1. Students should know the word, crusade, and that these were wars from Western Europe to take the Holy Land from the Moslems.
  2. Students should know that the crusaders did not win the Holy Land for Christians in the end.
  3. Students should know that the crusaders broke into the city of Constantinople and killed its Christian people and stole its treasures.


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Tell the story of the Crusades:


             We studied in an earlier lesson how the followers of a man named Mohammed conquered the Holy Land and the city of Jerusalem, the land where Jesus had lived, died, and was buried. Do you remember the story of Mohammed, the camel driver? What were his followers called? All thru the ages, Christians from all over the world would come to see the places where Jesus had lived, but these lands were now in the hands of Moslems.

              Christians in the Western lands of Europe were very angry about the rule of the Moslems in the Holy Land. The Bishop of Rome, called the Pope (or Big Dad) by the Western Christians, called on his people to leave their homes and families behind and go to attack the Moslems. These new soldiers sewed great crosses on their clothes and painted them on their shields and armor; they were called Crusaders. Crusade means a war for the cross. Before long, thousands and thousands of people, young and old, men and women had joined the Crusade to go to Jerusalem. Poor people left their farms and huts, nobles and princes left their castles. Some rode on horses; some walked by foot. They traveled for four years and finally reached the walls of Jerusalem. There they thanked God for bringing them safely to the end of their journey and then they attacked the city. The first Crusaders captured Jerusalem! They built castles and claimed the land for themselves. They even had their own king.

             But, soon the Moslems won the city back. It didn’t stay captured for many years. So, over the next two hundred years, every so often there would be another Crusade. Sometimes the Western Christians would win the city back again, but not for long; sometimes they didn’t win it back at all.

             The Third Crusade was a famous one – three kings led the Crusade. Frederick Red Beard of Germany started out, but drowned in a river along the way. Philip of France ran away back home because he was jealous of the third king. The third king was Richard of England. He was known as Richard the Lion-Hearted and loved by all. In fact, Richard even made friends with Saladin, the Moslem ruler of Jerusalem, who decided to let the Crusaders worship at Jesus’s tomb without even fighting with them! But, on the way home, Richard was captured by his enemies. He took so long coming home, that Robin Hood had to save England from his wicked brother, Prince John. Do you know the story of Robin Hood and his merry men? Did you know that the Crusades were the reason for King Richard’s disappearance?

Another Crusade was the Children’s Crusade; it was a crusade of children only. Children from all over France left their homes and mothers and fathers and marched to the sea. There some sailors told them they would take them to Jerusalem. But, they were really pirates and sold the children as slaves! (Do you remember another child sold by pirates as a slave? St. Patrick)

Many of the Crusaders truly loved the Lord. But, some saw the rich lands of the East as a way to get richer themselves. As they traveled toward the Holy Land, they stole from even the houses and churches of Christians in the lands they passed through. They conquered Christian cities and made themselves rulers over the people, killing their Christian kings. Greedy men who attacked the city of Constantinople itself and, on Good Friday, broke into the city, looting the monasteries and churches. The Eastern Christians could not understand this; why were their Christian brothers from the West attacking them instead of the Moslems?  There were eight Crusades in all, and in the end the Holy Land was still ruled by the Moslems!



  1. Talk a bit about the difference in life at this time in the East and in the West. Look back at the lessons on the Fall of Rome and on Justinian. In the East, there was learning, beauty, art, jewelry, and beautiful churches. But, in the west, people lived hard lives, often hungry and dirty. Even the rich nobles lived in castles -- dark, smelly, and cold in winter. Food was scarce for most people. Show pictures of feudal life in the West and of Byzantine life in the East. Was it any wonder that the Westerners were tempted by the riches of the East?


  1. Play a learning game: Time Line Cards – Take about 15 index cards. On each one, write an event from the Crusades. Can the students place them in the right order? Display on your bulletin board and review next week. Some ideas?:

                        Mohammed born in Mecca.

                        Moslems capture Jerusalem.

                        Pope calls on Christians to take Jerusalem back.

                        People sew crosses to their tunics.

                        Jerusalem captured.

                        Crusaders build castles in Holy Land.

                        Frederick Red Beard of Germany drowned.

                        Richard the Lionhearted talks to Saladin.

                        Saladin allows Third Crusaders into Jerusalem in peace.

                        Richard the Lionhearted captured and imprisoned.

                        French children march to sea.

                        French children captured by pirates.

                        French children sold as slaves.

                        Crusaders attack Constantinople.

                        Crusaders steal riches of Constantinople.


  1. Make Crusader tunics: Take a large men’s white T-shirt or a length of white fabric with a head-hole in the middle. Cut a cross from red fabric and glue with fabric glue to each side of the tunic; or use 2 pieces of red ribbon for the cross. These could be used as nightgowns or at the beach. Budget doesn't run to shirts and fabric? Try paper grocery bags!


  1. Alternate craft idea: Take construction paper and paper towel and toilet paper tubes. Construct a Crusader’s Castle.


7.  Close with prayer: Lord, may I love your cross more and more each day.