Parades are fun and exciting – this simple preschool lesson will teach young children about Palm Sunday. The famous day when rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. This Bible story is sometimes called the triumphant entry, you can find it in Luke, Matthew, Mark, and John.
It could be used in any setting with children age 2-5 at church, including a preschool Sunday School class or a toddlers Children’s Church class. As always, consider your own ministry context and modify it as needed.
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, but can be extend thorough additional ideas listed below
Learning Context: Church Preschool Class
Learning Objectives: After this lesson, the children will demonstrate an understanding of the story by reenacting the story.
Printable Materials from Our Website:
- All these items are included in the combined lesson PDF above.
- “Palm Sunday” Story Booklet (PDF)
- Palm Sunday Coloring pages
- Palm Leaf Craft idea – safety scissors, green construction paper, marker for the teacher to draw guide lines for making the cuts
- “Easter Songs” (PDF) to use to lead the children to sing before the Bible lesson.
If you are teaching older children, you may glean some helpful ideas from our elementary aged Palm Sunday Lesson you can also show a video version of the Palm Sunday Story.
Preschool Lesson for Palm Sunday
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.
As the children enter, have them begin working on the paper leaf craft. This is a scissor activity so be prepared with child safety scissors and marked construction paper.
Worship: Easter Songs
Bible Lesson Introduction: Have the children practice waving their palm branches. They can shout “Hosanna” or sing along with their worship songs.
Bible Lesson: Read Matthew 21:1-11 (NIRV) aloud to the children. Alternately, you can read from the Psalm Sunday storybook linked above.
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
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.
Have the children walk around, while saying the Bible Verse over and over, and act like a donkey. Say – even the donkey was happy to see King Jesus coming!
Evaluation: Have the children reenact the story using their palm branches.