Easter Ideas for Little One’s

Tips and creative ideas to make such a deep topic relate-able to young children!

I’ve learned in my 5.5 short years of parenting to never underestimate a child’s ability to understand.  Their understanding of something like Easter and the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf might look a little bit different than ours as adults, but it is no less genuine or deep.

My early Easter memories are so meaningful.   God got a hold of my life at a very young age and Easter was always a mind-blowing time.  I’m thankful for how intentional my parents were in celebrating this time of year.

I discovered three years ago that in these early years, I needed to put in some advance prep if they were to understand anything…  Life can get so busy.  And with a 2.5 year old and 6 month old, it seemed that in the time that I blinked, Easter had come and gone.

So I resolved to plan and prepare for following years, so I could slow my life down, reflect and share the joy of this time with my children.

There are some general principles that I’ve gleaned.

One of the most important at this age is to NEVER leave Jesus on the cross.  At this tender age, it is too difficult to deal with the brutality of the cross without the hope of the resurrection.

So as we talk about the cross and what Jesus did for us there, we always give the whole story.  Apart from the resurrection, there would be no good news.  They need the whole story.  And all in one sitting.

We need to make it concrete.

Before the age of reason, which occurs around 7 years old, it is challenging for children to deal with abstract truth.  Making our celebrations interactive and hands-on helps bring these great truths down to their level.

  • Act the story out What kid doesn’t like costumes?  Include Palm Sunday too!
  • Utilize paper dolls or figurines.  We had the coolest 3D paper doll resurrection scene as children.  I haven’t been able to find something like that, but Oriental Trading company has some resin sets for Palm Sunday and the Resurrection that could be equally powerful in the hands of a small child as she recreates the scene and acts it out.  They also have a very reasonably priced wooden set that we are in love with.  Play is, afterall, how children internalize what they have learned.
  • Prepare an Easter garden or some other recreation of Calvary and the Tomb.  I was inspired by the Easter garden at Holy Experience, but decided to do one that included both Calvary and the tomb.  Ann, calls it a visual parable.  I found another fabulous idea over at Mustard Seeds I love how she incorporated Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday together.  Her tutorial is amazing and black-thumb not withstanding, I actually think I could do it!

(photo credit : Janna at Mustard Seeds)

 

Emphasize Relationship! 

Easter is all about the Jesus coming down and dying on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin so that we can be restored to right relationship with God.  Even young children can understand the concept of being a part of God’s family.  We can utilize this opportunity to talk to them about how to relate to God.  We can point out that God speaks to us through the Bible as we read with them and encourage them to talk to God about anything and everything.

Get to the {heart} of Easter with this wonderful Heart Lesson.

 

Make it a BIG deal.

Advance preparations build anticipation.  Special activities and time spent reflecting and preparing for Easter build excitement.  This is a wonderful season to take stock of our priorities and enjoy special time with Jesus!

The cool thing about this is that there are so many ways to go about it.  Each family will celebrate in their own unique and wonderful way.  It has been such a joy to discover how families all over the globe celebrate Easter.

Building anticipation can even be as simple as getting new Easter outfits.  Growing up, we didn’t have much money, but each spring, my mom would take us out and we would pick out a beautiful summer dress, new shoes and frilly socks to wear on Easter Sunday.  In a house of little girls, the excitement was huge!  We couldn’t wait to wear our new outfits (not hand-me-downs).  It really helped build up for us that this was a very special occasion!

Here are some other wonderful traditions to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Read, read, read!  Read straight from the Bible.  Utilize a beautiful picture book.  I love having several books around the house this time of year.  Here are some of my favorites.  Taking time to read, reflect and talk to God about what you’ve read with your child is the most important thing you can do!
  • Encourage questions and talk with your child about what you’ve read.  I’m always amazed what comes up in conversation.  Bedtime seems to be a time when my boys really want to talk and reflect.  I never mind this time of delaying bedtime.
  • Palm Sunday – this helps set the stage for the beginning of Holy week.  We’ve enjoyed acting out this scene.  Grab a palm branch or make one using this super easy handprint idea or this cool tutorial.  We take turns having one ride in on the donkey (aka stick horse) while the others wave the branches, spread out the play silks and cry, “Hosanna, hosanna.  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

  • Water-color crosses.  This is the perfect craft for even those as young as one or two years old.  You simply place masking or painters tape down on card stock or watercolor paper in the shape of the cross and let your little one water color all over the paper.  Once it has dried, carefully remove the tape and ta da!

    • Paper-Mache Eggs-Tomb.  We did this last year and had so much fun with the process and then placing the angel in our empty tomb when we had completed it!  There is a link to the tutorial.
    • The Stone Rolled Away craft.  I’ve had this bookmarked for a while.  I just found another fun one here.
    • Resurrection Eggs – is a wonderful and simple way to count down to Easter while systematically explaining the meaning behind the events leading up to Good Friday.  You can make your own, or go to a Christian book store and buy them pre-made.

