Parables of Jesus — VBS

This page is devoted to sharing the actual lesson plans I used while teaching the Parables of Jesus to a 7-9 year old class in a Vacation Bible School setting.

  • The Kingdom Parables
  • Living Right Parables
  • God’s Love Parables
  • End of Time Parables
  • Other Parables
  • VBS a Success

If you would like to see some pictures, you’ll have to scroll all the way down.

Monday — The Kingdom Parables

The Kingdom Parables Song

Tomorrow is the first day of our VBS. We are studying the parables. It has been based on a filmstrip series (I can’t remember the name of the series). There are about 24 parables in the series. Each day we will meet in the auditorium and everyone will watch the filmstrip for that day. Then we’ll go to class. Each teacher has been given the freedom to choose which parables she will teach. The 3 and 4 year old class is doing one parable a day. The High School class is going to try to cover all of them. I’m doing 14 parables in all. I will be teaching the 7-9 year olds.

Like last year, we have a teacher that will be doing crafts for everyone. Each class has an assigned time to go to her classroom and do whatever project she has. This alleviates the need for each teacher to do an artsy type project. It also breaks up the class a little and lets the kids and the teacher get out of the classroom. It worked out great last year.

My class will have books that I put together. If I can get my son to help me, I’ll try to get pictures on before the week is through. We bought a new camera and I can’t figure out how to use it. He has to set it for me every time. I need a simpler camera.

We will be playing a different game to review the lessons each day. Tomorrow we will have a Bible bee, Tuesday we’ll do Bible baseball, Wednesday we’ll play Bible pictionary, Thursday we’ll have a Bible bowl and Friday we’ll play Bible Jeopardy. All of these are just done with the supplies we have and questions I’ve made up each day. I’m going to make 25 questions a day. I hope that’s enough.

I like to have a week long project when we do VBS. This year, I painted treasure chests to look old. They represent the hidden treasure parable. Each day we’ll add little items that will help them remember the parable — a pearl for the pearl of great price, a band-aid for the good Samaritan, a sheep for the lost sheep, etc.

Lesson Plan:

Parables for today:
The Kingdom Parables
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
The Parable of the Leaven
The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure
The Parable of the Great Supper

Go to Art: We get to do art first thing each day. This may give me a chance to get some last minute things done. The art session lasts 20 minutes.

Fill out attendance cards. I don’t have attendance charts, so I’ll probably let them put a sticker on the cards each day. These cards are turned in at the end of the week. Next year, we’ll use them to send out invitations.

Pass out Workbooks.

Introduce Vocabulary. Each day there will be 3 new vocabulary words. Today’s words are: parable, kingdom and leaven. We will play a matching game everyday to review the vocabulary words — adding to the list of words each day. I made cards with the word and cards with the definition and put a magnet on the back. The white board in the room is magnetic, so they will get to come to the board and match the cards. They will also write the definition in their workbook.

Tell the parables. They just heard the parable in the auditorium, so it won’t be the first time they’ve heard it today. They should be able to help tell the parable.

Read the little books in the pocket of their workbook. Each day there will be at least one little book that has the scripture (NKJV) for the parable and some pictures. This lesson has 2 books. One has the parables of the pearl, leaven, mustard seed and treasure. The other one has the parable of the great supper.

Memory Work: We’ll be memorizing Matthew 7:24-27. It is the parable of the Wise/Foolish man. Each day we will read it (it is written in the back of their workbook) and they will copy a verse from it. Hopefully, at least some of them will be able to say all 4 verses by the end of the week. There is a chart in the back of their book. Each verse they can say from memory, they will get a sticker to put on the chart. If they get all four stickers they will have a complete picture showing the wise man’s house on the rock.

Do Search and Find in workbook. Each day there will be a little activity for them to do to help them review the parable. The search and find doesn’t give them the words to find. They are given a clue. They must first figure out the clue before they know what word to look for.

Play Bible Bee. It’s not ready yet, but I hope by Tuesday there will be a scoreboard to keep track of who wins.

Songs. We have a song book for the week. I hope to have time to sing songs with them. I’m not sure when that will fit in the lesson plan.

Tuesday — Living Right Parables

The Good Samaritan Song

Day one went well. No one cried wanting to go home. We had 8 kids. I think we’ll be adding one more tomorrow (maybe 2) and another one on Wednesday. Our classroom will begin to be a little cramped at that point. Our classrooms are pretty small.

We put yeast and sugar in warm water to show them what leaven does. It was a great visual. All during class it kept bubbling and bubbling and getting bigger and bigger. The next class up made bread. I think the teacher was going to take it home and bake it for the kids. I wasn’t quite that adventurous.

