Here are 8 surprising Easter ideas to celebrate the Easter season, from Easter soap eggs to involving treasure hunts.
Two holidays stand out in the minds of almost every Christian as our high holy days–Christmas and Easter.
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Christmas is the celebration of Christ coming to earth as a baby.
And then there was light!
Easter is the realization of why Christ came. It’s a time of reflection on the death of Christ and of rejoicing in his resurrection.
And then there was life!
Don’t miss out on the opportunities to create memorable lessons for your children during this Easter season. Use the following ideas to direct children toward the risen Jesus so they see the true meaning of this holy season.
EASTER SOAP EGGS
• Theme: New life in Jesus • Text: John 3:1-8, 16
• Preparation: You’ll need glycerin soap blocks, soap fragrance, egg-shaped molds (all available at craft stores) and small crosses (available at most Christian bookstores or at Oriental Trading, www.oriental.com or 800-228-2269). Melt the glycerin and add fragrance according to directions. Then pour it into the molds, filling them halfway. Let the molds sit for two to three minutes until a crust forms on top of the soap. Place a small cross on each mold, and fill the rest of the mold with the glycerin. Let the soap harden completely. (You can put them in the freezer to speed up the process.) Remove the soap eggs from the mold. Make a soap egg for each child.
• The Message: (Give each child a soap egg.) These soap eggs can remind us of some very special things. What special surprise does an egg sometimes have in it? Many baby animals are born from eggs. What are some animals that are born from eggs?
(Read John 3:1-8.) This Scripture tells us that getting new life from Jesus is like being born again. How do we get this new life? (Read John 3:16.) This soap egg is my gift to you. When you see the cross, remember that God gave us his son so we could have new life. (Close by thanking God that he sent Jesus to give us new life.)
Jill Witt Algona, Iowa
2. COOKIE POPS
Follow your favorite sugar cookie recipe to make these cookies on a stick. Roll the dough to approximately ½-inch in thickness. Cut out large cross-shaped cookies. (You can create your own template or freehand the shape with a knife.) Press a cookie stick about 2 inches into each cookie. Bake until the cookie edges are golden. Frost when cool. (You can buy 6-inch cookie sticks at craft or culinary stores, or from Wilton at www.wilton.com).
3. EASTER EGG HUNT
We always have an Easter egg hunt for our Kids’ Church (ages 4 to 12) where we hide plastic eggs filled with candy. But it’s a struggle to make sure everyone has an equal amount of candy and is pleased with the outcome.
This year we hid the eggs as usual, but all the eggs were empty. We gave the younger kids a one-minute head start. Children put their eggs in their brown paper sacks and couldn’t open them. Then we had the children put the bags under their chairs and listen to the Easter story.
When I got to the part about how Jesus’ friends came to the tomb and found something they didn’t expect, I paused and said, “You all know the rest of the story, so go ahead and open your eggs.” There was a range of immediate responses. The older boys were upset that there was nothing in the eggs. Younger children were sad. I had the kids tell me how they felt to find their eggs empty.
I brought them back to the Easter story and told them that’s how the people who found Jesus’ empty tomb felt. This made a strong impression on the children.
I then finished the story of the Resurrection and told the children that Jesus had much more in store than an empty tomb-and so did I. We gave each child pre-packed, equally filled bags of candy. Our kids were surprised and pleased.
Lori Warning Bettendorf, Iowa
4. EASTER EGG SURPRISES
• Theme: New life in Christ
• Text: Luke 24:45-47
• Preparation: You’ll need three 9-inch egg-shaped balloons; pastel paints; a craft knife; a small stuffed bunny; a small Easter basket, with or without candy; a small Bible; and several 3×5 cards.
One week before Easter, papier-mâché the three balloons (see the “Papier-Mâché Fun” box). Once dry, cut large enough openings in the balloons so you can place the stuffed bunny in the first balloon, the small Easter basket in the second balloon, and the small Bible inside the third balloon. Replace the cutout pieces and apply more papier-mâché to seal the Easter eggs.
