Last weekend on Palm Sunday, Christians everywhere remembered when Jesus was applauded as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, and now Easter weekend is on the way – the time we turn our minds to the story of Jesus’ betrayal, trial, death and resurrection.
It can be challenging for parents to teach their children about the Easter story because, as much as there’s the joy of Jesus’ resurrection, there’s inevitably the sadness and pain of his death. It can be tempting to focus on the resurrection and ‘new life’ side of Easter – the lambs, the chicks, the springtime flowers and, of course, the stacks and stacks of Easter eggs.
With the Easter holidays underway, there are lots of simple ways to add a little spiritual significance to your kids’ fun time.
- Here’s one simple way to get your little ones thinking about the Easter story – incorporate it into their Easter egg hunts! My parents used to do this and I loved it. We’d use those plastic eggs that you can open and reuse, each containing little objects that told a different part of the story. For example, you could use a leaf to represent Palm Sunday, a chunk of bread for the last supper, coins for Judas’ betrayal, nails for the crucifixion, a stone and a piece of fabric for Jesus’ burial and a final empty egg for Jesus’ resurrection. Chat to them about each item as they find them, or they could try to put them in the right chronological order at the end.
- If you have kids who are a little older or want to add an extra challenge, your Easter egg hunt could use clues leading to the hiding places, each referring in some way to the Easter story. For example, if you’ve got a thorny bush in your garden, you might say ‘I was made into a crown and placed on Jesus’ head before the crucifixion – what am I?’ Your clues don’t need to be anything elaborate – it’s just a case of getting them thinking about more than just the prizes!
- Another activity involves creating your own miniature Easter garden. You could make flowers from tissue paper or fill a baking tray with sand, adding pebbles and small flowers. Have a look at these examples to give you an idea. Talk to the kids about the story as you build – they could even use little Lego people to act it out in the garden.
- Your local church will probably be running tons of events over Easter for people of all ages. From workshops with lots of fun craft activities, to Agape meals, to a gentle Easter walk and teachings about the Stations of the Cross, there’s lots to do as a family while learning about Jesus. Whether you’re a regular member of the church or not, I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to welcome you and your family. Easter is an ideal time to give it a go and see what you think.
- Finally, why not show your kids how to put the spiritual meaning back into Easter by doing something charitable for someone else? Head to the shops together, buy an extra Easter egg or two and donate them to people who might not have one otherwise. A quick search online should bring up plenty of charities looking for donations. After all, the main message of the Easter story is that Jesus gave his life for all of us – the most selfless act of all time!
From me and all of us at CAP, I pray you and your family have a really great Easter.