Welcome guests and your church family with these wild and fun Easter games. They’re a great companion for your Bible lessons and activities from Palm Sunday through Jesus’ resurrection. With high-energy and low-energy games and yummy Easter-themed snacks, there’s something for everyone!
1. Outdoor Game: Pave the Way
Palm Sunday: Matthew 21:1-11
Use this game to introduce how people prepared the way for Jesus to enter Jerusalem.
- a Bible and
- green and gray paper.
Say: Palm Sunday got its name from what the people did when Jesus arrived at Jerusalem near the time of his death. The people lined up along the sides of the road. Read aloud Matthew 21:8-9.
Have kids get in teams of three and line up along one end of your parking lot or church lawn. Give each team one sheet of green paper and one of gray paper. Say: Let’s play a game. Two of you (the crowd) will make a path for your other team member (the donkey rider) using the “palm leaves” (green paper) and “coats” (gray paper). The donkey rider can step only on the palm leaves and coats, so the crowd will have to move them to keep the donkey rider moving. Show teams how to move the paper from behind the donkey rider to ahead of him or her to keep the donkey rider moving. Once your donkey rider reaches the finish line, switch roles. Continue until everyone’s been a donkey rider.
Establish a start and finish line, and begin the race.
- What are ways you welcome Jesus into your everyday life?
2. Indoor Game: Hot Bread
The Last Supper: Matthew 26:17-30
Use this game to help kids know that Jesus forgives us.
- a Bible,
- a packaged loaf of bread, and
Read aloud Matthew 26:17-22.
Say: Let’s play a game to think about that. Use the packaged bread to play Hot Potato. (When the music plays, pass the loaf. When it stops, the one holding it is out.) Play until only one person is left.
Say: No one wanted to get stuck with the bread because that person had to leave the game. In the same way, Jesus’ friends didn’t want to be the one he was talking about—the one to leave Jesus.
- Think of when you’ve betrayed Jesus by something you did. Invite kids to share if they want to.
Say: The good news is, when we’re friends with Jesus, we never have to leave him. Jesus gave his body on the cross, and God forgives us when we do something wrong.
Read Matthew 26:26. Say: We remember that Jesus died for us and accept his forgiveness when we take communion. Invite children to talk to Jesus silently as they eat the bread.
3. Outdoor Game: Wash My Feet
Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet: John 13:1-17
Use this game to talk about Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.
- a Bible,
- a bucket of warm soapy water (use hand or body soap),
- one washcloth for every 10 kids, and
- washable markers.
Read aloud John 13:1-5. Say: Let’s play a foot-washing game. Have kids get in teams of five, and give each team member a number from one to five. Establish a playing field, and have teams evenly disperse along the borders of the playing field. Place the bucket in the center of the playing field, and put the washcloths in it.
Have kids remove their shoes and socks and use the washable markers to make a distinct mark on each of their feet. Say: When I call your number, race to get a washcloth and return to your team along the border without being tagged. If you make it, wipe the mark from only one of your team member’s feet. There are several washcloths, but if you don’t get one, try to tag someone who did before that person reaches his or her team. As soon as you’ve washed off one person’s foot, race to return the washcloth to the bucket. I’ll keep calling numbers until one team has cleaned the marks off all their team members’ feet.
After the game, ask:
- What was it like to have your feet washed at the end of the game?
- What about if your feet weren’t washed?
Read John 13:6-10. Say: Jesus wants every one of us to be friends with him, and when we believe in him, he cleans us of every wrong thing we’ve ever done and will do.
4. Indoor Game: Betrayal in the Dark
Jesus Is Betrayed by Judas: Luke 22:47-53
Use this game to talk about Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.
- a Bible and
- playing cards (one card per child, but only one ace and one king).
Give each child a playing card, and have kids keep their cards secret. Say: When the lights are out, you’ll walk around our room. If you have the ace, you’re the Betrayer. If you have the king, you’re the King. The Betrayer will try to tap the King. If someone taps you, squat where you are and stay still. Don’t tell who tapped you. We’ll play for one minute, and when the lights come on, those still standing get two guesses to figure out who the Betrayer is. If they guess right, they win. If the King was tapped in the game, the Betrayer wins. Play several rounds.
- What was it like to be betrayed? to be the betrayer?