Allow the eggs to dry. Then paint them with pastels. On Easter Sunday before children arrive, hide the eggs in areas in or near your room. On separate 3×5 cards, write clues about where each egg is hidden.
• The Message: Today is a special day. What day is it? What fun things do you do on Easter? What do you like most about those things?
How many of you have an Easter egg hunt on Easter? Easter egg hunts are fun, and today we’re going on the most important Easter egg hunt of all. We’re going to hunt for the real meaning of Easter. (Have three children help you find the true meaning of Easter. Give one child the clue to the egg with the Easter bunny inside. When that child finds the egg, crack it open by hitting it against the corner of a table or a chair. Show children what’s inside.) Well, a bunny is something we see at Easter time, but I don’t know if that really is the true reason we celebrate Easter. We should look some more.
(Repeat the same process with the second egg.) Easter baskets and candy are something we see at Easter, aren’t they? How many of you get candy at Easter? Is that what Easter is really about?
(Repeat the same process with the third egg.) Here’s a Bible. Let’s see if we can find the real meaning of Easter in here. Let’s read Luke 24:45-47. (Read the Scripture. Then tell children how they can trust Jesus for eternal life. Close in prayer.)
Cindy Schmidt Mulvane, Kansas
5. EASTER TREASURE HUNT
For Easter we have an Easter treasure hunt. We have groups of children visit 14 numbered locations around our church where they read Scriptures related to Holy Week and receive items or “treasures” related to those Scriptures.
We place the children, whom we call Treasure Hunters, into groups of no more than 10. We assign each group an adult Treasure Leader. The Treasure Leader has an “Easter Treasure Hunt Guide” that includes the Scriptures and treasures the groups will collect. Groups go to their first location (each group’s location is different) where an adult called a Treasure Keeper asks them to read a Scripture and gives them an item or “treasure” related to that Scripture. The Treasure Keeper then marks off that treasure on the group’s guide.
Lisa Keeling Cedar Park, Texas
EASTER TREASURE HUNT GUIDE
Treasure Leaders and Treasure Keepers all need a copy of this list.
1. Mark 14:3-9 Perfume
2. Matthew 26:14-16 Nickels
3. John 12:12-16 Palm Branches
4. Luke 22:19 Bread
5. Luke 22:47-53 Ear
6. Luke 22:54-62 Feathers
7. Matthew 27:22-25 Water
8. John 19:2-3 Purple Cloth
9. Mark 15:21 Cross
10. Luke 23:38-43 Sign
11. John 19:28-30 Sponge
12. John 19:38-42 Spices
13. Matthew 28:1-7 Stone
14. John 20:24-29 Nail
6. REMEMBER EASTER
To help children remember the true meaning of Easter, we do the following activity.
For each child, you’ll need six plastic eggs, a marshmallow chick (to symbolize new life), an angel figure or an angel to color, a small stone, a coloring picture of a sun rising, and a small wooden cross (to symbolize Jesus’ resurrection).
Have children put one item in each egg and keep one egg empty to represent the empty tomb. Gather children in a circle with their eggs.
As you read aloud the following poem, have children show the egg that corresponds with each line:
E is for Easter, coming again soon, (marshmallow chick)
A is for angels near the tomb, (angel figure)
S is for the stone which was rolled away, (stone)
T is for the tomb found empty that day, (empty egg)
E is for early morning, the women are glad, (sunrise picture)
R is for the risen Lord, no need to be sad. (cross)
Susan Grover Rancho
Santa Margarita, California
7. SIN BULLETIN BOARD
• Theme: Jesus forgives our sins
• Text: John 3:16
• Preparation: You’ll need a pair of safety scissors for each child, orange paper, markers, staples and a stapler, a 3×4-foot foam core cross, and a plain bulletin board.
