For some believers of the Christian faith, Palm Sunday falls exactly one week before Easter Sunday. It pays homage to Jesus Christ when he and his disciples enter the city of Jerusalem, an event that’s mentioned in the gospels shared by Matthew, Luke, James, and John. Palm Sunday marks the first day of Holy Week. According to mainstream Christianity practice, it serves as the final week of Lent before entering Eastertide. As most liturgical churches celebrate the occasion, palm branches are blessed and distributed among the congregation.
Sometimes, these palm branches have already been woven into crosses. It was palm branches that were scattered by the crowd in front of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. The weaving of palm branches into crosses is just one of at least twenty awesome Palm Sunday-related activities kids can do. If palm branches aren’t available, there are other trees that have also been known to be used such as box, olive, willow, and yew trees. What’s considered Palm Sunday for some is also referred to as Branch Sunday, Hosanna Sunday, Oshana Sunday, and Yew Sunday. Syriac Christians prefer to use the term “Oshana” or “Hosanna” as these were the biblical words spoken by the crowd while Jesus was entering Jerusalem.
1. Bible Word Search
There are several free and low-cost printable word search puzzles that are Christian-themed and easy for kids to do. If you really want to focus on the events between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, go with word search puzzles that put focus on what Jesus Christ and his disciples did that week. This includes covering his persecution, his death, and his resurrection. Sites like Twinkle offer a collection of great word search puzzles designed for Palm Sunday and any other occasion.
2. Countdown to Easter
Starting on Palm Sunday, begin a countdown leading to the Lord’s Supper, then to Easter Sunday. Among some Christian households, the Easter holiday also includes the famed Easter bunny and all the festivities that surround it. There are also many Christian households that keep the bunny out of it. Either way, what made Easter infamous with the colored eggs was the story about Mary Magdalene told the Roman authorities about the miracle of Jesus rising from the dead, just as he promised. She presented an egg to one of them and after she was scoffed, the egg instantly shifted from its original white shell to a bright red. It was this documented tale that sparked the Ukrainian people to commemorate the occasion by painting eggs. Since then, it has become some really serious business.
For kids, as the countdown to Easter begins, start it off by painting an egg on Palm Sunday, perhaps going with green to mimic the palm leaves that were used that day. On Monday, paint another egg but with a different color. Each new day means each new egg to be painted. By the time Easter Sunday arrives, there should be seven painted eggs ready to be displayed. Perhaps as each egg is painted and dried, they are kept in a basket, filling it up until the final day. In the end, you can also swap the painted eggs with chocolate eggs as a pleasant surprise for the kids when they see their eggs have been replaced by something else.
3. Create a Palm Leaf
Palm trees may be easy enough to come by in some parts of the world. However, in regions that don’t grow this at all, the odds of getting your hands on any palm leaves are pretty slim. So, why not make your own? Although one can go and buy a palm leaf kit, it’s easy enough to just go to a crafts store and grab some cardboard paper, popsicle sticks, and some glue.
For cardboard paper, finding a shade of green that’s as close to a healthy palm leaf as possible is ideal. However, any shade of green that looks like it came from grass or the forest will do just fine. As for popsicle sticks, if you can find a green, great. If not, it’s not like it can’t be colored green with paint or felt markers. Should you need guidance to figure out how to draw out and design a palm leaf, eHow has excellent instructions. If you wish to take it a step further and build a palm tree instead of just the leaf, well, it’s there too. In order to go there, though, you’ll need more supplies.
4. Cross Decorating
Among many Christians, once Palm Sunday has arrived, there’s further focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Starting on Palm Sunday, you embark on designing and decorating a cross with the kids as they get to tap into their creative skills. You can either keep it simple by cutting two cardboard pieces of paper to form a cross or use whatever comes to mind to put something together. If you want something in the form of a kit, those are easy enough to come by on sites like Amazon.
5. Donkey Head Plate
Making a donkey’s head from a paper plate is both fun and easy to do as an activity for kids. Palm Sunday commemorates the day Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. In order to make the donkey’s head, you need a round paper plate as this will be the canvas you’re working on. From a crafts store, you’ll need some construction paper, crafter’s paint, glue, and markers. For the donkey’s eyes, you have the option to either find premade eyes from the craft store or simply draw them in as you put together the head. When doing up the donkey’s head, first paint the back of the plate a color that matches the donkey. Usually, it’s gray.
