The Palm Sunday Story & 15 Activities to Keep Kids Engaged

Palm Sunday is only the beginning of the Easter story, and this is how you can introduce the event to kids in a fun way.

Updated February 24, 2024
Detail of person participating in the celebration of Palm Sunday before Easter

The Palm Sunday story is the beginning of the Easter story. Teaching Palm Sunday to kids can be a meaningful way to start your resurrection day celebrations as you show little ones what the meaning of the celebration is all about.

As a parent or a Christian educator, this story is easy to tell and fun to explore with a few activities and a gentle review of what took place on that important day. 

Palm Sunday Story for Kids

Children's religious program

The story of Palm Sunday is told in all four gospel books of the New Testament - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In Matthew chapter 21, we get one of the more detailed tellings of the story of Jesus's triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. 

As Jesus and his disciples walked toward Jerusalem, he sent two disciples ahead, telling them to find a donkey and a colt. Upon arrival, the disciples found the two animals just as Jesus said they would.

The disciples brought the animals, laying their cloaks on the donkey so that Jesus could ride. As he rode towards Jerusalem, people laid cloaks and palm branches on the road in front of him, shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David," and "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord."

Upon entering Jerusalem, some people asked "Who is this?" Some of the crowd answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Arriving at the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus drove out the people who were buying and selling in the house of the Lord. He healed the blind and the sick; however, at the same time he aroused the ire and suspicion of the priests, who heard children shouting in the temple area calling out, "Hosanna to the Son of David!"

This would all take place just a few days from the charges set against Jesus and the trial that would occur the night before his death. Christ knew his crucifixion must take place and that the Son of Man must face death. His death and resurrection would save the lost. He first entered Jerusalem on a humble donkey, but he will one day return as King. 

Need to Know

The role of children in the story can enhance kids' understanding of and interest in this particular Bible story.

Providing Context for the Palm Sunday Story

Palm sunday. Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey

As you share the Palm Sunday children's story, be sure to explain the context. Little ones never have a shortage of questions, and being prepared is the best way to make sure they get clarity about the event. 

  • Jesus understood that in following God's plan, this was to be his last trip to Jerusalem.
  • People laid down palms in front of him as a sign of honor.
  • Jesus's actions, including sending disciples ahead for a donkey and his response to the priests, were to point out that what was happening was part of God's promise.
  • Jesus was coming to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, though he knew this would be his final earthly partaking in the tradition.
  • Jesus's entry into Jerusalem on a donkey was prophesied in the Old Testament (Zechariah 9:9), making the donkey an important detail of the story. 

Palm Sunday Activities for Kids

In addition to hearing the story and learning its context, children can participate in different types of activities that focus on this historical day. This day is one of celebration and hope, and adding fun is a great way to keep kids engaged in the story. 

Palm Fans

Palm fans are a fun craft that kids can make with some construction paper or green markers and paper, scissors, and tape. Once they're done, children can wave and call out, "Hosanna!"

  1. Color the paper green. If you are using green construction paper, skip this step.
  2. Fold the paper long ways into narrow ½-inch strips, like an accordion.
  3. Tape the folds on one end together. This will become the bottom that you hold.
  4. Spread the other end apart to create a fan. This will become the top.
  5. To make it look like palm leaves, use the scissors to cut small v's into the crease at every other fold. If you were to spread the fan out flat, this would look like continuous w's or sharp teeth.
  6. Wave your fan.
Quick Tip

This is a fun Sunday school craft for Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter) that the kids can wave during the worship service. 

Clothespin Figures

Kids upcycling

Kids might love making the craft and playing out the Palm Sunday story to get a visual of how the day played out all those years ago. For this craft, you will need lots of doll clothespins (these have a round ball on the top and are split in the middle), markers, glue, and yarn. Your child could choose to make Jesus, the disciples, or even the donkey.

  1. Decide on your character or draw characters to have everyone in the story present.
  2. Draw a face on the clothespins using the markers.
  3. Use the yarn to glue on hair for Jesus or ears for the donkey.
  4. Play with your fun figurines.

Donkey Puppet

Who doesn't remember making some sort of puppet in childhood? Give your kiddos the full childhood experience and create a donkey puppet that they can play with for hours. All you need is a paper bag (lunch size), crayons or markers, paper, and a glue stick.

  1. Using the paper, you'll want to draw two donkey ears. These will be similar to cat ears but rounder.
  2. Draw two eyes on the paper.
  3. Color the ears and eyes.
  4. Cut them out.
  5. Glue them to the flat part of the paper bag (the part that would be the bottom if it were open.) The eyes will go toward the top and the ears will be glued along the edge. Most of the ear will be sticking up off the paper bag.
  6. Using the crayons or markers, add a nose and a mouth.
  7. Vola! It's time to reenact the story.

Sing Songs

Singing can bring a whole community together, including siblings or a classroom full of small children. Try some of these resources for songs that help you celebrate Palm Sunday.

  • The Concordia Publishing House offers an array of free Palm Sunday song downloads for kids including 'Celebrate Jesus! At Easter'.
  • YouTube offers a karaoke-style 'Hosanna' song complete with music and lyrics.
  • On Vimeo, you can watch and sing along with the song 'From Us.'
  • Listener Kids is a YouTube channel offering a long list of worship songs for kids to follow along with including 'Praise Ye the Lord.' 

Simple Palm Sunday Activities to Try

You can approach the Palm Sunday celebration with simplicity, as the day is all about honoring Jesus's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Try one of these easy activities to recognize the day and get kids involved in the celebration. 

  • Have children create a short play re-enacting Jesus riding into Jerusalem.
  • Have children write the story in their own words.
  • Have them create a Palm Sunday or Easter poem to share.
  • Create a comic book of the story.
  • Make your own coloring book or coloring pages for Palm Sunday.
  • Make a Palm Sunday collage with photos of details from the day, like palm leaves and a donkey.
  • Allow children to create figures out of popsicle sticks and construction paper of the story so they can visualize the event.
  • Make a donkey scripture card with construction paper ears and a verse that tells the Palm Sunday story (John 12:13 or Luke 19:28).
  • Give palm weaving a try with older kids. 
  • Print out the Palm Sunday story and cut out each sentence. Challenge kids to put them back together in the right order. 
  • Print out the story with a few words or phrases missing and challenge children to fill in the blanks with the correct words to complete the story. 

Celebrate the Triumphal Entry With Fun 

Getting kids engaged with Easter celebrations that don't involve candy just yet can be a bit tricky. But it's an important part of the story that will lead to conversations about Christ's death and resurrection. Have fun with these activities — this is a celebration, after all. 

The Palm Sunday Story & 15 Activities to Keep Kids Engaged