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Bible passage: Luke 24:1-12
Background: After the sadness of the previous session which saw Jesus’ crucifixion, this session is full of the joy and excitement of his resurrection. Children may not understand fully what is happening here but you’re laying the foundations for future encounters with this story. Help young children to be happy that Jesus is alive and wants to be their friend.
10 Welcome all the children and share out any refreshments you have. Chat about what the children have done this week. What good times do they want to share? When have they experienced a big celebration? Perhaps it was a birthday, wedding or anniversary. What was so exciting?
10 You will need: small Easter eggs (chocolate, plastic or if none are available, foil-covered chocolate balls); baskets or yogurt pots
Before the session, hide the eggs around your meeting space. Make some of them obvious; hide others better so that everyone has a chance to find something.
Give each child a basket or yogurt pot and send them off to find the eggs. At the end of a set amount of time, bring everyone back and congratulate them on their searching skills. If some children have more than others, invite them to share some with those who don’t have as many.
15 You will need: child-friendly version of the Bible; tray filled with sterile compost; items to make an Easter garden; stones to make the tomb; play people
Remind the children about what happened in the previous session on Good Friday. Some people didn’t like Jesus and, even though he had done nothing wrong, they told lies about him. Jesus was nailed to a cross and he died. All his friends were very upset. They took him down from the cross and carried his body to a garden nearby.
Show the children the tray of sterile compost and the items you have gathered to make a garden. Spend some time placing twigs, moss, small plants etc into the compost to create your garden. In one corner, use stones to create the tomb. Admire your creation together for a moment.
Tell the children that Jesus’ friends put his body in a tomb. Then a stone was rolled over the entrance. Cover the entrance to the tomb in your garden with a stone.
Read out Luke 24:1–12 from your child-friendly version, re-enacting the story in your garden, using the play people. Once you have finished, read out the story again, and let the children move the figures themselves. Do this as many time as the children would like to.
5 Chat about the story using these questions, encouraging everyone to join in if they want to:
What was your favourite part of this story?
If you were one of the women who went to the tomb, how would you feel? Happy? Sad? Excited? Confused?
Where do you think Jesus has gone?
What do you want to say to Jesus?
10 You will need: ‘corner’ yogurt pots; sterile compost; items to make a garden; small stones
Give each child a corner yogurt pot. Show them how to (or help them to) bend the small corner up so that it is at right angles to the larger corner. This small corner is the tomb. Fill the larger corner with compost and then let them ‘plant’ their garden however they like. As you work, continue your chat about the story. What has happened to Jesus? Is he alive? How did this happen? Share your own thoughts about this amazing story. Talk about how Jesus has come alive again.
Once everyone has finished their garden, give the children a stone to place next to the opening of the tomb. Let the children play together with their Easter gardens. They can retell the story using their own creation or simply play with what they have made. Engage with this play and answer any questions the children might come up with as they play.
5 You will need: small stones; felt-tip pens
Give each child a small stone and ask them to hold it in their hand. Encourage them to feel how smooth or rough it is, to feel the edges and the flat sections. Ask them to think about today’s story. What do they remember about it? What surprised them? What excited them? Invite them to think about that as they feel the stone in their hands.
Together, brainstorm some of the things the children thought about. Help them to write or draw that on their stone. Once everyone has finished, ask the group to hold their stones in their hands once more. Say this prayer (or something similar in your own words):
Thank you, Jesus, that you are alive again!
Help us to remember this story and to keep thinking about the amazing events!
Help us to remember that you are alive today!
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