See below for resources to use for your family worship time, including a song, coloring page, learning activities activities, teaching materials and ideas for ongoing family fun.
Sing this song together with your kids. Enter full screen and follow the lyrics on the screen.
As the church prepares to enter its most significant celebration with Holy Week and Easter, Palm Sunday is an exciting “kick-off” of sorts. Yet even as we wave palm fronds and prepare to worship, not everyone understands what the meaning behind the activity is. This message offers a simple overview of the triumphal entry, and why it is significant for us.
Our greatest need is to be forgiven of our sins. Jesus came to save, but not always in the way people expected. He came to deliver from sin, but some of the people wanted other things from him. If we are not careful, we can impose our hopes and dreams on Christ. When we do this, we miss the true joy that is to be found in Him alone.
"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" - Luke 18:38
"As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it..." - Luke 18:41
Choose what work best for your family or the amount of time you have.
Palm sunday craft
game: "don't touch the ground
Use this game to get kids talking about living lives of praise for Jesus. Supplies Needed: Bible, green construction paper.
Form groups of 2 or more. Give each group enough pieces of construction paper to have one piece per person, plus one extra. Say: When Jesus came into Jerusalem on a donkey, the people laid some of their clothes in the road to make a path for Jesus. They also took palm branches from nearby trees and laid them on the road.
Establish start and finish lines. Say: In our game, your team’s goal is to get to the finish line without anyone touching the ground. We’ll pretend the paper is the clothes and the palm branches.
Use one team to demonstrate these rules: Only one child can be on a piece of paper at a time. The whole team will start the game with each person standing in line on a piece of paper. The kids will put the extra piece of paper on the floor in front of the line so each of the kids can move forward. Once they’ve all moved forward, the last person picks up the extra piece of paper at the end of the line and passes it to the front again. Although this isn’t a race, they’ll repeat this process as quickly as possible so they can reach the finish line without anyone touching the ground.
After the game, ask: What was difficult about this game? What’s difficult about following Jesus sometimes? Read aloud Matthew 21:6-11. Ask: What can you lay down in your life so you can focus on Jesus? Why does Jesus deserve our attention and praise? Close in prayer.
"It's a parade"
Get noisemakers, flags, whistles, kazoos, clickers, banners, etc. Talk about or show clips of parades. Now have a parade of your own. Be loud. Be quiet. Be silly. Be serious.
Palm Sunday "HangMan"
Play a round of hangman on the marker board using the main point for today’s lesson "Jesus is our Savior King."
Once the kids guess the phrase explain that today we’ll hear the story of Jesus riding into the city of Jerusalem for the last time before he was crucified. We’ll hear about how the people greeted him as he came into the city and why they were so excited to see him.
Minute to Win It
Ask: I want you to think about a person that you would be most excited to see right now. Who would be the person that you would just be so happy to see walk through the door right now? (Allow a few kids to answer.)
Ask: Now, everyone think of their special person and imagine how you would react if you saw them right now. What would you do? (Jump up and down, scream, wave your arms in the air…You might have a couple kids even act it out)
Say: In our story today we are going to hear about how excited people were when they saw a special person walking along the road to the city of Jerusalem. Does anyone want to guess what person might be talking about? (Jesus!)
Say: That’s right! The people were so excited about Jesus! Jesus is our Savior King! We’ll hear more about it in just a minute. This story is in the Bible, in two of the four gospel accounts, Luke and John. In the gospels we read about the life of Jesus while he lived on earth. Before we hear the story let’s practice our MAIN POINT: Jesus is our Savior King!
TELL THE STORY
Watch the video below and/or using the teaching prompts provided to tell the story of Palm Sunday.
Jesus and his disciples were on their way to Jerusalem right before the Passover celebration. Passover was the holiday for the Jews where they celebrated all that God had done when he brought them out of Egypt. Many people came to Jerusalem to the temple for Passover, so the roads were crowded with people. When Jesus and his disciples got to the town named Bethany, Jesus told his two of his disciples to go into the town and bring him a young donkey that was tied up in a certain place.
He said, “If anyone asks you why you are untying the colt tell them, ‘The Lord needs it.” Sure enough, when the disciples were untying the colt a man asked them what they were doing. When they explained that the Lord needed the colt, the man left them alone. They brought the colt to Jesus and laid their cloaks on its back to make a saddle. Then Jesus rode the rest of the way to Jerusalem on the colt. This was to fulfill a prophecy made by Jeremiah in the Old Testament.
Ask: Does anyone know what a prophecy is? (Allow a few kids to answer)
Say: A prophecy is kind of like a prediction. There were many prophecies made about Jesus hundreds of years before he came to earth. This shows that God had a plan to send his son to us long before it happened.
Tell the Story: Well, as Jesus was riding up the rode to Jerusalem a lot of people started to recognize him. Some of them knew him from when he raised Lazarus from the dead. Others had heard of his great miracles of healing the sick. Everyone was glad to see him. They were so glad that they started laying their coats in the rode for him to ride on as he passed. Some of them even began waving palm branches. Listen to what God’s Word says that they said to Jesus as he passed:
Read Enthusiastically: When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:37-39)
Everyone was glad to see Jesus! ...Well, almost everyone. The Pharisees were also there watching Jesus ride by but they weren’t glad to see him at all. You see they were mad that Jesus was getting so much attention. They were the religious leaders of the day so they thought they deserved all the attention and praise! They even said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” But Jesus said to them, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Ask: Why do you think Jesus said that? (allow kids time to answer)
Tell: Jesus knew that he was worthy of the people’s praise. Even though the Pharisees didn’t understand who he was, all of history had been leading up to the time when the Messiah (Jesus) would come to redeem God’s children and all of creation.
