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The Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32)

General Sandtable Guidelines

  1. Open the lid and take out the bins under the table. One bin is for the setting, the other is for the characters and animals.

  2. Allow 5 minutes of free play time before starting structured play.

  3. Try to let your kids be the ones to move the objects as much as possible while adults narrate and lead the conversation.

  4. When the narrator gives a character quote, the person working that character/action figure repeats the quote with extra expression.

Setting & Characters

Setting - Give your kids these instructions but let them make the setting their own as much as possible within these guidelines:

This parable has a family home with a small farm and field.  It has a city area with people. The city is far from the family home.  Near the city there is another farm with pigs.


Characters (choose an action figure for each and assign who will move and speak for each)

  • Dad (outside the family home)

  • Older Son – Miff (in the field outside the family home)

  • Younger Son – Young (outside the family home)

  • A servant (stays with the dad)

  • Wild and Wasteful Friends (in the town)

  • Pigs – on the other farm

The Story

The Story

There once was a family with a father and two sons. One day the younger son (we’ll call him Young) came to his dad and said, “Dad, I know you’re still alive, but I want my inheritance now.”

His Dad said, “Okay, Young if you’re sure about this, I’ll give it to you.” He gives his son the money.

Young takes the money and heads to the city.  He spends all his money fast, partying and buying expensive stuff.  He wastes it fast and realizes that he’s in big trouble.  Things get even worse when there is a famine in the land.

Now Young is practically starving.  He gets a job at a nearby farm feeding pigs.  He’s so hungry that he really wants to eat the pig’s food. But even the pigs won’t share with Young.  He falls asleep in the pig pen.  In the morning he wakes up and realizes something.  “Wait a minute, even the servants in my father’s house have enough food.  What am I doing here?”

So Young gets up and starts slowly walking toward his dad’s house.  He plans to ask his dad if he can be a servant but he’s not sure if his dad will like the plan.

While he is still a long way off his dad sees him and feels compassion.  Young’s dad runs and hugs his son.  Young can’t believe it, “But, Dad, I have sinned so much!  I don’t deserve to be your son,” he cries.

But his Dad surprises Young even more when he says to his servants, “bring our best robe, shoes and a ring for my son.  And let’s have steak for dinner tonight.  Let’s celebrate.  My son was dead, but he is alive again.  He was lost but now he’s found.”

The older son, Miff, is out in the field.  He hears music and dancing and wonders what is going on.  One of the servants tells him, “Your brother came home and there is a celebration.” 

Miff refuses to join the party. He is angry. 

His Dad comes out and asks his son to join the celebration.  “I’ve been here the whole time and I didn’t get a big party,” Miff complains.  “Aren’t you mad that Young wasted that money?”

His Dad explains,“You’ve been with me the whole time and everything I have is yours, but your brother was dead and is now alive.  He was lost but now he’s found.”


  1. Who told this story? (Jesus)

  2. Who does the Dad represent in this story? (God the Father)

  3. What did you notice about the way God loves his kids?

  4. What does the party tell us about how God feels about his children coming to him after they are far away?

  5. Are you ready to talk to the God who loves you like that?

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