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Walking with Jesus Through Holy Week

A Walk Through Holy Week Ideas & Photos

How about planning a creative "Holy Week" be it during the month of Easter, as a summer program or anytime of the year. A great way to remind people of the core reason we teach Sunday School --which is to know the story of Jesus and what he did for us.

Did I mention "creative"?  This is no time to remind people of how boring Sunday School can be (or has been). To rework a phrase,"Go Big, or Stay Home."

Any Sunday School could simply implement a four-week "rotation" of creative workshops --scheduling a different workshop each week that focuses on a different part of the story. These could be broad-ly graded, even intergenerational, and dovetailed with the worship service.

  • First week:  Palm Sunday.
  • Second week: Last Supper and Gethsemane.
  • Third week: Cross.
  • Fourth week: Resurrection.

You will find a lot of creative workshop ideas in our public and Writing Team Holy Week forums.  Including, the Journey Through Holy Week --stations with adaptations for intergenerational, at-home, and Zoom use.

Adult Worship could go along and re-stage each of these special days, one per Sunday. You could also "rotate" through the three or four "events" of Holy Week in one evening as an intergenerational event. And how about worship dovetailing with these essential stories to remind everyone WHO we come to church for.

Please post your lessons/ideas below for a "Walk Through Holy Week" and don't forget to add photos!


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  • Walking with Jesus Through Holy Week
Last edited by Luanne Payne
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Walking through Holy Week ~ Learning Stations for Kids

The pandemic "took" 2 years of Holy Week lessons from our Sunday School, not to mention the services that were missed. This idea creates a single learning event to recoup some ground on teaching the greatest story ever told.

I'm thinking about the beloved game lesson idea we developed here at many years ago titled, "Marching Through the Exodus Wilderness."  We took the various mini-stories that happened in the wilderness (manna, water from the rock, etc) and turned them into a series of "STATIONS" in various classrooms. Each station had something fun to do which taught that piece of the story. The kids "marched" like the Israelites from station to station. It was a big hit.

The events of Holy Week have often been turned into "stations" for liturgical purposes, and I see no reason why we can't turn these same events into a series of learning stations that the kids rotate through during a SINGLE LESSON.

Before getting much further, I am NOT suggesting "devotional" stations or a prayer walk. Regathering after the pandemic we need a little more "verve" and excitement. I envision these as special SPACES that the kids move through doing and seeing special content. Unlike the "march through the wilderness" idea mentioned above, I don't see Holy Week as a series of games to march through. Wrong tone. Rather, I see these stations like a series of creative mini-workshops.

I count seven potential learning stations or mini-workshops:

  1. Palm Sunday
  2. Last Supper and Foot Washing
  3. Gethsemane
  4. Arrest, Trial
  5. Crucifixion and Burial
  6. Resurrection
  7. Doubting Thomas (or other resurrection appearances)

Some of these stations could be more interactive, like the Last Supper. For each of these stations I'm going to GLEAN from's ample supply of creative ideas for each of these stories (some of which I've mentioned below). In true Workshop Rotation fashion, we'll use video, art, a bit of drama --and maybe even a teaching game (at the appropriate time).

For example, for Palm Sunday I'd definitely consider using the "Hosanna Hey" video clip from the Jesus Christ Superstar movie (it's terrific).

As a Rotation Model enthusiast, I'm also going to "dress the set" and even "dress the part," designing each station as a unique environment and doing our walk in costume. Nothing like a view paper or canvas drop cloths and a few baskets to create a 1st century feel.

Our Palm Sunday viewing station will have palms in the air and cloaks (cloths) laid on the floor. Can the youth group make us a paper-mache donkey? We'll find out!

Our Last Supper setup is going to have candles and a classic table set up with Last Supper foods and a teacher taking the role of Jesus. A Foot Washing? If we have time!

Gethsemane could be an outdoor location, or simply a video clip at the end of the Last Supper if time is short. It could also be cut from the rotation if your time is really short.

For the arrest and crucifixion, I'm thinking of designing one room as a "hiding place" because that's what the disciples did. Perhaps even a closet through whose open door we view a clip or scene of the crucifixion (while staying in our hidden space). Might be a good place to confess our sins too --and nail them to the cross. The thought crosses my mind to be sure to take photos and share them with the kids afterward. Such a powerful visual act that I want them to remember. Thinking about this one!

Mary Magdalene would roust us out of our hiding place with news of the empty tomb, to which we'd travel and take a look for ourselves. Will there be an angel there with an announcement? Probably!   

