Have you ever stopped to think why we celebrate the Easter Bunny and have egg hunts?
It was a question my soon-to-be mother-in-law posed to me years ago because she had never seen it in Mexico. She was amazed at the affect it had on so many people and churches here in the U.S.
A few years back, out of curiosity, I asked the kids in my Sunday School class to raise their hands for what excited them more: Christ’s resurrection or the Easter bunny. Without hesitation, every single one (grades 1-5) raised their hands for the later and said they most looked forward to eggs hunts.
After thanking them for their honesty, I thought what can I do to help them see the joy, beauty, hope and the great gift and excitement of what Christ did on their behalf?
And maybe you’re wondering the same thing. Perhaps you desire to focus more on Christ with your children during this time of year.
And why not, if it’s in our power to do so, celebrate with kids the gloriousness and fun (yes, fun!) that can be found in a life with Christ.
So that is the goal of this article–give you ideas for activities to do with your children, or grandchildren, to open their eyes to the truth that the joy, wonder and beauty of Christ far exceeds and outweighs anything this world has to offer.
So, without further ado, I present:
#1 Build the Tabernacle.
This was a huge hit and memory maker in our home. Years ago, we had a girls slumber party. Praise God that one of their moms spent the night too–this was her idea–and it came at the perfect time.
When we were cleaning up from our luxurious hot dog dinner, the girls started to get a little out of control. Thankfully, my friend acted quickly and said, “Let’s build the tabernacle!”
So I went for my study Bible that had drawings of each of the elements that were in the tabernacle and laid it out on the couch for them to look at and then headed back to the kitchen.
We were amazed at their creativity as they used kitchen chairs, blankets, scarves, an ottoman with a light up angel on it to construct the Holy of holies.
Using whatever they could find, they spent hours carefully creating each detail from the Bronze altar to the Ark of the Covenant.
After finishing, we had a tabernacle tour. My friend, Victoria, was their teacher and I was the tour leader (with the worst accent ever!) They still tease me about it!
The bronze altar they had “constructed” was complete with a “knife”. It was actually a Christmas decoration that was on the table–a metal nail that was inscribed with the words: “It is finished.” I couldn’t believe they had chosen that.
I wanted them to understand what all this meant. I explained to them that when an Israelite sinned, they had to sacrifice the best of their animals- each individual had to put it to death and watch an innocent animal die because of the wrong they had committed. And so at the end of the tour they had to put their stuffed animals on the “altar” and pretend like they were doing the same with the nail. Don’t worry no stuffed animals were actually harmed in the process!
One by one came until Victoria’s daughter-one of the oldest, maybe 9 or 10 years old, got really emotional and started to cry. This opened up the opportunity to make the connection to Christ.
God was teaching the Jews that sin is costly, a price must be paid and the innocent must die for the sinful. A crystal clear picture of what Christ did.
We sat on the floor with those girls for around an hour explaining this to them-that just as an innocent lamb died for the Jews’ sins, Christ, the only Innocent One, the Lamb of God, was put to death for our sins.
It was one of those moments that none of us will ever forget!
“Building” this may seem like an odd place to start celebrating if the plan is to focus on the resurrection–but there’s no clearer picture of what Christ would do for us than the tabernacle. It was the shadow of things to come.
Don’t worry, you don’t need mountains of gold, bronze, acacia wood and fine linens–the kitchen chairs and blankets work just fine!
What you Need:
- A study Bible or iphone with illustrations of the tabernacle with each element.
#2. Reinact the Resurrection.
This is a great opportunity for the truth of that most special day to become more real to your children as they focus in on the details and think about the emotions that each person experienced.
Read the resurrection accounts in the gospels with your kids. Then let them choose which one to act out. Also, give them the freedom of deciding who will play each part.
This can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. The adults can narrate while the kids bring to life the story in the living room or you can move all the furniture to create the scene, wear costumes (scarves work wonderfully!), have sound effects or music from YouTube in the background and memorize what each said.
If you want, you can invite others to participate and make it a multi-family play!
The sky’s the limit!
What You Need:
- A Bible
- Move all the furniture to have a larger space to act out the event OR do it outside.
- Work together with the children to create scenery.
- Wear costumes made from scarves, sheets, etc.
- Use common household items or toys as props.
- Search on YouTube for sound effects or Jewish music to play in the background to set the scene.
- Invite another family to join in on the fun!
- Pray and thank God that it wasn’t just some scene in a play but it is true!
#3. Go find butterflies, Plant a Butterfly Bush or go to a Butterfly Garden.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (NKJV) Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3 (NKJV)
Butterflies are a beautiful visual representation of what God does in the heart, spirit and life of each person that turns to Him.
The worm represents all of us in our sins. The cocoon is representative of the moment we turn from our old way of life and sins and call out to God to save us. (Romans 10:9-10) It’s the moment when we die to who we were and God transforms us into a completely different creature. Jesus said,
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24 (NKJV)
Just as the worm “dies” never to be a worm again, so it is with all who trust in Christ.
