A Valued Christian Holiday
Use interactive Palm Sunday lessons and see how quickly even preschoolers learn about this important day. These story and activity tips are simple to implement and a fun, interesting way to teach children about why and how Jesus arrived in Jerusalem.
Duration: 30 – 60 minutes
Objective: Preschoolers learn and understand that Jesus was the fulfillment of Bible prophecy about a Savior. They learn why Jesus was at Passover, and what the meaning of Palm Sunday is. They make a Bible craft – palm branches – and learn to sing two scripture verses from the lesson text. The directions for the craft and songs are given below.
Prior Knowledge: This lesson builds on previous Sunday school lessons about Passover, the coming Messiah, and Jesus’ glorious entry into Jerusalem.
- Bible or text of the New Testament Bible story from John 12:13-15
- Green construction paper
- Palm branch cutouts (made from green construction paper prior to class)
- Wooden hobby-horse (from discount outlet or stores that sell items for a dollar)
- One man’s white T-shirt
- White towels or white sheets
Before the Lesson
Before class, make palm branch cutouts from green construction paper. Fold paper in half, cut an oval shape, and leave a “handle" at the bottom. You need one for each child. Let the children color the palm branches.
After completing the craft, teach the scripture verse songs. For a fun musical activity for kids, teach them these easy-to-learn songs set to the tune of familiar songs.
To the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus"
Hosanna, blessed is he who comes,
In the name of the Lord, in the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the King of Israel, (sing as Is-ra-el)
Hosanna, blessed is he!
Do not be afraid, O daughter of Zion,
Daughter of Zion, daughter of Zion,
See your King is coming now,
Seated on a donkey’s colt.
Choose a child to represent Jesus, and dress him or her in the white T-shirt (robe). Lay a white towel or sheet on the ground, and explain how the people threw their cloaks down in front of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem. Let the child pretend to ride the hobby-horse into Jerusalem while you tell the Bible story. The other children wave their palm branches or lay their cloaks (towels or sheets) before Jesus. Let each child have a turn riding into Jerusalem on the donkey. Alternate telling the Bible lesson story and leading the children in singing the scripture verse songs.
Note: This is a very interactive way to teach a Bible lesson about Palm Sunday, and it works because it engages each of the preschool children’s senses. It is a fantastic gross motor activity, and the kids expend excess energy while learning a Bible story. Using music to teach the scripture increases the preschooler’s recognition and retention skills, so they remember the Bible verses longer.
Have preschoolers sit in a circle and go through the discussion questions and life application section. Review the key points of the story:
- Jesus was the fulfillment of prophecy
- The people recognized Him as king
- They expected a conquering warrior king, not a gentle Savior
- Explain why Jesus was in Jerusalem
- Review the significance of Passover for the Jewish nation
- Explain the meaning of the word Hosanna (save now).
- Why do you think the people were shouting hosanna?
- Why was Jesus in Jerusalem?
- What did his disciples bring for him to ride upon?
Lesson Extension Teaching Activities
Encourage the children to take their palm branches home as a reminder of the lesson. Consider printing the verses they learned to sing and sending the sheets home to practice and have fun singing with their parents.
By using these preschool Palm Sunday lessons, teachers and home educators can teach the Bible story of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem in a simple interactive way. This lesson plan is easily modified to suit any class size.
- Author's own experience as a Christian educator and lay children's minister
- Image: Preschool girl by anissat/Stock xchange under Royalty Free License.