Now when Jesus got closer to Jerusalem, the Bible says he wept.
Ask: What does it mean to weep? Why do you think Jesus was weeping?
Tell: Jesus was weeping because the people, even though they were praising him didn’t really understand who he was. They thought Jesus was coming to Jerusalem as king. Jesus is a King, but the people were expecting an earthly king, one who would rule the people instead of Rome. But Jesus is our heavenly King who has come to save us from our sins. Jesus wept because he wished the people understood this.
MAIN POINT: Jesus is our Savior King!
Check out the video below for a quick explanation on the significance of Jesus riding in on a donkey.
FAMILY ACTIVITIES (HOLY WEEK)
Check out the activities below for fun ways to make the events of Holy Week interactive for your family.
spy wednesday - "Don't wink at me" (GAME)
Use this game of strategy to get kids talking about how Jesus willingly gave himself up for us.
Supplies: Bible, index cards, pen, tasty snack
Ahead of time, prepare your game cards. You’ll need enough index cards for each child to have one. For every 5 participants, draw an eye on one index card. Draw a stick figure on the rest of the cards.
Read aloud Matthew 26:17-20.
Say: Let’s pretend to sit around a table like the disciples did for the Last Supper. (Have the kids sit in a circle on the floor.) During the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples that he knew one of them would betray him. Let’s play a game to help us think about betrayal.
Give each person an index card. Have them privately look at the pictures on their cards, and tell them to keep the pictures on their cards a secret.
Say: In our game, you’re either a betrayer or you’re one of the other disciples. Either way, remember to keep who you are a secret.
If you have an eye on your index card, then you’re a betrayer and you’ll try to get other players out of the game by winking at them. You’ll want to be sneaky about winking at others in the group so you don’t get caught.
If you have a stick figure on your index card, then you’re one of the other disciples and you’ll try to figure out who the betrayer is by looking for a player who is winking at others. If someone winks at you, you’ll silently count to 10 before you lay down your card. Remember not to reveal to the others who the betrayer is.
Serve a snack and start the game. (The snack gives kids something to do while they play and serves as a distracter to help the betrayers get going with winking.) Play until all the betrayers are found out or all of the non-betrayers are “winked” out of the game. If time allows, play several times, each time switching who the betrayers are.
Ask: Did you feel betrayed by someone in this game? Encourage kids to explain what they feel and think about when they feel like someone has betrayed them.
Read aloud Matthew 26:21-25. Then ask: Why do you think Jesus let himself be betrayed? How does what Jesus did show his love for us?
MAUNDY THURSDAY - FAMILY THREEFOLD COMMUNION
Check out our Holy Week Worship guide for instructions on leading a 3-Fold communion service with your family to re-enact the Last Supper.
For an additional layer of meaning, you can hold a traditional Jewish seder meal for your dinner portion. See the guide below for instructions on how to hold your own family Threefold Communion Service + Seder Meal.
good friday - interactive prayer walk
Use this interactive prayer walk to help kids reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice.
Supplies: Bible, paper towel tubes, packing paper, string, soil, seeds, “Coin” handout, pens, scissors, glue sticks, red fabric/paper, fabric pens
Set up the following destinations ahead of time, and dim the lights before kids arrive.
Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane. Read aloud Matthew 26:36-39, 42-44. Have kids cut two-inch sections from the paper towel tubes and then wrap packing paper around them using string so they’re open on one side and closed on the other. Have them stuff soil into the tubes and plant one seed for each fear or worry they currently have. They’ll offer these things up in prayer to Jesus as they learn to trust and wait on Jesus, knowing Jesus understands them.
Jesus is betrayed and arrested, and then denied by Peter. Read aloud Matthew 26:47-50. Have kids write or draw regrets on the back of paper coins after they’ve cut them out. Say: Even Jesus’ good friend did something he regretted. Read aloud Matthew 26:69-75. Have kids write “forgiven” on an equal number of coins. Have them confess to Jesus as they glue the “forgiven” coins over the other coins, covering up the regrets. Invite them to commit to follow Jesus as they hold the “forgiven” coins in their hands.
Jesus is tried, mocked, crucified, and buried. Paraphrase what happened to Jesus after he was arrested and until he was buried (from Matthew 26:57-67; 27:11-61). Have kids cut out red fabric hearts as they think of ways they’ve received grace from Jesus. Ask kids to think of specific people they can show grace and love to and pass it along. Have them write the names on the hearts with fabric pens and keep the hearts with them throughout the upcoming week. Encourage kids to take out the hearts when they’re struggling to show grace or love to those people and pray, asking Jesus for help.
holy saturday - "Look at the light" (craft)
You likely have many traditions for Easter Sunday, but check out the PDF below if you're looking for a few more creative ideas to engage your kiddos in scripture (with some fun along the way). Included is a scavenger hunt, including items you likely have laying around your house, and a jelly bean snack with poem to explain the Gospel story.
It Takes a Village
Faith formation in children is a massive undertaking. While parents are the primary disciple-makers of their kiddos, we're here to let you know you're not alone.