Celebrating Easter: Lesson Plans and Activities for Kids
These lesson ideas focus on the Christian aspects and origins of Easter. They are high-interest and hands-on. My own children have enjoyed several of them.
What is Easter?
Children need to know what Easter really is. As adults, we are obligated to demonstrate the meaning of Easter to our children. Looking in the dictionary, I found several meanings for the word Easter. Here are a few: the word Easter is actually derived from Old English and means "spring festival". For the Christian, it is the heavenly jubilation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This celebration is an ancient Christian holiday that is the prominent triumph of the church year. For all the Faithful, it is an observance of new life and deliverance and redemption through Jesus Christ.
Why is Easter Meaningful?
The heart of the Christian philosophy is the remembrance of Christ's resurrection and the promise of his everlasting presence. Easter is a time for remembering. As Christians, we must bear in mind the last days of Jesus here on earth. We remember His acts of love for us. We remember His suffering, anguish, and agony that was all for us. We recall His Crucifixion for us. Above all else, we remember His triumph over death. In celebrating Easter, we are also experiencing faith, hope and restoration or renewal. We have reason to celebrate triumph over transgression. So let us make Easter as blessed as we can, while teaching our children the true meaning.
Palm Sunday Activities
Palm Sunday is the beginning of Jesus' last week. Isn't it exciting that Palm Sunday transpires in spring, when new life is taking place all around us. There is a new beginning all around us with new baby animals, new buds on trees, and new flowers blooming everywhere. The children will read Mark chapter eleven, verses seven through nine. This passage gives an account of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the first day of the week. There was a large gathering of people that spread palm leaves on the road. This was a means of honoring Him. Palm leaves were symbolic of victory. We can celebrate victory in the resurrection of Jesus.
Have the children investigate the various types of palms. There are the coconut palms, the date palms, and the royal palms. Have the children list the different uses of the coconuts and dates. The date palm was the most important in Biblical times. The entire date palm was used.
A lot of children believe that events in the Bible happened in locations that no longer exist. We need to convince our children that these places do indeed still exist. Provide your students with a world map. Point out Jerusalem, Bethphage, and Bethany to them. Permit them to draw a map of Jerusalem. In what part of the world is Jerusalem located? What country is Jerusalem a part of? What language do they speak? It is possible for this to be a mini - unit in itself.
For Maundy Thursday, we will be reading, John chapter thirteen, and verses one through thirty. This passage explains the Last Supper that was experienced by Jesus and his twelve disciples. He blessed bread and wine and gave it to them, telling them that it His body and blood. After reading the suggested scriptures, have your students answer the following questions:
A. What night was mentioned in this reading?
B. Name the people that Jesus was with.
C. Jesus' disciples became upset. Why?
CREATIVE WRITING - Older Children
Have the children pretend that they are newspaper reporters. They have just been notified of Pontius Pilate's decision. It is their assignment to interview Piliate about his decision. They are to ask him questions. They are to write Pilate's responses. Suggested questions: why did you make the decision that you did? Do you feel that you were pressured into killing The King of the Jews? The children use their imagination to answer Pilate's questions.
JESUS IN THE TOMB - SUNDAY:
Jesus promised that He would rise from the dead on the third day.
He rose on the third day.
Crescent rolls, marshmallows, cinnamon, margarine
Take one marshmallow and dip it in melted butter or margarine. Then roll the marshmallow in cinnamon. Have the children place the marshmallow in the center of the triangle of dough. Have them fold the dough around the marshmallow, so that the Marshmallow is "buried" in its tomb. Bake the crescent roll according to the directions on the package. Have the children take the role of the guards at Jesus's tomb. Have them stand guard at the oven. Take the roll out of the tomb (oven) and let it cool. The marshmallow will be gone; just like Jesus's body was gone!
Jesus' friends brought sweet smelling spices to His tomb. To enable our children to understand this we will use potpourri eggs.
SWEET SMELLING EGGS
One Styrofoam or plastic egg, glue, potpourri, bow, egg carton
Cover the top of your egg with glue. Do not let any of the egg show. Sprinkle potpourri over the glue, covering all the glue. Keep doing this until the egg is completely covered. Set the egg in the egg carton to dry. When it is dry you can top it with a pretty bow.
DYING EASTER EGGS -
There has long been a debate over whether Christians should participate in the dying of Easter eggs. There are ways to make this a teaching and learning experience for our children. Legends from early centuries state that eggs were dyed red with tears of Mary. There is no Biblical evidence of this, but we could dye eggs red to symbolize Jesus' blood.
EGGS can also remind us of the beginning of spring and the start of new life.
COLORS have been symbolic in many writings. As you dye your eggs, talk about the symbolism of each of the colors.
· YELLOW - SUNSHINE - THE RADIANCE OF JESUS
· RED - THE BLOOD OF JESUS
· PURPLE - ROYALTY
· GREEN - NATURE - LIFE
· BLACK - OUR SINS
· WHITE - LIGHT - PURITY and JOY
EASTER SANDWICHES -
Matthew chapter 26 verse 26 reads: "While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: "Take and eat; this is my body". In John chapter six and verse six, we read: Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry".
Let's make a sandwich with your favorite filling. The crust will symbolize GOD THE FATHER. It is the outer protection for the rest of the bread. The white bread symbolizes JESUS, because He is white and pure without sin. Now the filling, whether it be peanut butter and jelly or chicken salad, it will symbolize the HOLY SPIRIT. Like the peanut butter and jelly fills the sandwich, the Holy Spirit fills us. Use Easter cookie cutters to cut your sandwich into an interesting shape. GIVE THANKS AND EAT AND ENJOY!
THE GOOD NEWS
Make a billboard that proclaims that Jesus is risen. Use marker, crayons, and a large poster board to proclaim the good news. You may want to let your children display this in an important area of the house.
COLORS OF EASTER BOOK
COLORS have been symbolic in many writings. This activity is appropriate for your younger to middle elementary child. Have them make COLORS OF EASTER BOOK. Provide them with one sheet of each of the following colors: white, red, green, purple, black, and yellow. On each sheet have your child write something that the color reminds them of about Easter. For example, on white they may write the word Jesus or they may write pure. Red, they may draw a cross with blood, or they may just write blood. Let this be what they children see in these colors. Allow them to make a cover. Staple all the pages together. Encourage your child to share this with other people.
JESUS LIVES IN ME.
Have your children lay down on freezer paper. Trace their body onto the paper. Have your children color their bodies. Across their chest, have them write - "JESUS LIVES IN ME".