Teach your students about Palm Sunday and Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem with this lesson plan and collection of activities, crafts, worksheets, and teaching ideas.
Palm Sunday Lesson Objectives
- Students will be able to explain the meaning of Hosanna.
- Students will be able to explain why we hold palm branches on Palm Sunday.
- Students will be able to summarize the story of Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem and the story’s connection to the Old Testament.
- Students will feel grateful for Jesus’s gift of salvation.
Palm Sunday Lesson
If the President (or prime minister, king, etc.) was coming to visit your school, how would the teachers and students welcome his arrival?
On a piece of scrap paper or notebook paper, have students write or draw a response.
Now, explain that today’s lesson will be about Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem as king. Ask the students to keep their pictures in mind as they learn about this story.
Read the Story of Jesus’s Entry into Jerusalem
Read one of the three versions of the story in the gospels: Matthew 21:1–11, Mark 11:1–11, John 9:12–19.
Or read this kid-version of the story from Take Up Your Cross:
Jesus Enters Jerusalem
Jesus travelled toward Jerusalem with his disciples. He sent two of them ahead of him to the village of Bethany to fetch a donkey for him. The disciples went and did as he told them.
The disciples put their cloaks over the donkey and Jesus rode it towards the city. A large crowd of people were gathered there to greet him. They took off their cloaks and laid them on the road. Others cut off branches from the palm trees nearby and spread them along the road.
Jesus rode along the cloaks and palms as the people sang:
“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
The people were amazed as they watched him ride along the road.
“Who is this?” some of them asked.
Others explained, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Palm Sunday Reflection Questions
- Even though Jesus wasn’t a king with an earthly kingdom, how did the people in Jerusalem show that they saw him as a king?
- What are some of the things you do “in the name of the Lord”? In other words, what do you do for others on behalf of God?
- If someone asked you who Jesus is, how would you respond?
Present: Old Testament Connections
Why did Jesus enter Jerusalem on a donkey?
Most kings would have entered their capital city on a great war horse, but Jesus enters into Jerusalem on a donkey as a sign of peace.
The symbolism is important because it fulfills an Old Testament prophecy.
Give students the following verse and ask them to explain how Jesus fulfills these words:
Exult greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem!
Behold: your king is coming to you,
a just savior is he,
Humble, and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.Zechariah 9:9
By entering into Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus shows without words that he is the king and savior.
The people chant echoing a verse from Psalm 118: Hosanna in the highest!
The Meaning of Hosanna Video
What does Hosanna mean and why do the people chant Hosanna as Jesus entered Jerusalem?
Why do we sing Hosanna before we receive the Eucharist at Mass?
Watch this video and download the worksheet for students to complete:
The Meaning of Hosanna Worksheet
Give students a copy of this worksheet to reflect on the word Hosanna and pray for God to grant salvation:
Read the Children’s Book: The Donkey Who Carried a King
Younger students will enjoy a children’s picture story about the donkey who carried Jesus into Jerusalem. It is called The Donkey Who Carried a King by R. C. Sproul.
Read the book or watch this read aloud video:
Cross Craft on Palm Sunday
When the kids go to Mass on Palm Sunday, they will be given palms to hold up as the people did during Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem.
Many people like to create palm crosses and other crafts.
Here’s a video about making palm crosses AFTER (not during) Mass:
Palm Sunday Lesson Assessment
At the end of the lesson, give each student a notecard.
On the notecard, have them write three lessons about Palm Sunday that they will share with their families on the way to or from Palm Sunday Mass. These lessons could be about the story of Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem, the connections to the Old Testament, the meaning of Hosanna, or how to make a palm branch cross AFTER mass.
Other Palm Sunday Activities, Crafts, and Worksheets
Palm Sunday Activities
Palm Sunday Activities and Games for Families (Ministry Spark)
Palm Sunday Activities for Preschoolers (Children’s Ministry)
Palm Sunday Whisper and Shout Game (Christianity Cove)
Holy Week Lesson Plan and Worksheets (The Religion Teacher)
A Passion Play Skit Script (The Religion Teacher)
Palm Sunday Lesson Plan (The Catholic Toolbox)
Palm Sunday Lesson (Catechist Cafe)
Palm Sunday Crafts
Palm Sunday Crafts and Activities (Danielle’s Place)
Palm Sunday Crafts (DLTK Kids)
Palm Sunday Craft Ideas for Kids (Catholic Icing)
Palm Sunday Frond (Catholic Teacher Resources)
Palm Sunday Worksheets
Printable Palm Sunday Worksheet for Catholic Children (Sadlier)
Jesus, King of the Jews Worksheet (The Religion Teacher Members)