Read aloud Luke 22:47-48. Say: Even though Jesus knew Judas would betray him, he went willingly so he could save the whole world. Let’s thank Jesus that real life isn’t like our game; even in the midst of darkness, Jesus always wins. Lead children in prayer.
5. Outdoor Game: Join the Team
Jesus Is Crucified: Luke 23:26-49
Use this game to show that Jesus wants us all on his team.
- two sports jerseys, and
- a ball.
Say: Let’s play a game to help us think about the impact Jesus had because of what he went through on the day of his crucifixion.
Gather kids on the lawn or parking lot, and establish boundaries. Give two kids jerseys to put on— these two will play catch with a ball while the rest of the players scatter around the playing field. When a jersey player has the ball, he or she can tag other players to join his or her team. No one can hold the ball for more than five seconds. Play until everyone is tagged.
Say: Like we all got tagged to be on a team, Jesus wants everyone in the world to join his family. Read aloud Luke 23:39-42. Jesus’ love was for both of the criminals, even though only one asked to be with Jesus. Have kids look at Luke 23:33-48 to find all the people mentioned.
- How do you feel knowing Jesus died for everyone? Invite kids to talk to Jesus for a few minutes.
6. Indoor Game: Bury the Sock
Jesus’ Body Is Buried in a Tomb: Luke 23:50-56
Use this game to talk about Jesus’ burial.
- a Bible,
- one set of socks folded into a ball,
- one paper plate per child, and
- small goal posts. (To make small goal posts, make two stacks of books and place them about 5 inches apart.)
Set up a playing area by placing one small goal at each end, with about 15 feet between them. Form two teams. Say: Your team will try to get the sock ball into the other team’s goal. You can move the ball only by pushing it with a paper plate. The catch is, you have to make it into the goal without touching the sides of the goal. Have kids play for 10 to 15 minutes.
- What was it like trying to make goals?
Say: You had to be careful to get it right. Today we’re learning how Jesus’ body was cared for when it was placed in the tomb. Read aloud Luke 23:50-55.
- Why do you think they dealt carefully with Jesus’ body?
- What are the ways you honor Jesus?
7. Outdoor Game: The Four Bases
Jesus’ Resurrection: Luke 24:1-12
Use this game to review the day of Jesus’ resurrection.
- a Bible,
- a rubber ball, and
- four bases.
Say: Jesus made it so we can be forgiven for the wrong things we do. Let’s play a game of kickball that reminds us of what the women experienced at Jesus’ resurrection.
Form two teams and play a traditional game of kickball, except when runners reach the following bases, they’ll do these actions before moving to the next base.
- First: Run in place for 10 steps and pretend to carry a bundle of spices. (Luke 24:1)
- Second: Turn in a circle three times to show the women looked around for Jesus’ body. (Luke 24:2-3)
- Third: Fall to the ground and then jump up and cheer that Jesus is alive. (Luke 24:4-6a)
- Home: Count aloud to 11 to symbolize the disciples they told. (Luke 24:9)
- How hard was it to remember all the steps? Read aloud Luke 24:6b-7.
- The women had also forgotten what would happen and had to be reminded. What’s something you forget about Jesus sometimes?
- What’s something that’s easy for you to remember about Jesus?
8. Indoor Game: He Drew, She Drew
Jesus’ Resurrection: John 20:1-10
Use this game to read about the day of Jesus’ resurrection.
- one set of notecards stapled into a pack of eight for each child, and
Say: We’re going to play a game to find out what happened after Mary found an empty tomb on Sunday morning. Lead kids to play Telephone Pictionary to cover each of the verses in John 20:2-10. Have kids form groups of eight, and give each person a notecard stack and a pencil. Assign each child in each group a different verse from John 20:2-10. If you don’t have even groups of eight, some kids can double up on verses.
Have all the kids look up their verses. They’ll write the verse address on a notecard and draw a picture to represent what happened in the verse. (Have kids who are doubling up draw a picture for two adjacent verses on one card.) Once kids finish drawing, they’ll pass their stacks to the left in their groups. With the new stack, they’ll look at the picture and bend it over so it’s at the bottom of the stack. On the new top card, they’ll write about what they think was happening in the picture. Next, kids pass their stacks to the left, and this time they’ll read what was written and then bend the card so it’s at the bottom of the stack. On the new top card, they’ll draw a picture to represent the sentence they just read. Continue this until the stacks get back to where they originated.
