It could be used in any setting with children age 2-5 at church, including a preschool Sunday School class or a preschool Children’s Church class. As always, consider your own ministry context and modify it as needed. We have also posted an elementary aged version of this Palm Sunday lesson.
Even More Ideas: To supplement this lesson plan, you might enjoy our Palm Leaf Craft idea and Palm Sunday Coloring page. For an outreach focus, have children complete theseprintable invitation cards to invite others to church for Easter. We also have an another free lesson plan “Jesus Triumphal Entry” by Kara Jenkins if you need even more teaching ideas. For an related video, check out this kid-friendly animated version of the Easter Story.
Bible Story: Jesus Rides Into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday
Scripture: Matthew 21:1-11
Target Age Group: Age 2 – 5 (U.S. preschool ages)
Time: 20 Minutes
Learning Context: Church Preschool Class
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Learning Objectives: After this lesson, the children will demonstrate an understanding of the story by reenacting the story.
- Bible, Matthew 21:1-11
- “Palm Sunday” Story Booklet (PDF)
- Palm leaf paper craft
- “Easter Songs” (PDF) to use to lead the children to sing before the Bible lesson.
- Optional Palm Sunday Coloring page
Palm Sunday Preschool Lesson
Welcome Activity: Welcome activities are things to have out for the children to do as they are arriving for class. These activities will get them engaged as soon as they arrive and will help the transition from their parents.
Have the children color the palm branches. These will be used later in the lesson.
Worship: Easter Songs
Bible Lesson Introduction: Have the children practice waving their palm branches from the Welcome Activity.
Bible Lesson: Read Matthew 21:1-11 (NIRV) aloud to the children. There is also a book that you can print out that has the story along with simple pictures to help the children understand what is being read.
Read the verses (story) to the children. If you are using the print out story, point to the pictures as you read the story so that the children can better understand what you are saying.
1 As they all approached Jerusalem, they came to Bethphage. It was on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent out two disciples. 2 He said to them, “Go to the village ahead of you. As soon as you get there, you will find a donkey tied up. Her colt will be with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them. The owner will send them right away.”
4 This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet would come true. It says,
5 “Say to the city of Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you.
He is gentle and riding on a donkey.
He is riding on a donkey’s colt.’ ” —(Zechariah 9:9)
6 The disciples went and did what Jesus told them to do. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt. They placed their coats on them. Then Jesus sat on the coats. 8 A very large crowd spread their coats on the road. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Some of the people went ahead of him, and some followed. They all shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” —(Psalm 118:26)
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. The people asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus. He is the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Read the story again, but this time have the children wave their palm branches and shout “Hosanna!”
Discuss the Bible Reading: When you are finished reading the story the second time, ask the children the following questions so that you can know they understood it.
“Who was in the story?” Jesus
“Where was Jesus going?” To Jerusalem
“What was Jesus riding on?” A donkey
“What did the people shout?” Hosanna
“What were the people holding?” Palm branches and coats
Bible Lesson Activities : Use the following activities to reinforce the learning goals. If time is short, move on to the evaluation portion of the lesson plan.
Activity: A Parade for Jesus
“When Jesus came into Jerusalem on a donkey it was like He was leading a parade. Let’s pretend like we are there watching Jesus come in and like we are in a parade.”
• Pretend with the children to be in a parade – they can use their palm leaves
• Say things like, “Oh wow! There’s Jesus! Do you see Him?”
Activity: Bible Verse Memorization
“Your king comes to you. He is gentle and riding on a donkey.” Matthew 21:5
Your king: act like you are putting a crown on your head
Comes to you: walk in place
He is gentle: smile
And riding on a donkey: act like riding on a donkey
Matthew 21: hold up 2 fingers on one hand and 1 finger on the other hand
5: hold up 5 fingers
Do this a few times with the children. Make it fun for them to do the motions and say the words. Involving them in active learning is essential for memorization at this age.
Bible Verse Activity: Donkeys
Have the children walk around, while saying the Bible Verse over and over, and act like a donkey.
Evaluation: Have the children reenact the story using their palm branches.