7 Activities to teach kids about Easter

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.easter

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:

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.003Empty 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.

011Butterflies: 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.

butterflyResurrection 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.Resurrection RollsLamb 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.

Lamb cupcakesJelly 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.013

Easter garden:  This idea went viral on my Facebook and Pinterest feed last year and instead of just looking at it, I did a unique thing.  I decided to actually make it.  Shocking, I know!  My daughters and I had 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.  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.Easter Garden

Of course, we don’t miss out on the basics.  We go to church and worship on Easter Sunday.  At night, we read from different children’s devotionals or the Bible, walking our kids through what Scripture says about the week of the Passion.

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 © 2014 Heather King


What Makes this Good?

She asked me why we call it “Good Friday.”  Why “good?”

Why “Happy Easter” or “Happy Resurrection Day?”

What makes this so “happy?”

How could we celebrate this death, this sacrifice, this sadness?  We should be so much more serious and sad, she tells me.P1040320

Like the disciples who mourned, like Mary Magdalene crying beside the tomb, surely we should remember this day with tears.

This she asks in confusion.

On Thursday, we ate the bread and drank the cup.

That’s what Jesus said that night in the upper room with disciples scattered around:  “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19 NIV).

So, we remember.

She is thinking of grape juice and crackers, a snack when you’re hungry, but I tell her it’s more than that.

And she asks, why do this?  Why talk about blood–so gross, so morbid and earthy?

It’s too corporeal for holiness and for the sacred places, the striking red against the purity of the righteous life.

Why Mom?

That’s yucky.

I think today about the remembrance of it all and why it matters.

Today is Good Friday.

It’s also the eight-year anniversary of my dad’s death.

This morning, I sat with my daughter brushing her hair and telling her about my dad: little remembrances here and there and what makes today special.

So, what makes this a day holy and set apart from other days?  Why Good Friday?

Because there’s beauty in the remembrance.  There’s honor and power in recollection.

I think this about my dad today.  Talking about him makes his life real here and now after death.  It makes it more tangible, relevant.

These daughters of mine who never knew him and only see the pictures in a photo album, mostly after he was sick and didn’t look like the dad I remember, what other way for them to know than for me to tell?

And you just don’t want this day to slip by forgotten because it would be forgetting him.

Is it any different remembering our Savior in this season?

In German, they don’t call this day Good.  They call it Mourning Friday.

But isn’t that the beauty of this day?  That even as we remember Christ’s death, even as we talk about the cross and give it true attention, even as we drink the cup so apt to stain white and we eat the bread broken, even as we tell our children the stories and we say:

This is what He did for us.  Not some pristine ritual, not something pure and clean.  It was bloody and painful.  It was death.  It was hard.  And sacrifice like that was suffering. 

It wasn’t pushed on Him because He was too weak.  Jesus “made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:7-8 NIV).

This is what He chose to do for us because of love so great. 

Love so good.  Love so amazing, so divine…

Even as we say this and tell this to our children, the beauty of remembering the cross isn’t just the Mourning of our Savior, it’s the Good News that the resurrection came.

Why Good?

Why Happy?

I tell her remembering is how we worship, how we give thanks, how we honor His gift to us.

And that gift wasn’t just a trinket wrapped in a package with a bow.

It was good.  Truly good.  The greatest gift at the highest price.

And the resurrection; that’s our joy.  What better reason to be happy than to know the cross was not the end and the tomb didn’t destroy our hope?

Because of this, we have life everlasting.

And because of that day, we can see any crisis as an opportunity for Him to shine with resurrection power, to resurrect the dead, to defy all expectations and trample all over the circumstantial evidence by doing the impossible.

Yes, this remembering is good.

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 upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King