• The Message: Think of something you’ve done wrong that you feel bad about. That’s a sin. (Give each child a piece of orange paper and a pair of safety scissors.) Now cut a shape out of the orange paper that reminds you of that sin. We’ll pretend that this orange shape is our sin; don’t write anything on your paper. Now, I’m going to give you some time to ask God to forgive you for your sin.
(Take the orange shapes from the children and staple them in a line from the top of the board to the bottom. Then show children the foam core cross.)
Even though Jesus died a painful death on an ugly cross for us, the cross has become something beautiful because of what it stands for. Jesus died because he loves us and wants us to have everlasting life.
(Staple the cross over the orange papers.) Jesus covers our ugly sins with his beautiful life. Let’s make this cross beautiful with flowers and other brightly colored drawings. (Have children decorate the cross with markers. Close by thanking God that Jesus’ cross covers our sins.)
Melodee Lovering Dundalk, Ontario
8. THE RESURRECTION TRAIL
We create a Resurrection Trail at our church and let children visit these different stations that tell the Easter Story.
Whom Do You Seek?
• What you’ll need-The first station is located inside, near the entrance to your church sanctuary. Build a huge cardboard tomb, painted to look like gray rock. Turn out most of the lights. You’ll need a lamp, a bag of spices, an angel in a robe, a cardboard tombstone, and a sheet.
• What you’ll do-Have the three “Marys” walk to the tomb carrying a lamp and a bag of spices.
When the group gets to the tomb, they’re met by a white-robed angel who asks the Marys, “Whom do you seek?”
They reply, “Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.”
The angel replies, “He is not here.” (At this point the angel rolls away a cardboard stone to show an empty tomb with a folded white sheet inside.) The angel continues, “Now go and tell his disciples that the Lamb of God has risen and has become the strong Lion of Judah!”
The Marys all bow their heads and say, “The Lord is risen who was crucified for us! Alleluia!”
At this point, the children sing an Easter song.
The New Fire
• What you’ll need-For this station, you need a flint and steel kit that you can order through the Boy Scouts distributor at www.scoutstuff.org. Use very fine steel wool and several candles. Do this on a wood or metal shelf, and have a pail of water handy in case of fire. For safety, do this station outside the church on your concrete walk.
• What you’ll do-Explain that there are some things that seem impossible to us, yet for God nothing is impossible. When the disciples saw Jesus die on the cross, they must’ve thought there was no hope of his ever living again after such a horrible death.
But with God nothing is impossible. Say, “If I told you that I could make steel burn red hot just by hitting a stone against another piece of steel, you might think that is impossible, too. But watch what happens.”
Strike the flint against the steel above an unfolded pad of very fine steel wool. If it catches the spark, it’ll start glowing red immediately. Blow on it gently to get a flame that you can light several candles from. Take these candles inside and set them in front of a cross at the front of the sanctuary. Explain that God relit the world by raising his son Jesus from the dead, and that Jesus is the light of the world.
The Resurrection Path
• What you’ll need-This activity requires brightly colored paper sandal footprints. Lay out a trail of these sandal prints all around your church, so children get the idea of walking in Jesus’ footsteps. End the trail in a darkened room. Place different shoes at the start of the trail, including baby shoes, kids’ athletic shoes, slippers, and work boots as a reminder that all Christians can walk in Jesus steps. You’ll also need a picture of Jesus blessing the children, and a hollow chocolate Easter egg for each child.
• What you’ll do-Before starting on the path, read aloud Romans 6:4. Lead children along the path. In the darkened room at the end of the trail, present the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Then show a picture of Jesus blessing the children. Conclude with Paul’s prayer from Ephesians 3:17, “I pray that Christ Jesus will make his home in your hearts.”
Turn on the lights and conclude the Resurrection Path by saying, “Jesus rose from his tomb. We can remember this every time we crack open an egg because when we see the empty shell, it helps us remember that when the angel rolled away the stone, there was no one inside the tomb.”
Then give each child a hollow, chocolate Easter egg as a reminder.