Preparation: some pathetic looking palms or sad looking palm plant or other plant .
An alternative image that goes with the text better is a coat. Bring a coat and after talking bout the palms tell about the coats being laid to honor Jesus and as gifts. Talk about the gifts we bring and how Jesus sees us as gift. Instead of palms at the worship station have people write on images of coats.
Gather the children and have them bring their palms or use this as a time to hand them out. Ask, “who can tell me why we are holding these palms today?” Take answers and explain that it is a ritual and tradition of the church to have palms on this day to remember the part of Jesus life where he went into Jerusalem for the last time and had his last week with is friends and followers. The palms were waved as he came into town to honor and praise him.
Some of your palms look really good but look at the ones I have here. (Show your pathetic palm/plant). This one is kind of small and too old maybe to be used for Palm Sunday. I am not sure it is good enough. But you know what I like about this palm? It is real, it was grown from this plant and it has lived in this worship space (or my house or wherever) for a long time. And it makes me think how sometimes we think we are not good enough for things. Are there times you feel like you are not good enough or that you have let someone down?
Jesus sees all these palms as a gift. There may be some that are too old or new or some that are dried out or just too small, but they are all real and a part of creation. Jesus sees you and me this way too. Even if you feel that you have let someone down or you feel that you have not done something well or you that you are just not big enough or smart enough yet–Jesus sees you as totally enough just as you are right now. Jesus looks at you like these palms, as a gift. As someone who can share love and live as a beautiful part of God’s creation. Jesus goes into Jerusalem today and he will go to the cross there. He dies on the cross to show you that God already loves you and forgives you always.
Have palm branches for people to make into crosses. Or have construction paper and have people trace their hands and write in the ways they see God’s love and forgiveness for them on the inside of their hand (their palm)
OR for LOTS Of fun have washable markers and let people write on their very own hands (like the picture).. I know, crazy-ness. Let me know if you tried it!