate colouring sheets on the Internet use the keyword phrase “shepherd and sheep colouring sheets” in any search engine. SmileInternational.org has a colour-and-cut-out nativity scene with shepherd and sheep figures that could be used for this project.
After reading either Bible passage (Matthew, chapter 18, verses 12 to 15, or John, chapter 15, verses 4 to 9), children colour the figures, cut them out, and glue them to toilet paper tubes. Discuss the Bible passage and divide the children into groups of two. Ask them to act out the parable using their puppets.