Bright Sparks

On this page you will find all the information you will need to run your own children's group at home. The activities provided will be appropriate for children aged 7-10. This page will be updated every Friday with a new session. You can find all of our previous sessions here.

If you need any craft materials please email: reuben@brockenhurstchurch.com


This week's session is... Arriving on a Donkey

To look at the story of the triumphal entry and give praise to Jesus, just as the crowd did on Palm Sunday.

 

Before you start...

Palm Sunday shows Jesus being adored, welcomed and exalted by the crowds. Shouts of "Hosanna!" fill the air – a stark contrast to the cries of "Crucify him!" less than a week later.  

Jesus comes into Jerusalem on a donkey, the symbol of peace, fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. Jesus is shown accepting the adulation of the crowds – almost encouraging it: in Luke's account of the story the Pharisees ask Jesus to stop the disciples shouting and he responds that if the disciples were quiet the stones themselves would cry out praises: this was a rare moment where Jesus was happy for the people to shout about who he was!

But it was a short-lived moment. As Jesus approaches Jerusalem, again in Luke's account, he weeps over the city, distressed because he knows that it will be utterly destroyed. In Matthew's account the triumphal entry is followed by the cleansing of the temple: and within a week the King on the donkey becomes the criminal on the cross. Jesus' evident popularity spurs the Pharisees on in their efforts to get rid of him. 

But it had to be. Jesus, riding the colt, knew his destiny. He was in truth the King of the Jews – but in order to be the true King he had to choose to die: to overthrow death and to establish an everlasting Kingdom. Jesus is the King, but a King of different priorities! Jesus could have been tempted, in the face of the crowd's excitement, to turn his back on the cross and go for earthly glory – but he didn't! He was not deflected from his purpose.

This session is one of celebration; in it, the children are encouraged to worship Jesus the King at home with their parents or carers.

 

Warming Up: Donkey Derby

You will need: nothing!

Ask for everyone to find a partner. One of them is going to be the donkey on all fours, the other is going to be the rider sitting on their back.

Let them practise riding together and then get everyone to race against each other (As well as a winner's prize you might also like to award prizes for “best riding”, “most careful ride” and so on.)

The Point: Just for fun, links to today’s subject. 

 

Getting Started: Who is Coming?

You will need: ways to make different sounds e.g. different types of shoe, large bunch of keys, squeaky toys etc.

Say that sometimes you can tell who is coming by the sound they make. Ask if anyone can think of some of the ways they recognise who is coming e.g. parents or friends. For instance, they might recognise their car because it has a broken exhaust that you can hear for miles. Maybe a friend has a dog and you can hear the dog barking.

Ask everyone to choose a type of person. They should use the materials you have provided, or their own sound effects, to make the sound of that type of person arriving. Tell them that they can be as creative as they like here and imagine aliens, fairy tale characters or anything they like!

For instance, if they are going to create the noise of a baby they could make “waah” sounds and maybe press a squeaker. For a prison warder they could use heavy shoes to make a solid foot fall and shake bells to make the sound of keys, and so on.

Give everyone a minute to create their “person noises”.

Now let everyone make their sound effect and see if the rest of the group can work out who is coming. The children may well need to tell the correct answer, especially if they have been very imaginative!

Finish the activity by saying that sometimes we can tell who is coming by the reaction of other people as well as by the sounds. When Jesus came into Jerusalem everybody knew it!

The Point: To see that we can recognise the type of person who is coming by the sounds that accompany them.

 

Digging In: Puppet Palms

You will need: Bibles, paper, pens, scissors and glue. 

Ask the children to make the props you will need to tell the story by puppet show.

They will need to make disciples, the donkey and the colt, Jesus (who should have a cut between his legs so he can mount the colt later on!),  long leaves attached to kitchen roll tube to be trees, coats to be thrown onto the ground, the “crowd” – a piece of paper with lots of small people drawn on them.

When the props are ready tell the story using a table as the stage.

Read it from Mark 11:1-10. On the first reading, after each verse talk about which puppets will need to be on stage and agree who is going to hold them and where they might move.

Then read the story a second time with the children moving the puppets around without prompting.

You may like to video the children's puppet show so that they can watch it a third time!!!

Ask the children why they think Jesus came into Jerusalem like that?

Do you think he wanted everyone to notice that he had arrived? Why?

The Point: This activity teaches the Palm Sunday story.

 

Response: Praise the King!

You will need: Music.

Say that Jesus came into Jerusalem like a King – riding a donkey (the symbol of peace) and with crowds worshipping him!

Jesus is still a King – for Christians he is the King of their lives! Say that we are going to take some time to praise and worship Jesus.

Ask the children if they prefer to dance or to make music, and divide them into groups so that the dancers can make up short dance routine, and the musicians can make up tunes of their own or practise existing tunes. (If an earthly king was coming we would prepare to greet him!)

After a few minutes invite the children to greet King Jesus.

You can sing songs, dancers can perform dances; musicians can play along to songs. You may want to say prayers of praise.

Finish the time of worship by cheering for the King!

The Point: To worship Jesus the King. The emphasis is on praising and welcoming the King.