In many churches, the children parade through the adult service with palm branches on Palm Sunday to echo Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Toddlers may have difficulty understanding the event's significance, but some easy Palm Sunday crafts will help them catch the spirit of celebration. Since toddlers learn best from hands-on experience, creating crafts that help them recreate the scene as Jesus made his way through the crowds on a donkey will immerse them in the event and bring to life the joy of seeing Jesus.
Snuggle up with your tot and read a simple picture book about Palm Sunday that shows how Jesus came riding on a donkey. Look her in the eye with excitement and say, "Jesus is coming. He needs a donkey. Let's make him one." Stamp a tempera-painted footprint lengthwise on a piece of construction or poster paper and wash her foot off. Guide one painted hand to a position where four fingers stick out as legs and the thumb becomes a tail, and press on the handprint. Make a closed-finger handprint vertically over the toes for the head. Make pinkie prints for ears and fingerprints for eyes and nostrils. After the paint is dry, glue a square cloth on the donkey's back for Jesus to sit on. For another fun project, try creating a donkey paper-bag or stick puppet.
Now that Jesus has a donkey to ride, your tot is ready to celebrate his arrival by waving a palm branch. Trace her hands and yours, and then cut out about five pairs of handprints from green construction paper. Help her roll another piece of green paper into a long tube and tape it securely. Tape her handprints in alternating patterns down each side and do the same for your branch. Welcome Jesus together, dancing, waving the branches, and calling out, "Jesus is here! I love you, Jesus!" Alternately, glue the palm leaves to a paper-plate ring as a wreath. Glue on pieces of cloth to represent the clothes that the people threw down to make a way for Jesus. Write "Hosanna!" along the top and hang in a visible place in your home to remind your family that Jesus is always welcome there.
Your tot's excitement will build as she dances with her palm branch, so give her a garment to throw down to pave the way for Jesus to enter. Slit one side of a brown paper grocery bag down the middle and bottom. Cut armholes and a neck hole. If you prefer a cloak, cut a piece of butcher paper about the length of your child from shoulder to ankle. Punch a hole in opposite corners and tie a piece of string or yarn through. Let your youngster decorate her paper coat or cloak with crayons or stickers. When you reenact the triumphal entry, she can toss her garment on the ground as she welcomes Jesus.
The Bible records that as Jesus passed, the people cried out to him, "Hosanna!" Commemorate this part of the story by printing a sheet of black-line Hosanna stickers on your computer. Your tot can color them and use them to decorate a paper cone as a megaphone to shout "Hosanna!" when Jesus comes by. Use any leftovers to adorn cards or place mats for the family feast on Easter Sunday.