In their groups, have each child share the progression of drawings and sentences before reading the actual verse.
9. Outdoor Game: Freed By Jesus
- a Bible and
- foam balls.
Establish a large playing area. Select one child to be a Pharisee. This player will tag other players. When tagged, a player will sit and pretend to be sad like Jesus’ friends were when Jesus died. Select a different child to be Jesus. This player will stay outside the boundaries of the game and toss foam balls at “sad” players, who must catch the balls and then hold them up to be freed. Once freed, they move outside the boundaries and join Jesus’ team. Play for several minutes; then switch roles.
- What was it like to be “sad” in our game?
- What was it like when you were freed?
Say: This game reminds me of when two of Jesus’ friends were walking to Emmaus and they were sad because Jesus had died, but then Jesus showed up! Read aloud Luke 24:13-17.
10. Indoor Game: See It Appear
Jesus Appears in a Locked Room: John 20:24-29
Use this game to talk about how Thomas needed to see Jesus’ wounds to believe he was alive.
- a Bible,
- a die,
- paper, and
Read aloud John 20:24-29.
Play a version of the traditional British game called Beetle. Have kids sit in groups of five. Everyone gets a piece of paper and pen. Each person takes a turn rolling the die once and draws a body part according to the following list. Play continues around the circle until one player has drawn every part of Jesus’ body with his wounds.
- 1: Draw one of Jesus’ legs with feet for each roll of 1.
- 2: Draw one of Jesus’ arms with hands for each roll of 2.
- 3: Draw one of the following for each roll of 3: Jesus’ head, his neck, his eyes, his nose, his mouth, his ears.
- 4: Draw Jesus’ body/torso.
- 5: Draw one of the wounds on Jesus’ hands for each roll of 5.
- 6: Draw one of the wounds on Jesus’ feet for each roll of 6.
Say: Thomas heard all kinds of things, but it wasn’t until he saw Jesus’ wounds in his hands that he believed.
- What was it like waiting to see the whole body appear?
- When have you needed more information to believe something?
- Why do you believe in Jesus without seeing him?
Bonus Snack 1: Palm Sunday Palm Toast
- leaf-shaped cookie cutters,
- green food coloring,
- spreadable margarine, and
- plastic knives.
First, have kids use the cookie cutters to create leaf-shaped toast. Then have kids mix green food coloring with spreadable margarine and use plastic knives to make their “palm toast” green. If you don’t have access to toast, consider pre-baking leaf-shaped cookies and using green icing.
Bonus Snack 2: Resurrection Rolling Rock
- the ingredients to make chocolate oatmeal no-bake cookies (we like the recipe at sugarapron.com),
- green-colored powdered sugar (mix regular powdered sugar with powdered food coloring),
- plates, and
Have kids mix ingredients to make no-bake cookies and roll them into balls like rocks. Then have them roll the “rocks” in green-colored powdered sugar to add “moss” to the rocks.
Bonus Snack 3: Resurrection Pancake Tomb
- one pancake per child,
- a glass with a smaller diameter than the pancakes,
- old-fashioned ribbon candy or Airheads Xtremes Sweetly Sour Candy Belt candies,
- red licorice strings,
- chocolate kisses, and
- silver chenille wire.
Have kids use the rim of the glass to press a hole out of a pancake’s center. The pancake will be the tomb, and the hole is the opening. The cutout circle will be the rock that was rolled away. Place a small piece of the old-fashioned ribbon candy or Airheads candy roll in the opening to represent the cloth. Make stick people for Mary and Peter from the licorice string. Make wings from the chenille wire, and attach them to the chocolate kiss with the ends of the wire. Place this in the opening to represent the angel.
Bonus Snack 4: A Locked Room
- five graham crackers per child,
- Teddy Grahams,
- icing, and
- Skittles or M&M’s.
Have kids build cubes using graham crackers and icing. Then have them leave the bottom open (no graham cracker there). Have them each stick a Skittles or M&M’s candy to one graham cracker side to make a doorknob. To retell how Jesus appeared in the locked room, they can lift the house and slide the Teddy Graham under so he’s in the room without opening the “locked” door.