For Christians, Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week, which recognizes a series of events that led up to Jesus's crucifixion, burial and rising from the dead. Palm Sunday celebrates the time that Jesus entered into Jerusalem to much praise and celebration. Use kid-friendly activities that will keep your little ones interested while educating them on this crucial moment in Jesus's life.
Use a children's Bible to read the story of Jesus's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, when the people of the city greeted him, riding on a donkey, by laying palm fronds and clothing before him in reverence. Bible verses that tell the story are Matthew 21: 1-11, Mark 11:1-11 and Luke 19:28-40. You can also read other books to the kids that re-tell the story of the triumphant entry from a different perspective. For kids 4 and older, "Humphrey's First Palm Sunday" by Carol Heyer tells the story of a silly camel who finds himself in the midst of the celebrations when Jesus enters Jerusalem.
Have the kids create a paper donkey puppet to represent the donkey on which Jesus rode into Jersualem. Each child should have a brown paper bag laid flat, upside down, so that the bottom flap is at the top and facing up. Give the kids light brown construction paper to cut out the shape of a donkey snout, as well as donkey ears. Using a non-toxic, children's school glue, paste the top half of the snout to the edge of the brown snout, being careful not to glue the flap to the bag. Add googly eyes and glue the ears to the top corners of the bag. Give the kids three short pieces of brown yarn for the tuft of hair at the top of the donkey's head. The kids can also make a tissue paper palm tree, representing the fronds in front of Jesus's path. Give the kids sheets of brown and green tissue paper that they can tear and ball up into wads to create the tree on construction paper.
Give the children artificial palm fronds and old towels or clothing to recreate Jesus's triumphant entry. Each child will get a turn pretending to walk down a path of palm fronds and clothing while the kids cheer "hosanna!" or sing a familiar praise song. Another idea is to have a praise party with the kids dancing and waving their palm fronds while singing praise and worship music. You could play a version of freeze dance, where the kids must freeze in some kind of worship position when the music stops. Tie several palm fronds together and have a limbo praise contest. The kids must go under the palm limbo stick while giving a word of praise to Jesus.
Have the kids play simple games related to Palm Sunday, such as "Pin Jesus on the Donkey." Draw a large donkey shape out of brown paper and put it up on a wall, then cut out several shapes of a man in a sitting position. To play, each child is blindfolded, spun around and then tries to get "Jesus" as close to the donkey's back as possible. You could also send the kids on a scavenger hunt to find certain items around the room. Instead of listing the items, list a line of scripture from the triumphal entry description, with one word highlighted, which is the main clue.
- Humphrey's First Palm Sunday; Carol Heyer
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