We have a number of great ideas for making an empty tomb here at, including spray painting canvas and cardboard, using large paper drop cloths, and/or cutting and painting pieces of foam.

As I think about this "Walk Through Holy Week" it dawns on me that this could be an intergenerational event or event for kids and their families.


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  • walkingwithjesusholyweek
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Holy Week Tableaux Workshops
& Intergenerational Event

Posted by Luanne Payne on behalf of:
Janice Loeb, from St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Lindsay, ON

L1a Palm Sunday resized

Tableau - Jesus sends disciples to get a colt (donkey)


As a group, three Sundays before Easter the kids learned about the first two events that took place during Holy Week and set-up the matching tableaux.

The two weeks before Easter and again on Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter) they first reviewed the previous events, using the tableau scenes from previous weeks as a review tool, before learning about and creating tableaux for the next events.

On the fourth Sunday of this project (Easter Sunday), students were divided into groups of 2-3 (will depend on your numbers) and these groups did a practice walk-through as tour guides (after deciding among each individual guide group who would explain what in each tableau).

Holy Week Intergenerational Tableaux Walk-Through

The congregation had been invited to a tour of our Holy Week Tableaux at the end of our Easter service (see details at end of this post).

Week 1 Lesson - First Sunday of Holy Week


Students will learn what Passover is and the events of the first two days of Holy Week, Palm Sunday and Jesus Cleansing the Temple, and create a tableau for each.


Palm Sunday -- Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-38; John 12:12-15
Jesus Cleanses the Temple -- Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46; John 2:13-16

Materials and Preparation:

  • signs that read:
    • "Jesus Entered the Holy City of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday"
    • "Monday of Holy Week~Jesus Cleanses the Temple"
  • pictures of:
    • Palm Sunday
    • Jesus Overturning the Tables
  • Tableau: Stable Backdrop (we used a barn scene we had painted for a VBS)
    • donkey with rope (donkey could be made from cardboard) , and something to tie the donkey to
  • Tableau: People Waving Palm Branches (drew this on a long paper roll–using images from a Palm Sunday colouring page). Along the top write: "BLESSINGS ON THE ONE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD” Matthew 21:9.
    • palm branches
    • a few biblical garments
    • potted plants (optional)L1x Scene Setter Add-On Star of Bethlehem
  • Tableau: Jerusalem Gate (we used an old “Scene Setters Add-On’s–Star of Bethlehem”, which included a 2-piece Bethlehem, printed on plastic, as our Jerusalem).
  • Tableau: Inside Temple
    • small table
    • feathers (place in small basket)
    • bird cage (optional)
    • feathered artificial craft doves (optional)
    • coins (place in a cloth bag or in a small basket)
    • sheep, cow - our sheep and cow were cut from cardboard and painted (not pictured)
  • removable Tape or Command Picture Hanging Strips, to hang your backdrops, for easy removal later. We kept ours up for the entire four weeks.


Have your tableaux material and props easily accessible.

Explain what you will be doing over the next four weeks (see summary).

Sunday ~ Jesus Arrives in Jerusalem

L1b Palm Sunday ResizedL1a Palm Sunday resizedL1c Palm Sunday ResizedL1d Palm Sunday LResizedL1e Palm Sunday Resized


Passover is an important holiday in the Jewish faith. People came from all regions and many countries for the celebration. (Explain what Passover is.)

Jesus and his disciples journeyed many miles and Jesus performed many miracles along the way, and word of these miracles had spread among the people.

Jesus knew he was going to die. On the  way to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, privately, and told them what was going to happen to him. "Listen," he said, "we're going to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then, they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day, he will be raised from the dead." (Matthew: 20: 18-19).

As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives.

Jesus sent two of his disciples on ahead. He told them to go into the village where they would see a young donkey tied up, that no one had ever ridden. He told them to untie it and bring it to him, and if anyone asked what they were doing, they were to say "The Lord needs it."

Have the students hang the SIGN and Palm Sunday PICTURE underneath it, then have them help you put up the STABLE BACKDROP.

Now, there was an ancient law that any citizen must give the king any item or service he asked for and so the owner of the donkey let them take it. They brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it and Jesus sat on it. (Discuss what would normally happen if someone sat on a colt that has never been ridden.)

Have the students bring in the DONKEY and tie it up.

Thousands of people packed the narrow stone streets and pilgrims flooded the market place. Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him and others spread leafy palm branches on the ground. The people were all around him shouting hosannas. They greeted him like a king.

