9am Holy Eucharist in Trinity Church

3 Ways Into Sunday’s Stories for Children: Holy Week with Kids

Palm Sunday

It’s Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. While the focus of this week for many of you might be planning for your children’s spring break, we hope that you will consider observing the stories and themes of our faith’s Holy Week. If you’re unsure about how to do that, we’d like to help.

With the youngest children, we like to focus on the building blocks that will set a foundation for more complex explorations when they are ready. With older children, the building blocks include the narratives of Holy Week using simplified, “essential” language.

Parents might feel unready to talk about suffering, death, and resurrection with children, and many adults think that paraphrased scripture “dilutes” its meaning. Don’t worry. While it’s true that children’s minds tend to work well with concrete information in school, faith formation can be shaped differently.

It’s not about right or wrong questions and answers. Faith is more deeply rooted if it is part of family life and language. We have experienced that the essential story provides those building blocks for rich intergenerational conversation among families of all ages. Practice modeling prompts that don’t include the journalistic Ws — who, what, where, when, why. Instead, prompts might begin with: 

I wonder…
I noticed…
I feel…  
I pray…

Print, fold, read, and color the story booklet.

A cartoon line drawing of people waving palm fronds at Jesus on Palm Sunday

1. Sing and Dance

Sing “Hosanna!”along with John Legend and cast in the recent television production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which is always a good rendition of the Holy Week narratives. 

2. Play and Pray

Play 20 Questions. Throughout Lent, we have explored stories of some surprise encounters between Jesus and people. And this Sunday’s story includes some more, and an animal. Think of one of these characters and write down one of their names, but don’t show it. See if others can guess after asking up to twenty yes or no questions. Or play it Pictionary-style. Tip: Ask questions about how the character might have felt, as revealed in the story. E.g., were they happy, ashamed, curious…? Did their feelings change after they met Jesus?

Pray: Dear God, help us to walk with you this week and always, in love, as you were with Jesus during his holy week. Amen.

3. Create

CreateaHoly Week Story in a Box (with younger children) and/or a Tenebrae candle wreath (with older children). The scenes from the Palm-Passion readings can be read before extinguishing each candle. 

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