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory for the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life...Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:4,11 (NKJV)
Just as the lowly worm is transformed and given great purposes as a new and beautiful creature (fly, migrate, pollinate and reproduce), so all of God’s children are given new purposes. We are created anew to walk in newness of life, to go throughout the earth planting the seeds of the gospel, making disciples and bringing beauty to this world by the way we live.
The worm lived for itself-eat, eat and eat. The butterfly benefits the world around him. May we be the same and exemplify what it truly means to be a new creation in Christ to those who come behind us.
#4. A Culinary Celebration
Invite the kids into the kitchen to prepare a feast fit for a king-the King of kings that is!
Read the story of Zaccheus and tell them to imagine that Jesus told them that He was going to come to their house to eat with them!
Bring out table linens, placemats, fancy plates-whatever you have on hand-and, as a family, prepare the table imagining that Christ was coming to sit and eat with you. Make a place for him–both at your table and in your heart.
A 5-course dinner isn’t required, it’s the heart attitude that’s the key.
Look Back and:
- Rejoice that Jesus, the King of the Universe, humbled Himself to eat with sinners and give His life to open the Way for us to be called His friends!
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look a glutton..., a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Matthew 11:19 (NKJV)
And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, 'Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.' So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they [the crowd] saw it, they all complained, saying, 'He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.' Luke 19:5-7 (NKJV)
Look at the Present and:
- Rejoice that where 1 or 2 believers are, He is among them.
- Rejoice that He invites us to fellowship with Him.
For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20 (NKJV)
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20
Look to the Future and:
- Rejoice in the truth that one day, all those who have placed their faith in Christ’s life, death and resurrection, will be united with Him at the marriage supper of the Lamb!
...Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.' And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, 'Write: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!' Revelation 19:6-9
#5 Create a Chalk “Masterpiece” of the Crucifixion, Empty Tomb & Ascension.
Take advantage of the nice spring weather by getting out a bucket of chalk and your Bible.
Gather your children, head outside and create some holy artwork as a family for all the world (or at least your neighbors) to see!
Give thanks and celebrate the love and power of the Almighty God as you draw.
#6 Become Bible Agents and Investigate “The Case of the Missing Body”!
“The Case of the Missing Body” was a 1 day kids church event that, my friend (the one who had the great idea about the tabernacle) and I wrote and has now turned into to VBS material. (And I have Free Printables for YOU!)
The Lord gave me this idea when I asked Him for an alternative to easter egg hunts that would be both fun and edifying for the kids.
The premise is that the kids are investigating the 3 rumors that were circulating Jerusalem after the resurrection: Jesus’ disciples stole the body, He simply walked away and God did a miracle and raised Him to life.
We ended up creating a cardboard tomb and set up props with Scripture next to each for them to read as clues/evidence.
- Coins dropped outside the tomb (the soldiers who were paid to spread a lie Matthew 28:11-15),
- Bag of spices for women who went to anoint Jesus’ body (Mark 16:1-8)
- And ink pad to make fingerprints for when Thomas doubted and Jesus said to touch Him proving He was flesh and blood. (John 20:24-29)
- A table with 3 chairs and broken bread for when Jesus appeared to the 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)
- Wood and fire made from tissue paper for when Jesus ate fish with the disciples after rising (John 21:1-14)
There were 4 stations and each station had a different riddle/mission for them to solve, they would hear from eyewitnesses (read Scripture testimony of disciples, women at tomb, etc.) as well as other activities we put in such as using watercolors to paint a white heart-shaped piece of paper black representing our hearts because of sin.
Also we had them read Romans 3:23 and then do a long-jump competition, but they all “fell short” of the line–just like we fall short of God’s glory.
As a group they assembled a heart shaped puzzle that had Romans 5:8 on it to help them connect why Jesus would make such as sacrifice. (I just wrote the verse on construction paper, cut out the heart and then cut the heart into pieces.)
Below I have free printable Bible Agent IDs, 4 Different Missions for the kids to complete, an Evidence Collection Sheet and fill in the blank verse. On the IDs C.M.H. GOD = Child of the Most High God. We printed them with ours and the kids photos.
The God’s Top Secrets Revealed Cover Sheet was glued onto a folder where they kept their “evidence”.
#7 Imitate His Example by Serving Others and Sharing His Message.
And whoever desires to be first among you. let him be your slave--just as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation... Isaiah 52:7
In Everything, Have a Time of Joyful, Family Worship.
Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Psalm 29:2
This is the goal and the foundation for everything we must do. No matter how you choose to celebrate Christ do it in the beauty of holiness. There’s really no end for how we can worship the wonderful God.
And as always– Be Kind. Be Encouraging. Be a Multiplier!
So, how do you focus more on Christ with your family? I’d love to hear your ideas! Comment below and don’t forget to subscribe!