  • Road to Calvary banner and devotions.  We are enjoying doing this again this year.  This is not for the really young one’s, but some 4-6 year olds might be old enough to start understanding the symbolism.  We made ours out of felt, but it could just as easily be made out of poster board.  The book has the template for each symbol.
  • He Is Risen Rolls – given my boys penchent for cinnamon rolls, we’ll be giving these a try this year!
  • Teach your child an Easter related song.  If possible see if you can find one that you know you will sing at church on Sunday morning.  We lucked out and actually got a full list of the songs that will be sung and have already begun listening to them!
  • Jesus Is Alive finger play is a perfect way to review the account in a hands-on, moving kind of way that even the youngest in your family can participate in.  This active story takes children through Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension.

Jesus Is Alive

Jesus died upon the cross. (Rub your eyes as if crying.)

He was buried in a grave. (Bow your head.)

For three sad days, our Lord was dead (Count to three with your fingers.)

But then came Sunday morning.  (rest one forearm on top of the other.  Raise the top forearm to show the sun rising.)

When the women came to see (Have children stand up while holding hands.),

An earthquake shook the ground.  (Lean from side to side in a circle while continuing to hold hands.)

Jesus’ body was not there.  (Hang your head in sadness.)

He’d risen from the dead! (Jump and cheer)

He talked and walked with all his friends.  (Walk around and shake hands.)

He said: “Go tell the world. (Move your hands as if they were mouths.)

If the people will believe in me (Spread your hands to indicate all the people),

They’ll be my forever family. (Hug yourself.)

Then Jesus went up, up, up into heaven (stand on tiptoe and then jump up),

And we have a job to do.  (Have each child tell the child next to him that Jesus is alive!)

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

For more great ideas, check out my Easter Pinterest board!

An amazing resource to help your children grow in their understanding of and relationship with Jesus!

Comments

  1. Wow, I came here to add to your comment to me and didn’t expect to find so many great ideas!
    Thank you, thank you!
    I wanted to tell you to make sure you rub the kids’ hands in butter before they mold their nests or they will be a sticky mess and it won’t work! :)
    Have a good day!
    Heather

  2. Great ideas!!!

  3. I will have to remember to look here next year, or better yet talk to you. Feel like I have failed in this department this year. But I did get out the resurrections eggs and some stories. You always have wonderful ideas. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Each year will look different with some years having more activities and involvement.

    It has been more of a reflective year at our home than one saturated with activities like last year. And it is just what we needed this year!

  5. I love your ideas, Heather! I’ll be bookmarking this for next year. With all the pregnancy issues, this year’s Easter opportunities flew by with very few of our plans coming to fruition. I may do some of them late. And I will sure look forward to next year! :)

  6. What wonderful ideas! Such a beautiful way to teach little ones about the Savior.

  7. CherylinMA says:

    Thank you for sharing this on this month’s hands on carnival. I didn’t see it last year and seeing it today gives me time to prepare to do some of these awesome crafts and activities.

  8. Great ideas!!

  9. musicalmary says:

    These are all wonderful ideas! I love the watercolor crosses (so simple for any age!) and resurrection rolls. I’m visiting you from the link up A Meaningful Easter ~ so glad I stopped by!

    ~Mary

  10. oh amanda {impress your kids} says:

    WOW. I think I clicked on EVERY SINGLE LINK you put in. I love every word…it’s true what you said–don’t underestimate what a child can learn!

    Thank you for your post and for linking up w/Impress Your Kids!

  11. Mozi Esmé says:

    What an awesome list! It’s funny how many of the links I had on mine are also on yours – they are definite winners, it seems! I liked your point about never leaving Jesus on the cross, but ending with the resurrection…

  12. You have a VERY important point about not leaving Jesus on the cross when you explain Easter. I just wrote about this yesterday! We are Episcopal, and our Palm Sunday service includes a Passion Play about the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion…but it does not take us up to the resurrection. I feel it is important for children watching it to know that the story has a happy ending–as my son put it when he was 3, “the best news ever!!!”
    ‘Becca recently posted…How I told my child the Easter storyMy Profile

Trackbacks

  1. […] died and then the elation when they discovered that He was alive!   I’m a huge advocate of never leaving Jesus dead on the cross when explaining Easter to young children.  This book beautifully captures the sorrow and pain, but […]

  2. […] The Internet is full of ideas for resurrection gardens, of Easter projects that ask us to make hope tangible. […]

  3. […] times of year since I was a child.  I’ve talked about it before in sharing how to make it a big deal for young children…  There is simply no way to completely unpack all of the amazing facets that played into […]

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