With the cardboard paper, cut two long and oval shapes that would look like ears belonging to a donkey. These should be a gray color as well or at least a color that matches the head. Also with construction paper, draw and cut out a circle. This should be white or off-white color. Make a point to draw a curve on it, looking like a smile. Glue this circle on the paper plate in a manner that has the curved smile appear as a smile on the plate.
For a nose, you simply fill in two circles near the top part of the circle, above the smile. As for eyes, you can either glue them above the white circle or draw them in. The ears should be glued from behind the plate as it will hold better. This technique will result in a donkey’s face by appearance. However, if you wish to become more creative about it, you can always exercise that imagination and see what you come up with.
6. He Has Risen Paper Craftworks
As an opportunity to explain the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, together make three crosses out of cardboard paper, a large half circle shape, a small half circle shape, and either a paper cutout of Jesus or cut something out that look like a person. On the large half circle shape, glue or tape down the three crosses beside each other without overlapping them.
Leave enough room between the bottom of at least the middle cross so you can fit the smaller half circle shape on top. Don’t glue or tape the smaller circle on as you’ll need to insert the Jesus cutout between these two circle shapes. The idea here is to explain what happened to Jesus when he was crucified and how he went This very simple paper craft is perfect for the Easter season, and it’s a straightforward way to explain the Resurrection to children who may not able to grasp Bible stories or scripture quite yet.
7. Holy Week Wreath
From Palm Sunday until Easter Sunday, this is considered a Holy Week among Christians. Creating a wreath to commemorate the occasion can either be done as a kit ordered from sites like Amazon or from scratch by following the instructions laid out by Wee Little Miracles.
8. Lent Paper Chain Scripture Countdown
As a countdown craft, the lent paper chain begins its run on Ash Wednesday and is designed to be used throughout Lent and Holy Week. From The Littles and Me, there is a great printable that lets you and the kids celebrate the different days, including Palm Sunday as part of the occasion.
9. Palm Leaf Cross Bookmark
You don’t necessarily need palm leaves to make a cross-shaped bookmark. All you need is some cardboard paper, some scissors and either some tape or glue. If you really want to make it look more authentic, you can either go with a leafy green color or color the shade in with a crayon or marker. The cardboard shapes are shaped like long skinny rectangles where one is longer than the other. Simply place one of the rectangles on top of the other, forming a cross resembling what Jesus Christ died on, and either tape it or glue it together. From here, it’s your choice if you want to decorate it even further. Some Christians will write in scripture on the back.
10. Palm Leaf Origami
With some patience, crafty kids can work with the paper to form palm leaves through the technique known as origami. The YouTube tutorial by G Torbz Crafty Channel shows how it’s done and how this can really tap into a child’s creativity level of an object they’ll be proud of once it’s completed.
11. Palm Prints
Instead of palm leaves, why not use your own palms? Using cardboard paper and a marker, have a child place their hands flat on the surface and trace out the shape of it. From there, cut the drawing of the hands out and decorate it however your kid sees fit.
12. Palm Sunday Activity Book
On Teachers By Teachers, there are several activity books featuring the Palm Sunday theme that is sure to be a winner with kids. Between challenging puzzles and coloring opportunities, this should keep a kid busy for more than just a few minutes.
13. Palm Sunday Coloring Book/Page
On featured sites like Get Coloring Pages, there are Palm Sunday-themed coloring pages you can access that are downloadable and printable. Kids do love to color, so what a great way to pass the time.
14. Palm Week Calendar
This seven-day calendar acts as an advent calendar but with a Christian theme spanning from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. There are many Christians who refuse to take part in the bunny-related traditions associated with Easter as they’d rather keep it as a Jesus-only event. What’s great about the Palm Week Calendar concept is it can serve either as a “bunny included” activity or keep what some deem as paganism out of it. On a site like Kapwing, it has an advent calendar creator that lets you design it however you see fit. How you go about this is up to you. Do you let the kids create their own calendar or do you work with them to put this together?
