How to Teach Kids about Palm Sunday

Centuries ago, crowds waved palm branches and shouted “Hosanna!” as the promised Messiah rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt. Days later, large crowds cried out for his tortuous execution. What went wrong? NOTHING! Jesus accomplished exactly what he planned all along by laying down his perfect life to save sinners like you and me. He is the Savior King!

You can help children understand and celebrate the meaning of Palm Sunday with a variety of play-based activities in your home or church. Most of the ideas below are adapted from our FREE Palm Sunday Activity Guide, The Savior King!, which is available in English and Spanish on our Resources page. You may choose to spread the activities throughout the week before or after Palm Sunday or combine multiple activities for a Palm Sunday party. Have fun celebrating the wonder and hope of Jesus, our awesome Savior King!

Palm Branch Craft for Kids

Prepare: green paper or palm branch template, scissors, craft supplies

Say: What are some ways we use plants? (eating, landscaping, architecture) We’re going to learn a special way people long ago used palm branches to celebrate the arrival of King Jesus. We’re going to make palm branches to help us tell the story together.

Do: Using the provided template, have each child make a palm branch by decorating the palm branch and cutting it out. (For younger children, cut out the leaves ahead of time.) If you will not have sufficient time for this craft, simply give the children pieces of green paper to use as palm branches when you act out the story during the Bible lesson.

Palm Sunday Bible Lesson!

Prepare: Bible, picture of a donkey or toy donkey, pretend palm branches (from craft above), coats/ sweaters/ shirts or napkins (one per child if possible)

Idea: Make this lesson more interactive by having the children listen closely and pretend to put a crown on their head every time they hear you say the word “KING.”

Say: If the greatest KING of all time was coming to visit our town, how do you think he would arrive? Long ago, God promised to send a mighty Savior KING who would rescue people from their greatest problem ever. He made a special promise that this Savior KING would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. (Read Zechariah 9:9 and show a picture of a donkey.) Many years later, Jesus made it super obvious that he is the Savior KING by doing exactly what God had promised. He was on his way to Jerusalem where he would die for our sin, when he told two of his disciples to go to the village and find a donkey tied up with a colt. He told them to tell the owner that the master needed them. They brought the donkey and colt to Jesus, put their coats on them, and then Jesus started to ride. We’re going to act out what happened next!

Do: Give each child a shirt, blanket, or napkin and read Matthew 21:7-8. Have the children spread out the shirts as if on a “road.” Some children may choose to also put their palm branch on the road. Read Matthew 21:9. Have the children pretend to stand on the side of the road shouting “Hosanna!” and waving palm branches. If possible, sing a “Hosanna!” praise song together while waving pretend palm branches.

Say: The people stood and shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David!” They knew that Jesus was the KING God had promised to send. “Hosanna” means “Hooray! The Lord saves!” They were excited to see Jesus and praise him, but they were confused about who he was. They hoped he would be a great KING who would rescue them from their enemies. Jesus would rescue them, and he is a KING, but not in the way they thought. Jesus is the Savior KING. He had come to earth to rescue people from sin, the greatest problem of all. Later that same week, those same people would be shouting for Jesus to die on a cross. He would die, but all as part of God’s plan to bring all of us close to God. After he died, Jesus came back to life! Today, he’s living in heaven as the greatest KING ever. (Read Philippians 2:9-11.) Jesus is the Savior KING and he deserves to be honored and obeyed by everyone and everything. The first part of honoring Jesus as your Savior and KING is believing your sin is against him and that he really took the punishment for your sin by dying on the cross and coming back to life. Someday everyone who believes in Jesus as their Savior from sin will live with KING Jesus forever and ever. If you have already believed in Jesus as your Savior KING, the way that you think, talk, and act should show how much you love Jesus. Do you honor Jesus as your Savior KING?

Respond: Pray together, thanking God for Jesus, the Savior King. Invite children who want to know more about believing in Jesus as their Savior to come and talk further with you.

