Parents and teachers providing a Christian education often focus on Palm Sunday for children. Palm Sunday is an essential part of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, and activities that help children better understand the story is an essential part of early Christian education.
Palm Sunday for Children
As children learn the story of Jesus, Palm Sunday is an important component of the story that you can reinforce each year. It falls on the Sunday before Easter, and most churches offer special Palm Sunday services as part of Holy Week.
The story of Palm Sunday is told in the Gospel of Matthew, book 21, chapters 1-17 (Matthew 21:1-17). The gospel tells the story of Jesus' triumphant ride into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.
As Jesus and his disciples walked towards Jerusalem, he sent two disciples ahead, telling them to find a donkey and a colt. The disciples brought the animals, laying their cloaks on the donkey so that Jesus could ride. As he rode towards Jerusalem, people laid cloaks and palm branches on the road in front of him, shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David," and "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." When he entered Jerusalem, a huge crowd welcomed him, waving palm leaves and shouting "Hosannah," because they supported Jesus and his message. Arriving at the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus healed the blind and the sick; however, at the same time he aroused the ire and suspicion of the priests, who heard children shouting in the temple area calling out, "Hosanna to the Son of David!"
The role of children in the story enhances kids' understanding of, and interest in, this particular Bible story.
As you share the story of Palm Sunday for children, explain the context:
- Jesus understood that, following God's plan, this was to be his last trip into Jerusalem
- People laid down palms in front of him as a sign of honor
- Jesus' actions including sending disciples ahead for a donkey, and his response to the priests was to point out that what was happening was part of God's promise.
Palm Sunday Activities
In addition to hearing the story and learning its context, children can participate in many different types of activities that focus on this historical day.
Many craft projects can help your children actively participate in Palm Sunday.
- Make palms out of construction paper for children to wave and call out "Hosannah!"
- Provide Palm Sunday coloring pages and cutouts
- Older children may enjoy palm weaving
Books and Stories
Many books and stories can help children gain a better understanding of Palm Sunday, including:
Many other activities can help children learn about Palm Sunday, as well:
- Have children create a short play re-enacting Jesus riding into Jerusalem
- Create puppets or finger puppets to tell the story
- Have children write the story in their own words
- Have them create a Palm Sunday or Easter poem
With a little planning, children can actively participate in Palm Sunday and have fun while learning why it is such an important part of Holy Week.