Ask someone to read the scripture printed on the backdrop "BLESSINGS ON THE ONE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD” Matthew 21:9. (See if they know what Hosanna means, and explain if not.)

Have the students put up the PEOPLE WAVING PALM BRANCHES BACKDROP, then lay along the floor some cloaks and palm branches (and place any potted plants you may have).

So Jesus entered the gates of the city of Jerusalem. It was late in the day. He went into the temple. After looking around carefully, he left and returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples.

Have the students put up the JERUSALEM GATE BACKDROP, then they can lay additional cloaks and palm branches up to Jerusalem Gate.

Monday ~ Jesus Cleanses the Temple

L1f Jesus in the TempleDiscussion/Activity:

During the Passover Week, people journeyed many, many miles for the celebration. There were two requirements for each visitor to the temple. First, they had to make an animal sacrifice, a sheep or a calf, but usually a dove. The animal had to be perfect. You could bring your own animal, but it would probably not be considered good enough for the Temple authorities. So, most people would buy an animal for sacrifice from the sellers in the temple - at a price!

Have the students bring in table and animals (sheep/cow), then on the table place the bird cage with dove or container of feathers to represent doves, finally placing the cloth bag of coins (or coins in a small basket).

These money changes were thieves, robbing the pilgrims of their money and this made Jesus angry.

Jesus woke up in the morning. Knowing his days were numbered, and his life on earth was almost over, he decided to make a point. He walked back to Jerusalem and into the temple.

Jesus did not lose his temper. He deliberately stormed into the temple, over turning the tables and chairs, and scattered money and animals everywhere. He was sending a message that the temple was to be a place of worship, not a den of thieves. Imagine the scene. What do you think the religious leaders thought of Jesus?

Have the students remove items from table, lay the table on it's side, move animals as needed, lay bird cage on it's side with door open, scatter feathers and coins.

Tuesday & Wednesday ~ Jesus Teaches in the Temple


The kids were curious what happened on Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week so we mentioned here that during this time Jesus taught in the temple.

Week 2 Lesson - Thursday of Holy Week


Students will learn about the events that took place on Thursday, The Last Supper and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, and create tableau for both.


Last Supper -- Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-38
Jesus in the Gethsemane -- Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46

Materials and Preparation:

  • signs that read:
    • "Thursday of Holy Week~The Last Supper"
    • "Monday of Holy Week~Jesus in the Garden"
  • pictures of:
    • The Last Supper (we hung on wall at end of table)
    • Jesus in the Garden
  • Tableau: Upper Room with table set for Last Supper and basin of water
    • The upper room (we made with sheer fabric over a wooden frame, see Wooden Frame description in this post, under “Jail Cell”. Other options would be to use a tent or simply empty a room, use your imagination.)
    • table (we had a homemade narrow, long table with short legs)
    • wooden plates (I carved/wood burned each disciple's name into a wooden craft circle)
    • cups
    • clay water jug, baskets
    • Food of the time, grapes, pita, etc. (if leaving up for more than the one Sunday an option would be to use plastic grapes and toy pieces of bread) grape juice for wine
    • Copper pot, outside edge of tent, to hold water to wash the disciple’s feet
    • Rooster (toy or picture)
  • Tableau: Garden of Gethsemane
    • Olive grove
      • a tree background would be a nice addition, if you have one, we didn't.
      • Stump and rock
    • 3 disciples sleeping & Jesus praying (foam heads, biblical costumes)
      • stand of some kind to hold Jesus figure upright
    • camp fire (Electric campfire we used is from Group)
    • stars and/or small stringed lights
    • pouch with 30 silver coins (nickels)


Have your tableaux material and props easily accessible.

Explain that today we are continue to learn about the events of Holy Week with the intention of sharing that knowledge with the congregation on Easter Sunday.

Review the previous week's events (Palm Sunday) using the tableau scene(s) from previous week as a review tool, then move on to the next two days events, the Last Supper and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Thursday ~ The Last Supper

L2a Last Supper ResizedL2b Last Supper Resized


The chosen time was near, Jesus decided to have the Passover feast with his disciples. He sent two disciples into the town to find a man carrying a pitcher of water, who wold lead them to a large upper room.

Students set-up tent (if using for your Upper Room set-up).

Table may already be in room, or they may carry in a special sized table.

Place jug of water on table.

Jesus was the host, not the guest, but he began by taking the roll of the servant, by washing his disciples' feet.

Students add basin and towel.

