Use this lesson outline to teach preschoolers and early elementary students about Jesus’s triumphal entry on Palm Sunday.
Editor’s Note: This lesson was adapted from Route 52.
You can combine this elementary lesson with others in the series:
Scripture: Matthew 21:1-11
Share the Bible Story
As an introduction, invite children to name someone famous.
ASK: How would you feel if this person visited our church today? What kinds of things might we do to get ready for the visit?
SAY: Today, we will read about an important visit from an important person. Listen to find out who came to visit and what the people did.
READ: Matthew 21:1-11 with great expression.
- How was the story different from what you thought it might be?
- What would you do to get ready if you knew Jesus was coming to visit our town?
- Why might we decide that Jesus is the Son of God after hearing this story? (He knew about the donkey; people called Him blessed.)
Materials: Large sheet of paper, rolled-up blanket (or small section of material) for each child, paper palm branches, rope (for leading imaginary donkey), balloon for each child, string for each balloon, markers
ASK: In our story, the people called Jesus “blessed.” What words do we use to tell Jesus how special He is?
Talk about praise words. List ideas on a large sheet of paper as you talk together. Use discussion questions such as: What do people say to thank or praise one another? What do people say to you to praise you or thank you? What might we say to God?
Give each child a balloon. Let children blow up their balloons. Some might need help. Tie a string on each balloon. After discussing praise words, print each child’s name and praise ideas on a balloon.
Hand each child a blanket that is rolled up. Distribute plain paper palm branches.
SAY: Today we will pretend to be part of the crowd welcoming Jesus to Jerusalem.
Have the class line up on both sides of the room. Prepare the scene and ask the children to use their imaginations to see Jesus and the donkey. Choose a child to lead the donkey. (Have the child slowly walk down the center of the room, holding a rope over the shoulder as though leading a donkey.)
As the child leads the donkey, the class (the crowd) will unroll blankets or lay down the palm branches for the child and donkey to walk on.
SAY: “Blessed is the one who comes from the family of David!”
After the sentence is read, invite the children to add their own praise words (listed earlier). They can wave palm branches and balloons. Then, set the balloons aside.
A florist can supply greenery that resembles palm branches.
Serve pudding cups.
Share What We’ve Learned
Gather everyone in a circle to talk about what they have been doing and learning. Use the aims for this lesson as an outline for the kinds of questions you ask.
- What did the people in today’s story do to praise Jesus, the Son of God? (waved palm branches, sang “Hosanna!”, treated Jesus like a king)
- What words did they say to praise Jesus? (Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.)
- What can you do to praise Jesus, God’s Son? (pray, sing, draw, write)
- What words can you say to praise Jesus? (Recall praise words mentioned earlier)
End the session by singing songs that praise Jesus.