1st-2nd Grade Activities
CONNECT QUESTION: If you could take a ride on any animal, what would it be?
Matching Crowns Activity
Children discuss questions to get them thinking about royal and famous people.
- •Pair of Crowns cards (see Resources)
- •Resealable bag (sandwich-size)
Print one copy of the Pair of Crowns cards for every six children. Cut apart the cards, shuffle them, and put them in a resealable bag.
See if children can match like crowns and talk about the the different kinds of leaders in the world. There are presidents, kings, Queens, Czars, Governors, etc. What one thing do they all have in common? Possible Answers: They all have power. They are all in charge of people. Etc. Today we are going to learn about the most important king. He was like no other King in many ways. We are going to learn about the day He came in Jerusalem riding on a donkey.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Game: One Word at a Time
Clear an area of the room.
Invite your child/children and family to review the Remember Verse a few times. Then ask them to stand shoulder to shoulder and form a line across the room. Explain that the person at the beginning of the line will say the first word of the verse, the second person in line will say the second word of the verse, and so on. This means that everyone will need to listen very closely. If someone isn’t able to think of the next word of the verse, he/she will move to the end of the line, and the next person will give it a try. You may go through the line multiple times as you say the verse.
Bible Passage: Matthew 21:1–11; John 12:12–19
Storytelling Technique: Images and Puppet
Jesus Is King
- •Storytelling images (see Resources)
- •Craft stick (jumbo) (or a spoon)
- •Paper (3 pieces of paper)
Print the Storytelling images (nine total). Cut out the Jesus image and tape it to a craft stick or just a spoon to make a puppet. Tape the 3 pieces of paper to make it extra long. On the far left side, write “The road to Jerusalem.” On the far right side, write “Jesus is King.”
Today is a special day we call Palm Sunday. It begins the week that leads up to—what holiday? Interact with responses. That’s right, Easter! Before we start, let’s pray and ask God to be with us today and help us understand what He wants to teach us. Lead your child/children in a Prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to quiet their hearts and minds.
Lately we’ve heard a lot about Jesus’ life. He healed sick people, made blind people see, made paralyzed people walk, and even brought dead people back to life! Jesus talked about God and God’s love in a way that no one had ever heard before. Jesus amazed people. They longed to be near Him, and they hoped, hoped, hoped that He was their King, the promised Savior. Beginning on the left side of the paper, tape the Crowd image. Hold up Jesus puppet next to image. This is our “road map” today. We will add more pictures to help us think about some of the special things about this part of The Big God Story.
Imagine this: It’s the city of Jerusalem during one of the most important Jewish celebrations, Passover. On the far right side of the paper, tape City of Jerusalem image. The rest of the images will fill in the gap leading up to Jerusalem. Set down Jesus for the moment. Thousands and thousands of people traveled to the city for this special holiday, and they were all hoping and expecting that Jesus would be there too. God’s people had been waiting since the very beginning of The Big God Story for their promised Savior to come and save them!
During those days, the Jewish people didn’t control their own land or their own government. Another group, the Romans, ruled over the people, and the people did not like it. To the right of the Crowd image, tape Roman Soldier image. God’s people really hoped for the Messiah, the promised Savior, to come and save them from their enemies, the Romans. They wanted a king to ride in on a beautiful horse and set them free! Jesus is King over everything; He is King of Kings because He is God. He created this world and everything in it! But He wasn’t the kind of king the Jewish people had hoped for because He didn’t come to make the Romans go away.
So, thousands of people were traveling to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, and Jesus and His disciples were coming too. Right before they entered the city, Jesus stopped and sent two of His disciples into a village to find a donkey and its baby and bring them back to Him. Invite your child/children to open their Bibles to Matthew 21 and follow along as you read vv. 1–3. To the right of the Roman Soldier image, tape Village image. Hold up Jesus next to this image. What’s a donkey like? Interact with responses. A donkey is an animal that’s used for hard work, and it’s not big and powerful like a horse might be. Donkeys make us think of peace instead of strength or power, which might make us think of a horse.
When the disciples went to look for the donkey, they found one just like Jesus had said they would. The disciples brought the donkey to Jesus. Jesus knew that riding into Jerusalem on a donkey would fulfill a prophecy spoken years ago. Read Matthew 21:5a for the group. Tape the donkey to the front of Jesus to make it appear that Jesus is riding on the donkey.
Jesus got on the donkey and headed into the city. Even though He is the King of Kings, Jesus’ journey didn’t look like that of a king. No band played loud music to tell people He was coming. No soldiers were at His side. He wasn’t wearing fancy robes or a gold crown. It was just Jesus, on a donkey, with His friends. Jesus was showing people that He was their King, but He was so different from the king they had imagined. Move Jesus forward.
As Jesus entered Jerusalem, a large crowd came to meet Him. The people put palm branches and their own coats on the road as He came past them. Read Matthew 21:8–9 aloud aa your child/children follow along. To the right of the Village image, tape the Palm Branch and Coat images to create a path leading up to the Jerusalem image. Move Jesus along the path. The people were welcoming their King. People shouted, “Hosanna!” That means “Save us!” They also said, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” and “Blessed is the king of Israel!” (John 12:13). The people wanted a King, a Savior, but they didn’t understand that they didn’t need to be saved from the Romans. They needed to be saved from their own sin.
The people wanted Jesus to be just an earthly king, but He is so much more than that. He is the Creator of the universe, and He sacrificed Himself to save people from sin and death. Jesus is more powerful than death. He is the King of Kings who lives forever! Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can have a relationship with God. To the right of the Jerusalem image, tape the Cross image.
Jesus loves us, and He is King of everything. He desires for us to know Him and worship Him as the King of Kings. He desires to save us from our sins so we can live forever with Him. All we have to do is cry out, “King Jesus, save us!” Share a story about a time you worshipped Jesus as King.
- What did the people in Jerusalem do when Jesus rode into town? Matthew 21:8–11; John 12:13
- What does the word hosanna mean?
- What do you like about the kind of King Jesus is?
- What does it mean for you to worship Jesus as your King?
At His Feet Activity
Children will use palm branch and coat shapes to worship Jesus as King
- •Palm Branch and Coat cutouts (see Resources)
- •Scissors (1 pair per child)
- •Markers or crayons
Print one copy of the Palm Branch and Coat cutouts for each child.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem on the donkey, the people were ready and excited to worship Him as King. Jesus is the King of Kings! What are some things that you want to worship Jesus for today? How can you worship King Jesus with your whole life? Invite your child/children to spend some quiet moments thinking and praying. Then pass out the Palm Branch and Coat cutouts and point out the supplies. Explain that they can write or draw on the palm branch and coat shapes in response to what God has shown them today. They can also cut out the shapes. After they have had some time to respond, encourage them to share their thoughts and what they’re praising Jesus for today.
- •Remember Verse cards (see Resources)
Read the blessing from Matthew 1:21:
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
The Bible describes Jesus in many ways, and together these names paint a beautiful picture of the kind of King Jesus is. Next, slowly read the following names of Jesus over the children.
Jesus is …
- •The First and Last
- •The Living One
- •The Savior
- •The Light of the World
- •The Good Shepherd
- •The Way, the Truth, and the Life
- •Immanuel, God with us
- •The Rock
- •The Passover Lamb
- •The Deliverer and Redeemer
Repeat a few, or all, of the names as you feel led. Then ask your child/children to call out names that connect with them based on whom they have experienced Jesus to be today. Allow a few quiet moments for your/children to speak out before finishing with the following blessing.
May King Jesus show you that He is worthy of your worship today and every day. May you praise Him for being your King.