So you thought that was a good idea, huh?! Celebrating important Christian holidays and teaching the symbolism associated therein is an important part of ministry to kids and families. We've got to be creative in our approach though and consider the various social and developmental levels of the kids in our ministry. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
Create an atmosphere of excitement! When Jesus entered the city there was a parade like atmosphere. Picture your local team having just won the Super Bowl. There's a parade in town to celebrate. Everyone turns out. Work to create something along these lines to help pre-teens celebrate Palm Sunday.
1. Make giant foam #1 fingers. Google "diy foam fingers."There are a ton of "how to" guides that will help you create foam fingers with your pre-teens. Kids can then place these fingers where they will see them all week and be reminded of the celebration that took place as Jesus entered the city. They can also be mindful of the way the crowd turned on Jesus in just a few short days.
2. Have a donkey mascot. Have your donkey mascot throw t-shirts into the crowd, etc. Talk about the symbolism associated with the donkey.
3. Choose "team colors" and do some crazy face painting as kids enter (ex. half the face one color, half the other).
4. Stress the significance of this day. Talk about the fact that the people really were celebrating. They thought that Jesus was the answer to their problems, one who would lead them into civil domination.
5. Send material home with kids that teach them to lead during Holy Week. Challenge pre-teens to lead their families in a five minute devotional each day this week. Write a few devotionals that include significant scripture and some life application questions that pre-teens would be able to lead in their homes. By equipping them to lead, you're giving them skills that will carry long into the future.
Be creative and look for fun ways to include these kids while developing leadership skills that will las them a lifetime. Be intentional about celebrating Palm Sunday with pre-teens-just do it in a way that is appealing and yet significant to them.
How about you? How do you include older kids in celebrating Palm Sunday?