Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hosanna-- Celebrating the Triumphal Entry with toddlers and preschoolers

Sunday was a busy day for us.  I'd been out of town over the weekend shooting a wedding, we had church, Matt and I had an evening "errand date" and it just wasn't a good day to do our Hosanna activities.  So we started out with them on Monday morning.

First we got everything ready.  We borrowed some rocks from our neighbors' flowerbed and made a road.  It was important to have the rocks because they come into the story later, but it also made the perfect road and let the kids help with the set-up.  Quinn got the broom to sweep all the pollen and pine needles and leaves off the path to get everything ready for Jesus.  (Which is the exact picture of the Lenten season, right? Sweeping our hearts and lives clear to be ready to open our hearts to the message of the crucifixtion and resurrection?)

Sunday night we saw a huge stack of palm branches in a neighbor's trash.  PERFECTO!  Matt even threw it in reverse so I could load them onto the top of the car because they were too big to fit in.  I was so excited to have the perfect props!  If you don't live where there are palm branches there are still lots of choices--use other branches (pine, etc.), cut palm branches from paper or felt or fabric.....the palm part isn't important.
Notice our very spiritual cat overlooking the Bible story.

Then we threw our coats down.  Which was interesting, because when I told the kids to grab their coats Quinn knew the story well enough to know what we were going to do with the coats.  "I am going to get an old coat because I don't want my favorite one on the ground."  We stopped and had a talk about sacrificial giving and what it tells Jesus when we choose him over our things--especially our favorite things.  Mama needs that lesson, too.......

Then I wanted to write the part of the verse "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" in chalk near our "road," so while I did that, Q chose to draw a person praising God with a palm branch saying, "Hosanna."

(Q's person)
And our donkey:  Q's bike, with some grey fabric and Q's coat under "Jesus," a boy doll we happen to have.  Try not to notice that Jesus is entering Jerusalem in his footie PJ's, okay?  
(additional sidenote--older kids could be put to the task of making a sign that says, "Jerusalem" on it for the area....writing, simple woodworking could be involved....)
The donkey's head was saved from LAST YEARS' Hosanna project.  
 We just taped the head on the bike with masking tape.
We read the story from Luke to make sure we had everything set up right.  The tape was my paperweight as it was windy and kept blowing away my notes!
Then we acted out the scene.  We waved our palm branches (also--I used some garden shears to cut the pokey parts off the stalks so they wouldn't cut our hands) and Beck wanted to wave a stick, which was fine. We sang "Hosanna" and we said "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord."  

Then I pretended to be a Pharisee and Q pretended to be Jesus.  I said, "Jesus, tell your disciples to stop this!  They are saying things that are untrue!"  And Jesus (Q) replied, "If they don't praise me the rocks will cry out!"  Then Jesus (Q) got to the end of the road and turned to weep over Jerusalem.

 And of course Little Man needed a turn to be Jesus, too, so we reinacted it lots of times, and we still have it set up because they want Daddy to do it with us some evening this week.  
 So the important parts of teaching a Bible story--
*spend time preparing
*take the kids to the actual scriptures in the Bible and what it says in the scriptures
*let the kids help you set up and talk about why you are using the objects you've chosen
*tactile, hands-on materials
*repeat as many times as children are interested
*let them respond through play with the materials
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