(Karen) I am using this blog as a reminder to myself (!) of all the great things we can plan for our families around Easter time in order to make this time of the year meaningful and God-focussed. The last few weeks have seemed very busy in our house and planning things does take time and effort. But hopefully by the end of reading this, we will all be spurred on to pick something that will help our children to be thankful to God for Jesus this Easter.
Here are some things on my mind:
1) Easter Readings with the kids:
My eldest (8yrs) has been doing this 3 week bible reading guide by herself and I have started doing it with our 6 yr old (who can read but still needs some help with something like this) before bed at night. It has a great emphasis on Easter being all about a great RESCUE and my children are enjoying it.
2) Family time:
This will be the third year in a row that we are using this great resource called ‘Resurrection Eggs’ to read through the Bible as a family, focussing on Jesus’ death and resurrection. I’ve had friends who make their own with those cheap plastic eggs that $2 shops sell around Easter but I like using what other people have already prepared! Each egg contains a small object that relates to the Easter story (e.g. a donkey, nail, crown of thorns) and it also comes with a suggested Bible reading. Even though the kids have done it before, they love anticipating what will be in each egg. I have just realised that this needs to be started tomorrow in order for the last egg to be opened on Easter Sunday so I’d better get moving! If you want to make your own this Easter – just do a search on the internet – there are lots of ideas around.
3) Easter books: By far the best book I’ve found for young children about Easter is:
‘Jesus is Alive!’ by Kirsten Long and Deema Percival. I love how the book came into being -the authors were young mums who struggled to find an Easter book that was good for the 0-5yr range and so published their own! I have used it teaching both Sunday School and playgroup (you can order an accompanying activity book) but I also keep a copy at home because I just love it.
Here’s a taste of the first page: ‘At Easter time, we have lots of fun eating chocolate eggs and hot cross buns. But Easter is really about a very special person called Jesus . . .’
4) Hat Parades!: Our kids go to public schools and have Easter hat parades. As we prepare their hats, we chat about what we often do at Easter but what Easter is really all about. If our church is having a special Easter service, I encourage the children to think of friends in their class they might like to invite. Last year, one of my daughter’s friends started coming regularly to Sunday School after this one-off invitation.
5) Songs: One of my pet hates around Easter is that Easter bunny song that the kids learn at school and gets into your mind (Hop, hop, hop the Easter bunny hop!’). But there are some great songs about Easter for young kids. On ‘My God is a very, very, very big God’ CD there is 1,2,3,4,5 Jesus Christ is now alive or ‘Easter Friday’ on ‘J is for Jesus’ CD. These are especially good for pre-schoolers. Does anyone else have any good ideas for songs at Easter? I’d love to hear them!
6) Other activities: I have friends who have made hot cross buns with their kids but that sounds a bit scary to me so I haven’t tried it! Last year, I tried to make resurrection cookies with the kids. I LOVE the idea, because as you go through the recipe, you basically tell the Easter story – even to the point of sealing up the oven like they sealed Jesus’ tomb! The kids had a lot of fun doing it but I was disappointed that my cookies didn’t turn out how they were supposed to. I’m not sure if I’m game enough to try it again this year (!) – maybe if I have time I’ll try and do a few practice lots!
Do you have any ideas to share for making Easter a meaningful time with your family? Please share what has worked for you!