I’ve never been one to play games in my Bible classes. I think the kids love them. If they right questions are asked, they can be great for review. We played Bible Bee (like a spelling bee) today. Now, I remember why I don’t like games. I don’t like for anyone to miss the question. I want to help them answer it. When they missed the question, they had to sit down and not answer anymore. I find that hard to make them do. They didn’t seem to mind though.

Tomorrow we’ll play Bible baseball. If the weather is nice, I’ll try to take them outside to play. Those kids sat for a solid hour in their seats today. They never complained or acted bored, but I have a feeling I can’t get by with that every day.

We were the first ones to go to art today. They painted flower pots. Tomorrow they will be planting seed in them. I’m not sure what’s planned for the rest of the week.

The filmstrip series we are using is from Gospel Services Their web page doesn’t show the series, but you can give them a call if you’re interested. The filmstrips are very true to the Bible. The artwork is a little outdated, but that’s okay.

Lesson Plan:

Parables for today:
Living Right Parables
The Parable of the Wise/Foolish Man
The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Go to Art:

Fill out attendance cards.

Pass out Workbooks.

Introduce Vocabulary. Today’s vocabulary is priest, Levite and Samaritan

Tell the parables.

Read the little books in the pocket of their workbook. Today we have a little book for the good Samaritan.

Memory Work: They will be copying Matthew 7:25. We need to recite/read the entire passaage.

Fill in the diagram in the workbook. The diagram is 2 intersecting circles. One circle says wise man and the other foolish man. There are 8 words or phrases from Matthew 7:24-27. They are to decide which statements go with which man. If they go with both, they are to put the statement or word in the intersecting part of the diagram.

Play Bible Baseball.

Songs. Yesterday we sang the parable song I wrote. We’ll sing it each day. I’ve added verses for several of the parables. The original version is on my website. The Parable Song
I hope to add the new ones later.

Wednesday — God’s Love Parables

The Lost Parables Song

My teacher/helper wasn’t in class today. She won’t be there tomorrow either. Thankfully, I’ve got a great group of kids. Our class today went smoothly.

We played Bible baseball. I wanted to get them up and out of their seats. I took them outside to play. It was very, very hot. We played underneath the covered drive. I warned them before we went out there that there was a bird’s nest under there too. We needed to be as careful as we could to not scare the momma. She (and dad) have been known to dive bomb anyone out there. I’m sure the birds were terrified, but they were polite and didn’t bother us while we played. As was expected, the boys really got into the game. They wanted to steal bases and tag the runner. I think they enjoyed themselves. I hope they benefited from the review.

Tomorrow we’ll play Pictionary (my version). That will be nice since we can stay inside, but they won’t get to burn some energy off. I should have 10 in class. That’s about all the chairs we can fit around this table. I would love for more kids to come, but 10 will be a perfect number.

Lesson Plan:

Parables for today:
God’s Love Parables
The Parable of the Lost Coin
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Go to Art:

Fill out attendance cards.

Pass out Workbooks.

Introduce Vocabulary. Today’s vocabulary is swine, prodigal, repent

Tell the parables.

Read the little books in the pocket of their workbook. We have 2 books for this lesson. The first one has both the parables of the lost coin and the lost sheep. The 2nd book is of the prodigal son.

Memory Work: They will be copying Matthew 7:26. Some of them are beginning to get the passage memorized. All of them are becoming very familiar with the passage.

Do Activity in the workbook. Today’s activity involves gluing smiley and frowny faces in the right place. For instance: The Lost Coin has 3 statements next to it — the woman had a coin, she lost the coin, she found the coin. They should put a smiley face next to the statement that says she had a coin, a frowny face next to the statement that says she lost the coin and a smiley face next to the statement that says she found the coin. They do this for the lost sheep, the prodigal son and a Christian return to God.

Play Pictionary. We’ll be using words such as sheep, coin, ring, sandal, etc.

Songs.Today’s parable song is the original one I wrote. They seem to enjoy singing it each day. We’ll probably sing all the verses that we’ve done since Monday. The Parable Song

Thursday — End of Time Parables

End of Time Parables Song

Whew! They were a little on the wild side today. Some of them work very quickly when it comes to written work and some of them are a little slower. In a class room that small it’s hard to keep everyone calm down while we’re waiting on the slower ones. Today I let them do the vocabulary scramble while we were waiting. I think that was not such a good idea.

Our game today was pictionary. They enjoyed it, but some had never played it before. They were afraid to make a mistake in drawing. I should’ve done one for them so they could see how it was done. They would draw little tiny pictures on the big white board. We’ll have to have them over to the house to play pictionary again sometime.

Tomorrow we won’t be playing a game. I had planned on doing a Bible bowl, but I’m going to let them decorate their treasure boxes instead. I finally found some puff paint that came in jewel tones. They can add the “jewels” to their treasure box and make it look even more valuable.

We didn’t get to the memory work today. We’ll need to spend a little extra time on it tomorrow.

