Use these Easter ideas to celebrate Easter with children.
A New Dozen
Easter eggs are a great way to tell about Easter. The filled plastic Easter eggs can be opened at home on different days of Holy Week, used to tell the purpose of an egg hunt, or illustrate a sermon on Easter morning. Keep the surprise element year after year by changing the contents of the eggs and the details of the Gospel story that you focus on. Here, along with the classic contents, are new items that are sure to keep your kids’ interest piqued. Because of the small size of these items, use them only with children ages 4 and older.
- Gray fleece or a tiny donkey to represent the donkey borrowed by Jesus’ disciples in Jerusalem (Matthew 21:2-5);
- Palm branch or a doll’s coat to represent the reaction of the crowd in Jerusalem (Matthew 21:8-11);
- Three silver coins or 30 dimes to represent Judas’ payment for his betrayal (Matthew 26:14-15);
- A strip of terry cloth fabric to represent the towel Jesus wore as he washed the disciple’s feet (John 13:4-11);
- A miniature cup or a broken piece of matzo to represent the Last Supper (Matthew 26:17-29);
- Miniature praying hands to represent the praying hands of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42);
- A watch to represent Jesus’ question to his disciples about watching and praying with him (Mark 13:37);
- A rooster figure or a feather to represent Peter’s denials (Luke 22:61);A piece of rope to represent Jesus’ arrest (John 18:12);
- A leather strip to represent when Jesus was beaten (John 19:1);A small piece of soap to represent Pilate washing his hands of Jesus’ sentencing (Matthew 27:20-24);
- Thorns or a piece of a rose bush to represent the crown of thorns Jesus wore (Matthew 27:29);
- A cross or two sticks to represent the cross Jesus carried and was crucified on (John 19:16-22);
- Three nails to represent how Jesus was nailed to the cross (John 19:16-22);A toy soldier or dice to represent the soldiers who gambled for Jesus’ clothing (John 19:23-24);
- Color the inside of one egg with a black permanent marker to represent the darkness that fell at noon (Luke 23:44-45);
- A piece of sponge or a cotton ball soaked in vinegar to represent the gall offered to Jesus (John 19:28-30);
- A toothpick-end dipped in red paint and dried to represent the piercing of Jesus’ side (John 19:32-37);
- A shattered or split rock to represent the earthquake that occurred when Jesus died (Matthew 27:51, 54);
- Purple cloth to represent the torn curtain in the temple (Matthew 27:51);Gauze or strips of muslin to represent Jesus’ grave clothes (Matthew 27:57-61);
- Cinnamon stick or a tiny bottle of perfume to represent the burial spices the women prepared (Luke 23:55-56);
- A rock and chunk of paraffin to represent the sealed tomb (Matthew 27:65-66);Empty egg to represent the empty tomb (Matthew 28:5-8);
- An angel or a gold chenille stem twisted into a halo (John 20:12);
- A chick or a flower bud to represent the new life we can have in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17);
- Cotton batting to represent Jesus’ ascension through the clouds (Luke 24:51-53);A tiny Bible to remind kids to tell others the wonderful story (Luke 24:46-50).
A Living Cross
Construct a 6- to 8-foot cross from lumber. Then cover it with chicken wire. Mount the cross on your church lawn. Fill the chicken wire with palm fronds from Palm Sunday. Invite your children and adults to bring fresh flowers on Easter morning to place on the cross. Have classes take turns putting their flowers on the cross as they recite John 3:16. This living cross reminds children that Jesus is alive, and it creates a great background for family photos on Easter morning.
Susan Grover San Juan Capistrano, California
Jesus Covered My Sins
Construct a 6- to 8-foot cross from lumber, and mount it on a base so it stands upright. The week before Easter or early in the Easter worship service, give each child a piece of red paper. On their papers, have children write specific sins they’ve committed or just their names as they remember a sin that needs to be confessed. Play music as children walk to the cross to tape or nail their red papers onto it.
Next, give each child a dozen white tissues and a white chenille stem. Show children how to fold the tissues like an accordion fan, tightly wrap the chenille stem around the center of the tissues, then fan out the layers of the tissues to create a large white flower. As you play or sing praise music again, have the children put their white flowers on the cross, covering all the red papers to celebrate Christ’s gift of forgiveness. Afterward take photos of the children in front of the cross.
Anthony Guynes and Jan Kraushaar Irvine, California
Easter Gospel Cross Garden
As children enter your worship area on Easter morning, give them each two wooden paint-stirring sticks. Direct the kids to an area where an adult will help them hot glue the sticks to create a cross. After telling the Easter story, have children each use a permanent marker to write on their cross what it means to them that Jesus is alive. Then take the kids out to your church’s front yard where they’ll press the crosses into the dirt to create a garden of crosses. This is a wonderful surprise gift to your congregation in remembrance of Christ’s resurrection.
Susan Grover San Juan Capistrano, California
Light From the Broken Pieces
Theme: Christ’s Exaltation As KingText: John 1:4
Preparation: For each child, you’ll need a 1-inch piece of cardboard tube (from a paper towel roll), spray-painted gold; scissors; several sequins or small plastic jewels; glue; one-half of a clean shell from an extra-large egg; and a votive candle. You’ll also need an uncracked egg, one-half of a clean shell from an extra-large egg, a bowl, a completed crown (see directions below), a votive candle, a match, and a Bible.
The Gospel Message: Jesus left his home in heaven where he was a king. (Show the crown.) He came to earth as a fragile human being, just like you and me. (Show the egg.) When people decided they didn’t want this man to be their king, they hung him on a cross, and his body was broken. (Break the egg into the bowl.) Jesus’ life was poured out, much like this egg is being poured out. What do we usually do with broken eggshells?
People planned to toss away Jesus too, but God had another plan. God took Jesus’ broken body, and gave him back his heavenly crown. (Set the clean eggshell half in the crown. Read the Scripture.) God raised Jesus from the dead and made him the light of the world. (Place the votive candle in the eggshell and light it.)
God replaced Jesus’ broken, empty shell with life and gave him power and authority. God wants us to share the light of Jesus with others. We’re going to make these candle holders to remind us of what God did with Jesus’ broken body to give us new life.
(Give each child a section of the cardboard tube painted gold. Have them each cut notches on one edge of the roll to create a crown. Have them glue on the decorations. Give the kids each an eggshell and a votive candle to put inside of the crown.)