Palm Sunday Praise Word Scramble!

Prepare: Bible, whiteboard/marker or paper/pen, Palm Sunday Bible Lesson Video (optional)

Say: On Palm Sunday, the huge crowd used a special word to praise Jesus as he rode into town on a donkey. We’re going to play a game and learn about some more praise words from the Bible! I’m going to write mixed up letters from Bible praise words and you have to unscramble them to guess each word.

Do: Write scrambled praise words from the Bible on a whiteboard or paper and have children try to unscramble them. Then have one child look up the Scripture reference for each word (for younger children, have a bookmark in your Bible they can open to so you can read the verse). Using the definitions, explain what each praise word means. This will help kids develop a language of praise and also recognize praise when they see these words in the Bible or in worship songs.

Praise Words:
ANHOSAN (HOSANNA) — Hooray! The Lord saves! (Read Matthew 21:9.)
RIPASE (PRAISE) — to make much of God (Read Psalm 119:171.)
JALLUHELAH (HALLELUJAH) — a shout of joy, praise, or gratitude (Read Revelation 19:1.)
SOWEEMA (AWESOME) — an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, and fear (Read Psalm 66:5.)

Idea: You can make this activity super easy by watching the 9 minute “Palm Sunday Bible Lesson” video below. This video includes the praise word scramble idea as well as several praise songs for kids to sing along with as they wave the palm branches they made earlier.

Palm Sunday Memory Verse!

Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Prepare: Bible, Mark 11:9b Coloring Page, art supplies

Say: What words have you heard at church or at home that people use to worship Jesus? Maybe you’ve heard “hallelujah” or “praise” or “gloria.” Those are words that tell Jesus how wonderful he is. I’m going to read a Bible verse with a special praise word in it. Listen and then tell me what the praise word is.

Do: Read Mark 11:9b from your Bible and from the coloring page. Discuss the questions below to consider the meaning of the verse while you decorate the verse coloring page below.

Discussion Questions:

  • What praise word did you hear? (Hosanna) “Hosanna” means, “Hooray! The Lord saves!”
  • Why did the people say Jesus “comes in the name of the Lord”? (They believed Jesus was sent from God because he was keeping God’s promise by riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.)
  • The people thought Jesus was coming to save them from their enemies, but what did Jesus really come to save people from? (Sin. It separates people from God and is much worse than any other problem or enemy.)
  • What other words can you use to use to praise Jesus? (Answers will vary.) Let’s use some of those words to praise Jesus right now. (Take turns praying sentence prayers praising Jesus for being the Savior King.)

Palm Sunday Praise Time!

Prepare: Smartphone or other audio device, praise songs.

Do: Sing along with these music videos as you praise Jesus, the Savior King with your family!* If you want to use these videos in church or another group setting, you can purchase the video and group viewing license for Yancy Music at worshiphousekids.com.

*YouTube rules specify that content on the site should only be accessed for personal, non-commercial use except where the owner has given prior written consent. This means you may use these suggested YouTube music videos with your family, but should ensure you have proper permission from the video owner prior to showing it in your church or other group setting.

Idea: You can even make up your own songs to praise Jesus the Savior King! In the video below, my kids and I will show you how to sing an OLD song and a NEW song at the same time! Using the familiar tune, God is So Good, children will learn how to add new words, new motions, and even new music to praise God the King. This is simple way to praise God with kids in family devotions, Sunday School or anywhere else you teach kids about God.

How to Teach Kids about Palm Sunday

There are lots of simple and meaningful ways to teach kids about Palm Sunday. So, dive in and have fun! I hope you’ll enjoy a meaningful Palm Sunday with the children in your home and church! For even more Palm Sunday activities and FREE printables, download our FREE Palm Sunday Activity Guide, The Savior King! And if you’re also planning ahead for Easter, check out the FREE Easter lessons, games, and activities on our Easter Resources page.

Nathan Hamilton
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