I’m notorious for making typos in the things I print up for Bible class. I’ve made little booklets with the story in it so they can all read along with me. The one I did for the prodigal son was all messed up. I stapled the pages in the wrong order. Tonight, I (and Jill) made correct ones so they can take home books that make sense.

I also did a mistake in one of the pictures I put in the workbook. We glued the correct picture on top of the wrong one tonight. I don’t know why I don’t check things better before I print them up. I need proof reader.

Lesson Plan:

Parables for today:
End of Time Parables
The Parable of the Dragnet
The Parable of the 10 Virgins

Go to Art:

Fill out attendance cards.

Pass out Workbooks.

Introduce Vocabulary. Today’s vocabulary is virgin, bridegroom, dragnet

Tell the parables.

Read the little books in the pocket of their workbook. There is a book for each of the parables tomorrow.

Memory Work: They will be copying Matthew 7:27.

Do Activity in the workbook. This activity will help reinforce the lesson about the dragnet. There are 2 pictures — one of a good fish and one of a bad fish. Around the fish are good and bad characteristics people have. They will draw a line from the good characteristic to the good fish and the bad characteristic to the bad fish.

Add Puff Paint Jewels to the treasure boxes.

Songs. We’ll sing the parable song about the 10 virgins. I got the words and music to it online today. Sorry, there is no recording yet. If you want to see it, click here: End of Time Parables. They seem to enjoy singing it each day. We’ll probably sing all the verses that we’ve done since Monday. The Parable Song

Friday — Other Parables

This is our last class for VBS. It is amazing how quickly the time flies by. It has been a very busy week, but it has also been lots of fun. We had 6 kids registered for my class. So far, our most kids were on Thursday when we had 11.

Today’s lesson is on the “Other Parables”. I don’t know why some of the parables have been categorized the way they have, except that they’ve got to do it somehow. The two we’ll be studying today are The Parable of the Sower and The Parables of the Wheat and the Tares.

We’ll either play Bible Bee again or do a concentration game with the vocabulary words. We may have time to do both. I’ll put both in the lesson plan just in case.

Lesson Plan:

Parables for today:
Other Parables
The Parable of the Sower
The Parable of the Wheat and Tares

Go to Art:

Fill out attendance cards.

Introduce Vocabulary. Today’s vocabulary is sow (that’s the planting kind, not the pig), tares and hundredfold

Read the little books in the pocket of their workbook. There are books for each of the parables tomorrow.

Memory Work: They are finished copying all their memory work. Some have even said the entire passage from memory. Today we’ll give any others that want to try a chance to say it. They get stickers for each verse they memorize. If they say the whole thing, they will get a ribbon (paper ribbon).

Do Activity in the workbook. Today’s activity is a review of all 14 parables we’ve studied this week. I have divided the parables in to 9 lessons Jesus was teaching. They will have little pictures for each parable that they will glue in the box with the correct teaching. The boxes say things like: Teaches that the church will grow, teaches that the church is valuable, teaches that we must be prepared, teaches that there will be a judgment, etc.

Play Bible Bee and/or Vocabulary concentration

Songs. We’ll sing all the parable songs today.

VBS a Success

We had a great VBS this year. We had 46 children in attendance. That may not sound like a lot to some people, but considering our classroom size and available teachers, it was perfect. Here a few pictures of my class to give you an idea of how it went.

This first picture is of my class. Jill Goad is my helper and she did a great job. I realized how much I needed her the two days she was unable to be there. One of the kids had to leave early Friday, so he’s not in the picture. The t-shirts were made during our art session. They all wore them on Friday.

This picture is of my kids playing vocabulary concentration the last day. We learned 15 vocabulary words (3 each day). They were written on cards and the definition was on another card. Each day some of them had the time to match the definition with the vocabulary word on our magnetic white board. On Friday, we turned them all face down and played concentration.

The next two pictures of of the walls in my room. The first one is of Jesus teaching parables. The parables that we studied were added to that days poster as we progressed through the week. The 2nd one illustrates how Jesus answered the question — Why do you speak in parables?

These last pictures are of the workbook we used in class. Each page had a pocket that the little booklets and stickers for that day were stored in. Each day there was a place to write the definitions to their vocabulary, copy the verse to be memorized and an activity to reinforce the lesson.


4 responses to “Parables of Jesus — VBS

  1. Louise DeBell

    How much are the workbooks in this lesson for VBS? How long will it take to have it sent to my home? Thank you, Louise DeBell

  2. Diana..where do you find the wonderful clip art pictures you’ve used in several of your take home pocketbooks? I love to use clip art!! Thanks so much! Laura Barker

    • Laura, Most of the pictures are from Children’s Bible Cards. They used to be able to be bought through
      Scholastic but not anymore. I really wish they’d make them available again. Some of my pictures are from coloring books published by Standard.

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