He then told the twelve disciples that one of them, eating with him, would betray him. the disciples were very upset. Each one asked "Am I the one?" When Judas asked, Jesus whispered back, "You have said it."

He then took the bread and blessed it. He broke it into pieces and gave it to his disciples saying, "Take this and eat it, for this is my body." And then he took a cup of wine, and gave thanks to God, and gave it to them saying, "This is my blood, it is the promise between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins."

Students set table for 13, plates, cups, bowl of grapes, etc., plus loaf of bread and jug of wine (juice).

Jesus told the disciples that all of them wold desert him. This also upset the disciples. Peter said, "I will never desert you." But Jesus told him that before the night was over, and before the rooster crowed, Peter would deny him three times.

Student adds rooster (toy or picture).

Peter insisted that even if he had to die with Jesus, he would never deny him, and all the other disciples vowed the same.

Thursday ~ Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Jesus in the Gethsemane -- Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46

L2d Garden of Gethseman ResizedL2c Garden of Gethseman Resized


Jesus and his disciples go to the Mount of Olives and Jesus asks the others to sit and rest while he takes Peter, James and John with him into the Garden of Gethsemane.

Students set-up Garden background, tree, stump, lights, etc.

Jesus asks the 3 disciples to watch and pray with him but they fall asleep and Jesus is left to pray alone.

Students set-up 3 sleeping disciple figures.

Jesus is sad that his time on earth is coming to an end and he knows he is going to die.

Students set-up Jesus praying figure.

Judas has betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Judas arrives with soldiers and high priests and kisses Jesus on the cheek so that the soldiers will know which one to arrest and the rest of the disciples run away, in fear for their lives.

(Remember, just earlier the same night, at the last supper, they promised to never desert him!!!)

Students add pouch of 30 pieces of silver.

Week 3 Lesson - Good Friday and Easter Sunday of Holy Week


Students will learn about the Holy Week events of the Crucifixion of Jesus (Friday) and the Empty Tomb-Resurrection (Sunday). They will also decorate wooden crosses and then create a tableau of The Empty Tomb.


Jesus Crucified -- Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:1-11; Luke 23:22-26; John 19:18-27
Jesus is Risen -- Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-13

Materials and Preparation:

  • signs that read:
    • we used a Easter Banner (that said "Friday of Holy Week~Jesus is Crucified on the Cross")
    • "First Easter Sunday ~ Alleluia Jesus is Risen"
  • pictures of:
    • The Crucifixion
    • The Empty Tomb

Tableau: Crucifixion

  • large free standing wooden cross
    • a gentleman in our church made the picture large, self-standing, wooden cross, he also made all the smaller wooden crosses for the kids to decorate.
    • dice, whip, crown of thorns
  • small wooden crosses (one per student)
    • these will be attached (glued) to the large wooden cross, creating the Crucifixion Tableau
  • assorted permanent markers, jewels, foam stickers, etc.
  • glue

Tableau: Empty Tomb

  • black - fabric and plastic sheet
  • angel (we used a foam head on a stick, dressed in white)
  • flashlight or light under angel's costume (optional), stand flashlight inside a can or mug so it will shine upwards.
  • folded garments
  • rock (large round cardboard that can be rolled away)
  • for additional ideas check out's  "Ideas for Building the Empty Tomb and Other Scenery/Props"

Good Friday ~ Jesus is Crucified

L3a Wooden Crosses


When Jesus is arrested he said he was Christ, the son of God. The priests called him a liar and wanted him put to death. They took him away to the house of the high priest.

Peter followed and sat outside with other people who know he is a disciple and they say “ This man was with him”, You are one of them”, and “Certainly you were with him” and all three times Peter says “ I don’t know him” “ I am not with him”, I don’t know what you are talking about”. (Remember at the last supper Jesus told Peter he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed).

Students bring over Rooster from Last Supper Tableau.

Jesus was taken to the governor Pontius Pilate. Pontius Pilate did not think Jesus deserved to die but he gave into the pressure of the priests and the crowd and ordered him to be crucified. Being crucified means being hung on a cross and that was how they punished people back in Jesus’ day, for being thieves or murderers or going against the government.

Students add large wooden cross.

Jesus was made fun of by having to wear a crown of thorns.

Student adds crown of thorns.

The soldier rolled dice to see who would get his clothing.

Student adds dice.

He was whipped and he had to drag the heavy cross to the top of the hill called Golgotha or ‘place of the skull’. It is also called Calvary. He was crucified between two thieves. Jesus knew he was innocent but he was willing to die for our sins.

Student adds whip.

