Age & Stage
We can connect Easter traditions to the resurrection and share the good news of Christ’s sacrifice.
Are you looking for an alternative to giant bunnies and too much sugar this year? We have some great ideas to help you give your children a Christ-centered Easter.
Eggs have been part of celebrating the resurrection since medieval times when people used the symbolism of the egg for new life. Germans introduced the “Easter Hare” as a mythical creature that laid eggs and gave them to good children. For Christian parents, it’s better to use chicks and eggs to share about new life as the analogy reflects the emergence of Jesus from the empty tomb.
In our family, we created a treasure hunt for each child and let them choose to accept the treasure clues or not as a reminder that it is a choice for us to accept salvation or not. My younger daughter carries on this tradition with her children. We use each Easter activity to reinforce faith and celebrate the resurrection. We even connect God’s extravagant love to colorful baskets.
Baskets are great for celebrating God’s abundant love. Read the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand and the disciples gathering the leftover bread, in John 6:1-13. Jesus fed the hungry people and provided an abundance of tasty food. God loves us so much that he delights in blessing us. As parents, we delight in blessing our children. Just as they scrambled to get all the bread and filled twelve baskets, your children can gather up treasures to fill a basket. Add a basket of bread to your meal to connect the miracle of Jesus multiplying bread and the fish during Easter week of communion.
In that same account of feeding the hungry crowd, Jesus announced, “I am the Bread of Life.” Later, at the feast of Passover, in breaking bread with the disciples on Maundy Thursday, said, “This is my body.” And stated it was a sign of the new covenant (Luke 22:19-20). He gave us the gift of communion the night before he died for us. He loves your children so much!
Theories regarding Easter baskets date back to medieval times with blessing baskets of food and also giving baskets of goodies to celebrate the end of Lent and sacrificing sweets during that time. Switching it up to share God’s love is a great way to weave in John 3:16 and other scriptures about love.
One square of paper plus one strip for a handle makes a basket. Choose a 12-inch square of cardstock used in scrapbooking that comes in many patterns or colors, or use white paper that children can color before assembling the container. On either side of the paper, children can also add words or symbols related to Easter, to create a story basket. Directions are for a 12-inch square.
1. Measure and fold the paper into nine even squares, with fold lines three inches from each side.
2. Unfold the square. On two opposite sides cut along the fold lines 4 inches in, just to the first crossline fold. This forms flaps on the two sides.
3. Fold up a flap on one side. Fold in the two squares beside the flap until the two outer corners meet. Glue in place. Repeat for the other side. This forms the basket.
5. Cut a strip of paper to make a handle and glue it in place.
Optional: Instead of glue, use a hole punch and two paper fasteners to put the basket together. Punch a hole in the upper center of a basket side, then through all layers and push the fastener through the holes. Do this on both sides.
Make several baskets to decorate every room. Fill them in different ways.
Line one with napkins and fill with rolls, if you make them, for a dinner breadbasket.
Fill with eggs and discuss new life.
Have a new life hunt and use a basket to hold the items. Hunt for new leaves, buds, bird feathers, eggshell pieces, a baby’s finger traced on paper, a caterpillar, new socks, a new blade of grass, seeds, and a flower petal.
Create gratitude baskets with paper and pens for each person to thank Jesus for coming and to place their notes in the basket. Read them as a family to celebrate the resurrection.
Fill the basket with symbols of the Easter story and take turns taking one out and chatting about the Easter story, in age-appropriate words.
Use cinnamon sticks and twist ties to make a cross. The cross was painful but now it’s a sweet reminder of the love of Jesus and God’s power (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Eggs symbolize new life (Romans 6:4).
You can also use egg-shaped rocks with a permanent marker message or symbol (Acts 5:20).
Create a paper butterfly to reflect the transformation of faith (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Coins, symbols of Judas betraying Jesus, can also be used as reminders for being each worth the sacrifice (Colossians 2:14).
Create hearts for love (John 3:16).
A toy lamb and a bouncy ball can be used to show how forgiveness bounces back to having joy (Hebrews 12:2).
Jesus is called the Lamb of God as a reminder of his sacrifice. Make simple paper lambs that can open to a story or message. Children can draw symbols of the resurrection and parents can write a message to their children inside.
1. Cut a paper strip 2.25 inches by 11 inches.
2. Cut a 2.5-inch circle and scallop the edges.
3. Fold the strip of paper down 2 inches and glue it on the paper circle for the head. Draw ears.
4. Cut a rectangle 1.5 inches by 1.25 inches and color it on a face. Glue only the top part of the face to the head. The bottom part will be a tab to close the lamb.
5. Glue on a piece of cotton ball on the top of the head.
6. Fold the bottom of the paper up 4.25 inches, and again at 3.5 inches. This forms a base.
7. Cut a 3-inch square of green paper for grass. Glue the base of the fold to the grass.
8. The bottom part should slide under the face to close.
9. Decorate the body of the lamb with scallops for the wooly fur and add legs and hoofs.
10. Open the paper and write the story of the resurrection. You can also write a note or add a scripture.
Another Christ-centered idea is a special treasure hunt for each child. Hold up the first clue and tell your children that eternal life from Jesus is our greatest gift, a treasure He gave us. Share that it is up to each person to accept that gift or not. To celebrate we have a treasure hunt for you. Here’s the first clue and you can choose to take it and hunt for treasures, or not.
Make 3-5 clues for each child. For little ones, snap and print a photo of where to look and cut it into a jigsaw puzzle. For older children, make up clues with rhymes, scriptures, or secret codes for them to decipher. If desired, hide a treasure with each clue, or just with the last clue.
As we mindfully celebrate the resurrection we train up our children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6).
©2023 Karen Whiting. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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