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Related Bible reading(s): John 18.33-37

For very young children

Play and wonder about Jesus, the true king

Play materials: different-textured fabrics, e.g. silk, hessian, cotton, satin, felt.

Gathering prayers

Young children love repetition. Using the same prayer to start your session each time you meet will create a sense of familiarity and expectation.

Suggestion 1: God loves me

From the top of my head
(Touch head)

to the tips of my toes;
(Touch toes)

from the lobes of my ears
(Touch ear lobes)

to the end of my nose;
(Touch nose)

from my back, to my front
(Turn round)

to my wiggly fingers,
(stretch out arms and wiggle fingers)

God loves me!
(jump up and down)

Suggestion 2: God loves...

Leader: God loves
Child 1: (say name)

Leader: and God loves
Child 2: (say name)

Go round the circle until all the children have been named (the leader or accompanying adult can say the name of pre-verbal or shy children)

All: Thanks be to God!



Lay out a red cloth and place figures and objects/pictures (see italics) on it as you tell the story.

Pilate said to Jesus,

(two figures)

‘Are you the King of the Jews?’


Jesus replied, ‘You call me a king,

(crown of thorns)

but my kingdom is not in this world.

(Jesus on his heavenly throne)

Listen to me! I have come to the world to do one thing –


to speak about the truth.’




Give the children two trays and a selection of objects, e.g. shells, sticks, stones, acrylic jewels, sandpaper, fabric pieces, glass pebbles. Invite them to create an earthly kingdom and a heavenly kingdom.



Invite each child to colour and cut out pictures to symbolise Jesus, e.g. star, lamb, gate, vine leaf, cross, candle (template). Cut card strips (approx. 150cm x 15cm), cut a zig zag along one edge, decorate with the pictures, and staple to make crowns for Jesus the king.



Invite the children to listen to a song about Jesus’ teaching (suggestions below), and then join in singing and dancing.
Jesus put this song into our hearts, Graham Kendrick on Shout to the Lord
This Is My Commandment, Cedarmont Kids on Bible Songs



Invite the children to wear their crowns and stand in a circle holding hands.
Say together:

Jesus the king!
Help us to listen to you,
and join you in your kingdom.



Who’s the king of the jungle?
King of Love, Doug Horley on Top 50 Awesome Action Songs (with actions)


Colouring sheets
English version
Welsh version


A sending out prayer

Young children love repetition. Using the same prayer to end your session each time you meet will create a sense of familiarity and expectation.

God bless you,
(Point to others)

and God bless me.
(Point to self)

Amen. (Wave arms)

Leader: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Children and parents: In the name of Christ, Amen.


Additional activities

These activities are from this week's Explore & respond and can be adapted for Under 5s:

Kingdom cupcakes              15 mins E S

A symbol of Jesus’ earthly and heavenly kingship

You will need: ready-made cupcakes, icing and cake toppings, coloured paper strips, scissors, sticky tape, lolly sticks, string or PVA glue.

  • Give each child a cupcake to ice and decorate. 
  • Make cupcake wrappers in the shape of a crown. Cut out strips that are 2cm longer than the cupcake circumference and 4cm taller. Cut a zig zag edge so that the wrappers look like crowns. Place the crowns around the cakes and secure them with tape.
  • Give everyone two lolly sticks, one cut shorter than the other. Fix them together with string or glue to make a cross. Place a cross on the top of each cupcake. Take home to eat or share.

Heaven and earth               5 mins W S

Pray for earthly leaders

You will need: a toy crown, objects/pictures to represent Jesus’ kingship, e.g. manger, foot washing, crown of thorns, lamb, cross.

  • Display the crown. Talk with the children about who usually wears one. What does it represent? Some countries are not ruled by a king or queen, but a president, who may have similar or more power.
  • Look together at the symbols of Jesus’ kingship. How are these different from the crown? What does each one represent?
  • Invite everyone to choose a symbol and hold it, as they pray for kings, queens and leaders across the world, that they might be more like Jesus. Alternatively, say: Jesus, Lord of heaven and earth, be with all those who are in positions of leadership in our world. May they grow to be more like you. Amen.


Spiritual styles abbreviations
W Word E Emotion S Symbol A Action
Read our Spiritual Styles articles 

The materials above are specially written to enable the youngest members of our church community to hear Bible stories and respond to them through a range of creative play activities, prayers and songs. They can be printed off and used as they are, or you can make your own selection to suit your situation e.g. a crêche during a service; separate pre-school group; or a toddler group that meets during the week.

If you prefer to make your own selection, please see Very young children support for advice and guidance on setting up and running groups or a crèche for very young children. You will also need to include a copyright acknowledgement as follows:
© ROOTS for Churches Ltd. Reproduced with permission.

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