15. Pin the Tail on the Donkey
This is an oldie and usually a birthday party favorite. With this being said, why does it strictly have to be for that event? Why not make this a Palm Sunday activity?
Kids love a good story. What better story to tell than the life of Jesus Christ? Among the Christian community, those who genuinely follow the Son of God understand the importance of reading the Holy Bible as often as possible. They do this so they can stay connected to God and His Word. When Apostle Paul was in prison, he often turned to the bible in order to make sure he stayed the course as a true disciple without straying. The problem with Christianity nowadays is there are too many who’ve strayed from the original teachings laid out by Jesus Christ.
This is why there is so much confusion between Catholicism, Christianity, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormonism, etc. There are too many Christians who only pick bits and pieces from the bible that appease them the most but leave out key parts about God’s Word that also needs to be applied. By encouraging your child to read the bible with you as the two of you go over it together, word for word, and page for page, then you two will develop a better understanding together. Even as an adult, reading the Holy Bible from a children’s point of view may help you understand parts about it you may be struggling with.
One of the biggest excuses Christians use why they don’t read the bible is because it’s too hard to understand. Make sure, however, you’re following a real bible and not the altered versions that have taken away from God’s actual word. This is even warned about in the bible itself. One of the best sites to find such books is Christianbook’s KJV Bibles for Kids. Why KJV? Because, unlike the other English-translated Holy Bible versions, it doesn’t twist God’s Word nor leave any of it out. No other English-translated bible is as thorough nor as accurate as KJV.
What makes this kid’s activity great is full family involvement. First off, a narrator reads the passages from the Holy Bible’s Matthew 21:1-11 as everybody else assumes the role of an actor. If it’s just one parent and one child, this will also work. The idea here is the narrator reads the story and actors act them out. Those actions include using palm leaves to imitate what the people did as Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem.
If you don’t have palm leaves to work with, either just pretend you do or use a suitable prop. For a family of actors wanting to take it a step further, perhaps one member of the family assumes the role of Jesus entering the room and the rest lay out the palm leaves before him. On sites like Amazon and Etsy, there are rideable donkey options if you really want to go all out.
18. Seven Days of Unleavened Bread
Among some Christians, from Friday sundown before Palm Sunday begins until Friday sundown right before Easter Sunday begins marks the Seven Days of Unleavened Bread. During this time frame, no food item containing yeast is to be kept or consumed. This was the charge God gave Moses and the Hebrews when the time came to flee from the Egyptians during the biblical account in Exodus. It was a tradition that is honored so future generations remember the Lord’s actions to save them as His people. While some members of the Jewish community continue to honor this tradition, so have some of the Christians once they understand its significance.
As part of this seven-day run, read the story of Exodus with your child(ren), starting on Palm Sunday with its first chapter, and continue until it reaches the part where the Hebrews managed to escape from the Egyptians after God parted the Red Sea for them. You can also access Exodus Books, which is a great site that teaches more about one of the most important events in human history. What many Christians don’t realize about Jesus Christ is how closely he followed certain occasions God personally assigned the Jewish people with. The Seven Days of Unleavened Bread was one of them, as was the Passover.
19. Seven Reflections Challenge
There are seven things Jesus Christ discusses during Holy Week knowing his time among man as one of them is ending. Those seven things are:
- Forgive others (Reference: Matthew 6:15 and Luke 6:37)
- Heaven is real (many references)
- Care for your parents (many references)
- Express your heart to God (many references)
- Be thirsty for the Living Water (John 4:10-11 and Revelation 7:17)
- Don’t give up. Finish it! (Galatians 6:9)
- Place your life in God’s hands (many references)
On seven cards, write down each of the things Jesus spoke to his followers about. Place these cards, face down, and have your child pick one on Palm Sunday. That becomes the challenge of the day. This challenge does you both good as you work on what the card suggests. If you need help figuring out which scripture says what, go to Bible Hub.
20. The Story of Jesus Entering Jerusalem Sticker
It will be easier to tell the story by using the Hosana Triumphant Sticker Scenes, which is a twelve-piece sticker collection that works out a kid-friendly story about Jesus Christ as he entered Jerusalem. As an activity, using the stickers to tell the story is a hands-on experience that will help even the youngest kid understand what happened and why the event was so important.