The Story of Jonah and the Whale for Kids

The Story of Jonah and the Whale for Kids page has been created in order to help teachers and parents introduce their children to the Jonah and the Whale story in the Bible. It summarizes the key events of the story of Jonah and the big fish, which takes place in the Book of Jonah.

The page begins with the Story of Jonah for Kids, which has been especially written for children, providing them with an easy-to-understand version of Jonah and the Whale story for kids. This is then followed by ten questions that are often asked by children when studying the story of Jonah and the Whale, together with the answers.

Finally, we showcase 3 of our most popular Jonah and the Whale activities, together with a link to the other Jonah and the Whale printables in the series for teachers and parents.

The story of Jonah and the Whale is one of the most important Bible stories for kids because it teaches us that it is always important to listen to God and do the right thing, even when we are scared or unsure. This is because God is always with us and is there to help us along the way.

Story of Jonah for Kids

Once upon a time, in the land of Israel, there was a man called Jonah. God loved Jonah, because he was a good person, and He had a special plan for him.

One day, God spoke to Jonah, telling him that he wanted him to go to the city of Nineveh and tell the people who lived there to stop being wicked.

Jonah and the Whale for Kids - Jonah

However, Jonah was very scared to go to Nineveh, as he knew the people there were not at all nice. So instead of going to Nineveh, he decided to run away. He thought he would be able to hide from God’s plan.

Instead of going to Nineveh, Jonah went in the opposite direction. He went to the harbor and found a ship going to Tarshish.

Then, as the ship sailed away, a strong wind started blowing, and the waves grew bigger and scarier.

Jonah and the Whale for Kids - Ninevah or Tarshish

The waves crashed and the wind howled and everyone aboard the ship was scared. The sailors all prayed to their gods for help, but this only made the storm get worse.

The sailors soon realized that someone onboard must have angered their god, so they decided to cast lots to find out who was to blame. They soon found out it was Jonah and he told them that he was running away from God’s plan.

The sailors were now very worried, so Jonah told them to throw him into the sea in order to calm the storm.

Reluctantly, the sailors threw Jonah overboard, and as soon as he hit the water, the storm calmed down.

Jonah and the Whale for Kids - Jonah in the water

Almost immediately, a big fish, like a whale, swam up and swallowed Jonah whole.

It was dark, smelly, and very uncomfortable inside the belly of the whale. Jonah felt sorry for disobeying God and prayed to Him for forgiveness. He also promised to do what God had told him to do.

Jonah and the Whale for Kids - Jonah in the belly of the big fish

Jonah now realised he had made a huge mistake in running away from God.

After three long days and nights inside the whale, the big fish finally spat Jonah out onto dry land.

Jonah was grateful to be alive and promised to go straight to Nineveh and deliver God’s message.

Jonah and the Whale for Kids - Jonay is spat out of the big fish

He walked through the big city of Nineveh and announced to the people there to stop doing wicked things. And amazingly, they listened!

The people of Nineveh listened to Jonah’s message and began to change their ways. They stopped being proud and arrogant, and began to be good, humble people who were kind to one another.

Jonah and the Whale for Kids - The City of Nineveh

Once God saw the people of Nineveh had repented, He decided not to punish them.

Jonah felt a little upset, because he wanted God to punish these wicked people. However, God explained to Jonah the importance of prayer and forgivingness.

He told Jonah He is a loving and forgiving God who wants people to turn away from their wrongdoings.

Jonah and the Whale for Kids - Jonah praying for forgiveness

Jonah learned an important lesson about listening to God and obeying His commands. He also understood that God’s love is for everyone, even those people who make mistakes.

Questions about the Story of Jonah and the Whale for kids

Below are ten of the most common questions that children may have about the Story of Jonah and the Whale for kids. This section can be used by teachers and parents of younger children as a basis to discuss the Jonah and the Whale Bible story further.

Alternatively, these questions and answers provide older children with some more facts about the story of Jonah and the Whale. They will then be able to test this knowledge via the Jonah and the Whale Online Quiz or through the Jonah and the Whale WebQuest. Oh, and don’t forget to check out the Jonah and the Whale Jigsaw Puzzle.

Jonah’s story is told in the Book of Jonah, in the Old Testament.

The Book of Jonah, contains four chapters, and forty-eight verses.

Jonah was a reluctant prophet and servant of God who was sent to the heathen city of Nineveh with a message of repentance.

The Bible tells us that Jonah’s father was Amittai.

The Bible does not specifically tell us who Jonah’s mother was, but Bible scholars generally speculate that it was the woman from Zarephath who built a room for the prophet Elijah to stay in.

Jonah was told by God to go to the city of Nineveh, but Jonah was too scared to go there and so instead he headed for Tarshish.

However, Jonah never reached Tarshish due to the fact he was thrown overboard by the sailors on the ship he had sought passage on and was then swallowed up by a great fish.

Eventually, having seen the error of his ways, Jonah did go to the city of Nineveh, as he had been told.

The Bible does not specify the type of fish that swallows Jonah, but does tell us that it was a huge fish.

In the West, the fish is popularly described as being a whale, despite the fact that a whale is a mammal and not a fish at all.

The reason for this discrepancy might be because of the translation of the original Hebrew text of Jonah, which describes the creature as “dag gadol”, literally “great fish”. It is likely that because at the time the Book of Jonah was written, whales had not yet been classified as mammals (they would not be classified as such until the nineteenth century), “great fish” would have been a logical way to describe them.

The Bible tells us that Jonah was in the belly of the big fish for 3 days.

No. The Bible tells us that Jonah lived in the belly of the big fish for 3 days and was then spat out alive onto dry land.

The Bible tells us that Nineveh was spared God’s wrath because the people repented.

Eventually, many years later in 612 BC, the city of Nineveh was destroyed by the combined forces of the Medes and Babylonians.

Jonah and the Whale Activities

Coloring Sheets & Story

Noah's Ark Coloring Pages
  • $3.00
  • 8 coloring pages
  • N/A

Aimed at younger children, this Jonah and the Whale Coloring Pages and Story Book Printable makes the perfect no-prep activity. Each coloring sheet tells part of a story, so when the kids have finished, they will have created their very own bible story book.


David and Goliath Puzzle Pack
  • $3.00
  • 2 puzzles
  • Answer Key Included

This Jonah and the Whale Word Search and Crossword Activity Pack makes the ideal no-prep activity for your Bible Class, Sunday School, Children’s Church or as a homeschool lesson. Each puzzle comes with a gray-tone version and an answer key.


David and Goliath Activity Worksheets Pack
  • $7.00
  • 34 activity sheets
  • N/A

This Jonah and the Whale Activities Pack comprises four of our popular products, but at almost half the price. Included are the Coloring Sheets and Story Activity, the Bible Character Posters, the Activity Worksheets, and a Printable Booklet.