I’ve been on a bit of a Mom Quest these past few years. We’ve never been an Easter bunny family who lines up for pictures at the mall or decorated the house with rabbits, chicks and eggs every spring.
Our goal as parents is to keep the focus on Jesus’ death and resurrection. That’s what we want our kids to remember, ask questions about, investigate and take to heart this season.
But when you bypass the bunnies in the Wal-Mart aisle, you can end up with Easter looking something like this:
Go to church in a pretty dress. The end.
I want to teach my kids that Jesus is the Reason for THIS Season, too, and that needs to be a big deal. Not just preaching at them; engaging them.
So, I’ve collected ideas that we do, some every year, some every few years to keep things new and interesting. Here are some of our favorite ways to focus on Jesus this holiday with some new additions since last year’s post!!!
Movie time: One of the most amazing discipleship resources we’ve found in the last few years is Phil Vischer’s What’s in the Bible?. The video series manages to offer an amazingly comprehensive overview of Scripture and answer some of kids’ most-asked questions about God and His Word. You can find many resources for teaching kids about Scripture on their website.
Choose a Bible reading plan for your family: We’ve found that reading the Bible itself together is often far more effective than many children’s devotionals available. If your kids are still young, of course, then a good children’s Bible or simple book about Easter would be a good place to start. You can check out The Jesus Storybook Bible for late-preschool to early elementary age children especially. Now that my kids are old enough, we’ve begun doing more and more Scripture reading as a family from the ‘regular Bible’ (AKA–not a story Bible). Right now, we’re reading through the book of Mark with my older daughters taking turns reading aloud.
Click here to print the Bible Reading plan: 30 Days in the Book of Mark.
You can also check out shorter plans and devotionals specifically for families in the YouVersion Bible app or you can download a Holy Week Devotional pack with Scripture readings, discussion guides and coloring pages from the What’s in the Bible site here.
Resurrection Eggs: It’s an oldie but a goodie, a classic that’s been around since I was a kid. I love the fact that the children drive the discussion in this activity. They open 12 eggs in a specific order. Each egg holds a symbol of an event in the Passion week. My kids tell what they think it might be about (the praying hands for the night Jesus prayed in the garden or the coins that Judas received to betray Jesus), and the booklet directs us to Scripture to fill in any blanks. You can buy your own set of pre-made Resurrections here or you can print the pictures that go with the story for free here and use your own plastic eggs.Empty Tomb Snack: This was so fun and only took a few minutes. Each of my kids could basically put the pieces of the snack together. I didn’t tell them what we were making, just gave them directions along the way. Once they put the Oreo in place, they knew we had made the empty tomb. Added bonus: Eating a yummy Entenmann’s chocolate doughnut (a secret passion of mine). You’re supposed to use shredded coconut dyed green for the grass, but coconut isn’t my favorite. So, I opted for green icing.
Butterflies: I order a cup of painted lady butterfly caterpillars every year from Insect Lore. We learn about how butterflies transform while also talking about a long-standing symbol of the resurrection—how the caterpillar goes into the chrysalis and seems to be dead, but then emerges with new life even more beautiful than before. It’s science and Scripture together at its best.
Resurrection Rolls: This was a new discovery this year and what a treat! It’s especially good to do on Holy Saturday, talking about preparing Jesus’ body for burial, placing him in the tomb and sealing it up tightly. When you open the rolls, they are empty inside. A great surprise for kids. It’s easy, too, with crescent rolls, melted butter, marshmallows, and cinnamon and sugar. Bam! Here are some great step-by-step directions.
Easter garden: This idea has gone viral on my Facebook and Pinterest feeds, so we’ve started planting our own little Easter garden each year. My daughters and I have the best time setting up our little potted garden. After all, it feels good to get your hands into a some potting soil in anticipation of spring! The grass grew very quickly, though, so I’d likely wait until closer to Easter to plant our garden again next year (about a week in advance). I loved that my kids were asking questions about the three crosses, about the size of the stone covering the tomb, and how it was rolled away.
Lamb cupcakes: These cupcakes aren’t just cute, they remind us that Jesus is the lamb of God. Just top a cupcake with white icing (I’m a cream cheese icing fan, personally) and cover with mini marshmallows and one large marshmallow cut in half for the lamb’s head. The kids mostly love the cupcake, but it’s also a great opportunity to talk about the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and why Jesus was the perfect sacrifice.
Jelly Bean prayer: This is truly simple and sweet. I put a handful of jelly beans in a baggie (at least one of each color) and include this little poem to walk my kids through the Gospel. And I sneak a few of my favorite flavors to eat while I’m packing the bag. That’s a mom bonus. Here’s where you can find a free printable for the prayer.
Resurrection Tree: I haven’t tried this one, but Christina Fox over at To Show Them Jesus shows how she makes a Resurrection Tree with her kids during the 40 days of Lent. She includes the Bible passages they read together and the picture/object they use to create an accompanying ornament to go on their tree. You can check out her post here.
Of course, we don’t miss out on the basics like going to church and specifically talking about the true meaning of Easter with our kids!
So, how do you teach your kids about Jesus’ death and resurrection during this season?
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2015 Heather King