Send this plan home with children so their families can participate in family devotions the entire week of Easter.
Palm Sunday Family Devotion
Read aloud Mark 11:1-11.
Make palm-leaf cookies by following these steps:
- Cut frozen cookie dough into 2 x 1/2-inch strips.
- Place aluminum foil on a cookie sheet and spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
- Roll the cookie strips and shape them into an outline of a palm leaf on the foil. Close all edges in the outline.
- Crush green candies in a bag with a hammer, and sprinkle to fill in the cookie center.
- Bake at 375 degrees for about eight minutes.
With your family, contrast the sweetness of the cookies with the harshness of breaking the candies with a hammer. Tell your children that this was a sweet day for Jesus, but he knew that soon he would be broken—or would die—for our sins.
Read aloud Mark 11:15-18.
Tell your children that this area of the temple was the place non-Jews could come to pray, but it had become a dirty, noisy, unworshipful place.
Together, decorate a worshipful space in your home for Easter Week. Include a Bible, candles, and an area to display the items you’ll use this week. A small, bare tree branch laced with white Christmas lights makes a nice backdrop.
You can review these items at the beginning of each devotion. Light the candles or turn on the lights only during devotions to keep it special and meaningful.
Read aloud Mark 14:3-9.
This woman gave Jesus a gift that was very precious. We can give gifts that come from our heart, too.
Have each family member share something he or she can do to honor Jesus. As each person shares, spray perfume into the air or on the person.
Decorate a beautiful piece of paper and form a cylinder around the perfume bottle for display at your family worship space.
Read aloud Matthew 26:14-16.
- 30 dimes.
Tell kids that Judas betrayed Jesus for about 120 days of wages. Let the kids count the dimes and place them at your family worship space.
- Was Jesus’ life on earth worth more than 30 pieces of silver? Why or why not?
- What was the true value of Jesus’ life to our family?
Maundy Thursday Family Devotion
Read aloud John 13:1-5.
- a bowl,
- a bar of soap, and
- paper towels
Jesus washed feet to show his love. Have a bowl, a bar of soap, and paper towels ready. Take turns washing each other’s hands and drying them as you express love to each other.
Display the soap at your family worship space.
Good Friday Family Devotion
Read aloud Mark 15:21-39.
- two horseshoe or carpenter’s nails,
- light gauge wire, and
- a shoelace for each child.
Follow these steps:
- Help children lay their nails across each other like a cross, then start wrapping the wire around the point where the nails intersect to bind the nails into a cross.
- Crisscross the wire in the center.
- Have the kids recall an event of the Crucifixion with each wrap.
- Wrap more wire around the top and make a loop to hold the shoelace.
Encourage family members to wear this as a cross to remember that Jesus died for them on Good Friday.
Read aloud Mark 15:42-47.
- toilet paper
Take turns wrapping each other in toilet paper just as Jesus may’ve looked when prepared for burial. Talk about how the disciples might’ve felt when all their hopes seemed destroyed when Jesus died.
- What do you want to say to Jesus to thank him for dying for you?
Talk about how the burial isn’t the end of the story, but that it was a very sad day for Jesus’ friends.
Easter Family Devotion
Read aloud Luke 24:1-9.
- cupcakes and
- a trick re-lighting candle.
Light it and talk about how Jesus came to be the light of the world. On Saturday, it looked like the light had been blown out.
Blow out the candle and wait in silence while the flame is gone. When the flame comes back, celebrate!
Point out that nothing can ever snuff out Jesus, the light of the world.
Lori Niles is the teaching director of Moreland Family Preschool, an associate pastor, and a teacher at the seminary level in Portland, Oregon.