By Joanna Sheppard
Hi Mom Friends!
Can you believe Easter is just two weeks away? While the days at home caring for kids, cooking, cleaning, scheduling, and surviving can feel like an eternity in the face of the state’s stay-at-home order, the reality is that this time with our kids won’t last forever. But right now we have the gift of time — time to be together, time to have fun, time to rest, create, clean, organize, pursue priorities, and refocus our hearts on the Lord. One of the greatest gifts of time we have is to point our kids to Christ, and with Easter right around the corner, we have a great opportunity to do this by teaching them the basic wonders of the gospel through the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
Today, I want to share some ideas my family has used over the years to learn the story of Easter and prepare our hearts for worship and celebration.
Remember the Resurrection Garden: Recreate a mini version of what Mary Magdalene and the other women saw as they journeyed to the tomb of Jesus. This can be as elaborate or as simple as desired. All you need is:
- a container to fill with dirt, such as a planting pot, bowl or baking dish
- a tomb made from any small, rounded container (Do your kids like to play with dough? Find directions online for making a salt dough tomb.)
- a rock to cover the tomb entrance until Sunday morning
- various decorations to make our scene look like a garden (Take the kids outside and hunt for pebbles, plant cuttings you could replant from your garden, moss, leaves, etc.)
This is a wonderful, interactive project that helps us visualize the power and meaning of the empty tomb. Many examples can be found online. Figure out the basics and make it your own. Focus on the meaning more than the garden aesthetics.
Retell the Story with Resurrection Eggs: This activity includes a dozen plastic eggs that each contain a symbol that tells the events from Palm Sunday through the resurrection. This is a fantastic tool for teaching kids the bigger picture. Explain an egg a day for younger kids, or all at once for an older crew. Then, make a Resurrection Egg scavenger hunt for Easter morning, and have older kids put events in chronological order after a few repetitions of the story. The Jesus Storybook Bible is a great resource for the storytelling piece of this activity. You can order a set of eggs online or get creative and come up with your own story objects, including:
- 12 plastic eggs
- something to represent the Palm Sunday story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem, such as a tiny plastic donkey or a piece of a fir tree
- a cotton ball soaked in perfume for Mary anointing Jesus’ body for burial
- a piece of bread or a mini cup for the Last Supper
- three dimes to represent the 30 silver coins Judas received for betraying Jesus
- a cross made from toothpicks
- a crown of thorns twisted from a tree twig
- dice to represent the soldiers dividing up Jesus’ clothes
- nails for Jesus nailed to the cross
- a corner of a sponge for the vinegar soldiers offered Jesus on the cross
- spices such as whole cloves, a cinnamon stick or a bay leaf for Jesus’ body prepared for burial
- a stone that sealed the tomb
- and finally, nothing in the one egg to represent the empty tomb
Remind with Resurrection Rolls: A simple crescent roll surrounding a butter-drenched marshmallow dipped in cinnamon bakes up beautifully and demonstrates the empty tomb as the marshmallow melts while baking. Check out step-by-step instructions and visuals here.
You could also use Legos, barnyard animals, or other toys and home objects to recreate a scene from the Easter story. In whatever way you choose to celebrate this season of Easter, we pray your hearts will be filled with joy and thanksgiving. In the comments section below, or in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love for you to share your ideas and traditions, along with other ways you’re preparing your heart and home for the holiday, as a way to encourage each other. Feel free to include pictures!