Good Shepherd Learning Activity and Craft

Today I'm posting an activity you can do with children to teach them the story of the Good Shepherd. After you have done it with them several times, they should be able to do it on their own as kind of a Catholic Montessori activity. My preschoolers love this! And the best part is- I'm going to provide you with the necessary printables and directions to make your own set!.

How to use  your Good Shepherd Set-The directions are below. What's in red you say to them, and what's in parenthesis you "act out" for them using the new Good Shepherd set you're going to craft yourself :-)
(Based on John 10 and Luke 15)

"This is the Good Shepherd, and these are his sheep" (hold up coordinating pieces and set them inside the fence as you talk) "The Good Shepherd always enters through the gate." (bring the shepherd in through the gate) "The sheep know his voice. He calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out" (Take out shepherd, and take out the sheep one at a time behind the shepherd. Have him call them by your kid's names. For example: "Come on Lydia!" (bring a sheep out) "Come along Julian!" (bring out the second sheep). "When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice." (Walk the shepherd around to other side, and have the sheep follow him one at a time.) "A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." (Continue with the shepherd around with the sheep following, and have him bring them back inside the fence) "I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me." (hold up the Shepherd) "The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (Lay the Shepherd on his side, using his body to close the fence and keep the sheep in- shown below) "I am the Good Shepherd. I know my sheep, and my sheep know me- Just as the Father know me and I know the Father- and I lay down my life for the sheep." (Now put one of the sheep outside the fence at the length of your arm) "And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd. If a shepherd has 100 sheep and one of them gets lost, will he leave the others and go in search of the lost one." (Have the shepherd go and find the lost sheep). "And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders rejoicing! And when he comes home, he says 'Rejoice with me because I have found my sheep which was lost' and all the sheep are filled with joy! They are all together again with the Good Shepherd." (Put them all back inside the fence along with the shepherd.)

 (Demonstration of the Good Shepherd "laying down his life" 
for his sheep. And yes, he was happy to pose like this for me.)

Then ask them questions about the story:
-"Who is this? What kind of animal does God say that we are like sometimes? Who's voice do the sheep listen to? Who's voice should we listen to? Who is our Good Shepherd?"

If you're following along with Catholic ABC's, the first quarter will concentrate on The Good Shepherd. I will be posting the preschool script and class layout tomorrow, which will include needing this set, or something similar.

How To Craft Your Own Good Shepherd Set- I designed these printable sheep and the shepherd for my printable nativity set. When you click on the links to the files below, download them before you print because otherwise they print the wrong size. Trust me on this.

Free Printables:

All you do is print, color, cut, and then glue them around toilet paper tubes with a glue stick. It's that easy! You can make as many sheep for your set as you want. I would say one for each child you're teaching, but you need at least 2. Now for making their little pasture with a fence.

Supplies Needed for Pasture:
  • Foam Board (from the Dollar Tree. $1)
  • Green Paper
  • Glue Stick 
  • Something for "hole poking" (I used a corn on the cob holder)
  • Pipe Cleaners (also from the Dollar Tree. $1)
  • School Glue 
  • Scissors

Make Your Pasture:
  1. Trace a circle onto your foam board and green paper using a mixing bowl, and cut them out. It will be easier to cut the foam board using a box cutter if you have one on hand.
  2. Glue the green paper circle onto your foam board circle with a glue stick.
  3. Poke holes around the outside edge of the "pasture" for the fence. Leave an opening for the sheep to come in and out. (see pictures below)
  4. Cut the pipe cleaners into thirds and insert them into the holes for the fence. You can put one drop of glue on each hole before inserting the pipe cleaner for a permanent hold.
When poking your holes and inserting your pipe cleaners, go all the way around the circle putting them side by side first, like this:

Then poke holes in between each section of fence and insert a second layer of pipe cleaners, so that the fence pieces appear to cross each other. Don't forget about leaving your opening!

Now you're ready to start teaching your kids about the Good Shepherd! Come back tomorrow to get the preschool script that coordinates with this set! I'm so excited about this preschool curriculum!

Hope your kids enjoy this set! Let me know if you make this, or better yet, send me pictures! Getting pictures is my favorite! :-)

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  1. This is so great! and I love that I can just print it out and color! This will be a great activity to do with my son while my daughter is in school. thank you so much!

  2. This is fantastic! I'm sad that my kids are older.....although I'm going to show it to my daughter (9 yrs old) and she may want to make it anyway!

  3. Wow, did you make this on your own? Impressive. Now I'm asking myself why I spent $300 for a preschool curriculum from CHC!

  4. Lacy, you're awesome. this is beautiful, and so true to the Good Shepherd story. we will love making these crafts and telling the story. It's the epitome of Christ and I'm sure we'll re-tell this story for many years to come. thank you.

  5. Are you familiar with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd? My children attend the Atrium and this is very similar to one of the presentations the children are given. So nice to have an "at home" version of the materials they use in the Atrium. Looking forward to your future posts!

  6. LOVE this we don't have foam board at our dollar store but i have will pick some up this weekend!

  7. Thank you soo much Lacy!
    I've been wanting some direction and ideas lately with what I can do with my 4 year old amidst my other kiddies. This is super and will do just nicely!
    I didn't have access to foam board so I made my own, with layers of hard cardboard, bubble wrap and a green foam mat to cover and brown felt around the edges. I poked the piper cleaners in and secured with some hot glue. I got a bit carried away with my pipe cleaner fence but not to worry! The children loved interacting with their 'Good Shepherd' game.
    Many thanks and God Bless,

  8. Oh, this is such a cute idea, and such a fun alternative to the super complicated to make/expensive to buy Montessori lessons.

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Thanks for your comments! They're the icing on my cake ;-)