Crafts on the parable of the lost sheep

Written by marie powell
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Crafts on the parable of the lost sheep
The parable uses a common Old Testament metaphor: the lamb. (sheep image by Nenad Djedovic from

You find the parable of the lost sheep told in the Bible gospels of Matthew (Chapter 18, verses 10 through 14) and Luke (Chapter 15, verses 1 though 7). Jesus uses the example of the shepherd who leaves behind his flock of 99 to find the lost last one lamb to teach about God's love for those distanced from him. Crafts using the image of a lamb can teach children and remind adults of the story and its message.


Teach children the story using a felt board or a magnetic board. Use a piece of thin plywood, sanded on the edges. Cover the boards with a large piece of flannel, then tack, staple or tape it onto the back. If making a magnetic board, paint with magnetic paint. Cover this primer with any colour you choose so that the board can be painted as a landscape or with chalkboard paint.

The class or child can draw, paint or colour pictures of the shepherd and sheep. Use card stock, or paste cut images onto firm paper. Purchase rolls of fabric hook-and-loop fasteners with adhesive backing, and tack pieces of this or glue squares of sandpaper on the back of the figures. If using a magnetic board, adhere pieces cut from a roll of magnetic tape.

Crafts on the parable of the lost sheep
Use a soft cotton flannel to surface your board. (store display of fabric image by Joyce Wilkes from


Jesus tells us in the parable that the shepherd finds the one lost sheep out of 100. Use small, clear glass jars such as baby jars or jam jars, thoroughly cleaned. Have each child count out 99 small white navy beans and place them in the jar. Add one small black bean or one red lentil. Place the lid on the jar, then gently shake to watch the one lost bean disappear and re-emerge into view.

Crafts on the parable of the lost sheep
You can also fill the jars with pintos, kidney beans or roasted coffee beans. (beans image by mashe from

Marshmallow Hunt

Collect 100 cotton balls or marshmallows, and dye one a bright colour with food colouring. Let the dyed piece dry thoroughly. Before the children enter the room, distribute the pieces. Make most of them visible and easy to find, but hide the coloured piece fairly well. The children will find they are, like the shepherd in the parable, more eager to find the one "lost" marshmallow than the 99 in plain site.

Crafts on the parable of the lost sheep
In spring, use white and dyed hard-boiled eggs in the place of the marshmallows. (Easter Eggs image by Stockphotoman from

Barley Bags

The shepherd in the parable finds his lost sheep and lays the lamb over his shoulders to carry it back to the flock. Older children can make a warmable bag to lay over their own shoulders.

Sew together three sides of two cotton rectangles, 8 by 20 inches, facing the patterns in together while you sew and leaving the narrow end open. Turn the bag inside out, then fill it with dry barley, jasmine rice or even steel-cut oatmeal. Turn the ends in, and sew shut. Use a sewing machine; if hand-stitching, use fine stitches and sew over twice. Microwave these bags for one to three minutes, watching carefully for scorching, before draping them over the neck.

For a shorter project, fill and sew the end of a long cotton sock instead of making the bag yourself.

Crafts on the parable of the lost sheep
Buy barley by the scoop at your local natural-foods store. (Pearl barley image by Elzbieta Sekowska from


Adults can use carded sheep or llama wool to felt small sheep figures as shelf or Christmas tree decorations. Round small tufts of wool into the shapes of legs, body and head, and use a felting needle to compact and connect the pieces into a figure.

Crafts on the parable of the lost sheep
Fibre art stores sell wool in natural colours, dyed or whitened. (wollig weich image by Ingrid Walter from

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