Activity:Students decorate Small Wooden Crosses

Each student decorates a small cross – or two.

These they then glue directly onto the large wooden cross.

Easter Sunday ~ The Empty Tomb

L3b Empty TombDiscussion/Activity:

When Jesus had died his body was wrapped in linen cloth and placed in a tomb carved into the rock and a stone was rolled across the opening.

Students set-up tomb and roll stone across front.

On the third day, an early Sunday morning, woman came to the tomb and found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty.

Students roll away the stone and place linen cloth inside.

Instead they found an angel who told them not to be afraid because Jesus had risen and they left to tell the disciples.

Students set-up an angel beside tomb and place a flashlight under her gown to light the angel up.

Week 4 Final Station

Summary: On the fourth Sunday (Easter Sunday) students were divided into groups of 2-3 (will depend on your numbers) and these groups did a practice walk-through as tour guides (after deciding among each individual guide group who would explain what in each tableau). After we were done and everyone felt prepared for the being tour guides after worship, we did the following science demonstration. This was also performed by an older student (with an adult leader) at the end of each tour group.

Jesus Died to Take Away Our Sin Demonstration

(Easter)–  What happened on the cross an Object lesson that has been around for some time, but is still very effective with smaller groups.

(uses the” Why does water rise?” Science Experiment)


  • saucer
  • measuring cup with water
  • food colouring
  • candle
  • glass
  • coin
  • lighter (matches)

Safety Note: This last demonstration, with the lit candle, was done by a responsible helper and a younger child who wasn’t allowed to use the lighter.

Luanne’s Tips:

  1. Practice before doing with children, so you know the correct amount of water you need, start with a quarter cup and adjust as needed.
  2. Candle needs to be big enough (minimum 2 ¼ diameter x 2 ½ “ high) that when the water is pulled into the glass it does not goes over the top of the candle.  Tea lights will not work!  Candle needs to be thinner than the glass you’re using.  A glass with a smooth top edge works best for suction.
  3. You need to put enough water into the saucer so that it covers the coin, which will be outside the area the glass will cover when placed upside down on the saucer.

Candle Experiment 1Candle Experiment 3


Tell the children that you are going to give a demonstration of what happened at the cross of Jesus.


  1. This coin represents you or me (place it in the saucer, towards the edge).
  2. This coloured water represents our sins (pour it into the saucer until the coin is submerged).
  3. This candle represents Jesus (stand candle in centre of the saucer, and as you light it, say...
  4. The flame represents the life of Christ, God sent his only son to Earth. He was born in a stable, grew up, was baptized by John, preached God’s message to all who would listen, performed miracles, and healed many in God’s name.  He was our light, our beacon of hope, our King.
  5. But Jesus’ ultimate act of love was to give up His life for us (place glass over candle).
  6. He died on the cross at Calvary (the flame should go out) so that he could take our sins on Himself (water will be drawn into glass surrounding candle) and we could go free.

Science: Within a few seconds, the flame will consume all the oxygen in the glass and be extinguished. However, it will have created a vacuum which, in turn, will draw the water up inside the glass (thus surrounding the candle) and leave the coin dry.


Week 4 ~ Holy Week Congregational Tableaux Walk-Through

The congregation had been invited to a tour of our Holy Week Tableaux at the end of our Easter service.

It was done in groups of ten. Each group had two to three tour guides (kids). The guides had been given cue cards for each tableau (sorry don't have copy of these) for backup, but having done weekly reviews and having the backgrounds and props made great visual reminders, that they easily retold what happened in their own words.

Note: It took a very long time for everyone to get through, due to the large attendance Easter Sunday and those who could not do the stairs had to take our elevator which then made them walk through all the tableaux to get to the first one, as the first tableau began at the bottom of the stairs and the elevator was at the other end of our building.

So in 2023 we are doing this again, but this time setting it up in our large church entrance hallway to avoid the stairs.

Attached is a 2023 pdf that includes photos of how we set-up the different tableaux in the hallway this time around. To separate the tableaux as they were in one room, we used tables we had, that folded sideways and were on wheels. We simply put a table between each tableaux for separation and covered them with something from that scene.

Example the table in the Palm Sunday scene we placed our drawing of people with palm leaves over it, photo below.

Palm Sunday Tableau in Hallway

Holy Week Tableaux Workshops & Intergenerational Event
By Janice Loeb, from St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Lindsay, ON


St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Lindsay, ON,
Candle Experiment & Overturned Table courtesy of Luanne Payne.


Last edited by Amy Crane

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