Victoria Beech doesn’t let the young age of children stop her helping them celebrate the wonder of the Easter season
When my children were young, I was keen to start doing things for Easter, but it’s hard to know where to start. Christmas is so much easier as long as you omit the killing of the babies by Herod. But Easter can seem like sharing a story of barbaric torture and death.
I would recommend:
* Finding an age-appropriate way to share the Easter story.
Keeping it age age-appropriate is essential. I once showed the film Lion of Judah to a group of children and discovered that some of them found it really scary – so it’s worth remembering You know your child best so listen to them and think about what would be best for them at the age they are this year. Remember – Easter comes every year so this won’t be your last chance to share the story with them!
* Finding a fun way to celebrate Easter.
This may or may not directly relate to Jesus, but doing something fun together means you are building a tradition which helps grow your relationships. It’s hard to imagine when they’re young, but your children are likely to want to repeat things you do now for many years so choose something you’ll enjoy as well as them!
Having said this, here’s some ideas which could serve as one or both of these:
1. Tell the story with toys
2. Use Easter themed toys
It might sound like this isn’t to do with Easter, but some of the big themes and ideas in the Easter story such as new life and transformation are things young children are unfamiliar with.
3. Make a Holy Week Box using this free download
To make your box, you will need a few basic items including a peg doll. If you’ve made these before and want something different, here’s an alternative box
4. Read great Easter books together
It’s vital to do this together, exploring the pictures which are probably as important as the words if not more so at this age! Here’s my recommendations of the best Easter books for children
5. Grow tadpole or caterpillars!
This is a bigger commitment, but a fantastic way to help children start exploring the concept of new life, and the awe and wonder in the Easter story.
In the weeks running up to Christian, Birmingham Children’s Hospital Chapel has an incubator with real eggs in it, timed to hatch into chicks on Easter weekend!
You can get easy-to-grow caterpillars from Insectlore
6. Build an Easter garden
Use a tray lid and add soil and seeds, creating a tomb with a clean empty egg shell. Alternatively, make a no-grow Easter garden. Find some washable people toys and use them to play the Easter story in the garden.
7. Play Easter songs
Make a play list of your favourites and have them on in the kitchen/car/playroom
8. Make an Easter story ‘set’
You could do this with clothes or paper or card. I love using a chalk board laid flat on the ground with simple shapes for roads and buildings. We then can use play mobil or Duplo figures to ‘act’ out the story. You could make a 3D set using duplo or Jenga brick. Building a simple set in advance of telling or playing with the story gives space to explore the action of the story itself in a playful way.
9. Story boarding the Easter story
For four and five year olds, story boarding is a fun way for them to work out the beginning, middle and end of the story. The GodVenture Easter Puppets come with a story board which you can cut up and put back in order. Try using simple questions such as, “What happened at the start of the story? How did it finish? What happened in between? Did this happen before or after this?
10. Watch a film together
One of our family favourites to watch around Easter is The Lion of Judah. It’s a cartoon, but it should come with a warning re violence as the lamb nearly dies, and young children may find that upsetting.
11. Use pictures
I’m a visual person, so I always enjoy a story more when there’s pictures! This post gives details of how you can explore the Emmaus road story using pictures including ideas for colouring, cutting, chatting, and a treasure hunt!
12. Make hot cross buns
I love baking, and most children do too, so why not have a go at making hot cross buns. At some point in the messy fun, have a chat about why there’s a cross on them. Here’s a fab recipe, although I often swap out raisins for chocolate drops!