Come Follow me 2023, May 15-21, Free LDS primary lesson helps, Matthew 21-23
Updated: May 12
Teach the Doctrine: Younger Children
Heavenly Father and Jesus know me by name.
As you read about the Savior’s interaction with Zacchaeus, what messages do you find that may bless the children you teach?
Show a picture of Zacchaeus in the Sycamore Tree (in this outline or at ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Help the children find Zacchaeus and say his name. Create actions for the children to do as you tell the story of Zacchaeus and Jesus—for example, standing on their toes to see over a crowd or pretending to climb a tree. Explain that the Savior saw Zacchaeus and called him by name. Testify that the Savior also knows each of the children and their names.
My daughter added some leaves from our tree outside, if you would like to go on a nature walk, your children can gather some leaves.
Here is the back to give you an idea of what you are constructing.
Here is another one.
Bring an empty picture frame to class, or make one out of paper. Invite each child to take a turn holding the frame around his or her face while the rest of the class says, “Heavenly Father and Jesus know [child’s name].”
You can cut out the frame or print in B&W for a coloring page.
The MEGA smarties sold at Dollar Tree. Print on sticker paper for the name tags.
Sing together a song about Heavenly Father’s love, such as “I Am a Child of God” (Children’s Songbook, 2–3). Help the children listen for things that help them know Heavenly Father loves them.
God not only knows their names, but being his child, he knows so many more things about them. Here they can share some things about themselves. Bear testimony that Heavenly Father and Jesus know all things about them, because they are his child/ren.
The temple is a sacred place.
Jesus’s reverence for the temple, as described in these verses, can help the children you teach understand that the temple is a sacred place.
Show the picture Jesus Cleansing the Temple (Gospel Art Book, no. 51), and tell the story recorded in Matthew 21:12–14. Help the children find money and animals in the picture. Then discuss why the Savior wanted the money changers and the people selling animals to leave the temple.
Show pictures of temples (for examples, see Gospel Art Book, nos. 117–19), and ask the children to share how they feel when they see a temple. You might explain that the temple is a place where we go to make promises with God, seek answers to prayers, and feel close to God. Help the children identify feelings from the Holy Ghost telling them that the temple is a special place. Ask the children to act as they would if they were inside the temple. For instance, they could talk in whispers and sit reverently.
Have the children build temples out of blocks or cups. Attach these temple spires to a couple of blocks or cups for the children to place on top. Teach the principals from the primary manual and scriptures as you build together.
Sing together a song about the temple, such as “I Love to See the Temple” (Children’s Songbook, 95), and invite the children to make a goal to go inside the temple someday.
Here is a interactive primary song, where the children can flip open the windows and door while they learn the words to the song.
You can download this song HERE
I got my mirror at Dollar tree. I was fun to teach this to my sunbeams, because I brought each individual child up to see who they saw in the temple. They got so excited to see themselves. I testified if they lived righteous they can someday be in the temple. You can use it as your lesson or buy a mirror for each kid as a gift.
I can be obedient.
Heavenly Father wants us to be obedient. The parable of the two sons is an opportunity to teach about the importance of obedience.
Draw a picture of two sons on the board, and use the drawings as you recount the parable in Matthew 21:28–32. Which son did the right thing in the end? Ask the children to name things they can do to be obedient at home. Let them draw pictures of themselves doing one of those things.
You can tell the story and have the children retell it with these pictures they can put in order.
Invite the children to share experiences they have had with being obedient to their parents. How were they blessed for being obedient?
Teach the Doctrine: Older Children
As I seek the Savior, I will find Him.
You might use the story of Zacchaeus to help the children think of things they can do to come closer to the Savior.
This is a pretty good telling of the story.
Read Luke 19:1–10, pausing every few verses to discuss what the verses reveal about Zacchaeus. What did Zacchaeus do so that he could see Jesus? How did he respond when Jesus asked him to come down from the tree? Ask each child to share one reason why they would want to see Jesus. If the Savior came to our city, what would we do to prepare?
Invite the children to think of people they know who, like Zacchaeus, might be seeking the Savior. Ask the children what they might do to help someone else learn about the Savior.
Invite the children to share experiences when they felt that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were aware of them and loved them.
The temple is a sacred place that I should respect.
How can the account of the Savior cleansing the temple help you teach the children about the sacredness of temples?
Invite the children to read Matthew 21:12–14. Show the picture Jesus Cleansing the Temple (Gospel Art Book, no. 51), and ask them which verse is depicted in the picture.
This is from the Friend.
Invite the children to share how they have felt when they have gone inside a temple, visited temple grounds, or looked at pictures of temples. What helped them know the temple is a sacred place? You might share with the children why you love the temple. Why is it sacred to you?
Invite one or more youth to come to class and talk about how they have prepared to enter the temple. If they have been to the temple, ask them to talk about how they felt when they were there.
Cut a picture of a temple into puzzle pieces, and give each child one piece. Ask the children to write on the back of their puzzle piece one thing they can do to prepare to enter the temple. As each child shares an idea, add his or her piece to the puzzle.
This is a complex puzzle, if you would rather there is another picture you can cut on your own, into pieces to make it simple for your children. Sorry it is only in color.
On the board, write the following: can help me prepare to serve in the temple. Invite the children to suggest ways to complete this sentence. Some ideas might include “Keeping my baptismal covenants” or “The Holy Ghost.”
Jesus wants me to be righteous in my actions and my desires.
Jesus taught the scribes and Pharisees about the importance of truly living the gospel—not just pretending to be righteous. What would help the children understand this truth?
As you read Matthew 23:25–28 with the children, consider sharing this definition of hypocrite from the Bible Dictionary: “One who pretends to be religious when he is not.” Why is it bad to be a hypocrite?
Show the children a cup that is clean on the outside but dirty on the inside to help illustrate the metaphor in Matthew 23:25. How can we make sure we are clean and pure on the inside?
Assemble the Apples, and ask the children which apple they would choose to eat. Have them open them and look on the inside. Then share the scripture.