A Christ-Centred Easter

IMG_9686.jpg

We missed the start of Lent again this year, however we randomly started our count-down to Easter last weekend with this simple daily plan. The stones and candles represent the days until Easter, with the candles being lit to correspond with the number of days remaining until Good Friday. The candles go out one by one as each day passes, leading up to Jesus’ death on the cross – as the light of the world dies. (A large white pillar candle will be lit on Easter Sunday to represent Jesus’ resurrection.)

IMG_9690

Each day in the little wooden bowl there will be a new object that represents the section of the Easter bible story that we will be reading and focussing on for that day. On day one it held palm branches and a donkey as we read about Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem. Day two was a small red bag of silver coins for the 30 pieces of silver paid to Judas to betray Jesus – red because it was “blood money.”The symbols will be added to the base of the large vase, building up into a collection that reminds the children of all the events we have learnt about.IMG_9681

I have printed out some pictures from the web to go with each day’s event for the little children to cut and colour and hang on the bare branches of our Jesus tree.

We will also be reading or listening to a book each night about Easter, exactly as we do at Christmas time in our book-a-night advent count-down. These books are wrapped and the children take turns to choose and unwrap one to read each evening. I am interspersing these with a free downloadable audio recording of “The 12 Voices of Easter” as we don’t have enough books to get us all the way to Good Friday just yet. This tradition is one that they love at Christmas time and are very pleased to repeat for Easter. They are also excited to see what the new object will be each day. These are the simple traditions that we hope will give our children memories that last a lifetime.

If I get the chance, I will come back and add photographs of the symbols as I use them, but for now, here is a list of the ones we plan to do. I am reading from “The Children’s Bible” because it is simple enough for my young children to follow, yet has enough detail to cover all the main events of the Easter story and hold the attention of the older children as well.

IMG_9830Triumphal entrance Palm branches, donkey

IMG_9820I go to prepare a place in heaven for you

IMG_9828Last Supper Goblet, bread

IMG_9831Servant King Bowl of water, washcloth, soap – wash each others’ feet

IMG_9827Judas 30 silver coins

IMG_9826Garden of Gethsemane

IMG_9818 (1).jpgCaiaphas torn cloth for his torn robe, cotton wool ball clouds of heaven

IMG_9824Simon Peter Rooster feathers, handcuffs (arrested)

King Herod Crown, purple cloth, jewels

IMG_0109Pontius Pilot Bowl of water and jug, shimmering blue stones for water

IMG_9815The soldiers Dice, spears, crown of thorns, red cloth, scarlet cloak, nails

IMG_0110Simon of Cyrene Wooden cross

IMG_0111The thieves 3 crosses standing in bowl of sand

Mary Hearts – Mother’s love and sorrow

The person with the sponge Sponge with vinegar on a stick

Jesus’ Death on the Cross black cloth – darkness covered the land, piles of blocks – earthquake

IMG_0121

The Roman soldier Skewer spear (pierces Jesus’ side), little bowl of water and another with wine for blood – water and blood came out from Jesus’ side.

The Centurion Pile of tumbled blocks and heavy cloth (torn temple curtain) Jewelled cross symbolising Centurian’s belief

Joseph of Aramathea Stone and tomb

IMG_0124IMG_0114Nicodemus White shroud

IMG_0103IMG_0107The women spices; cloves, cinnamon, jar of ointment

IMG_0115The Tomb Empty eggs, empty tomb, butterfly (risen and changed)

IMG_0119Jesus appears – various; Fish & camp fire, sheep (feed my sheep)

us – the people of God Tray of sand for children to “write” their sins,  confess then wipe away. A pile of rock “burdens” imagine Jesus lifting all of your burdens off your shoulders and place at the cross. Playdough – sculpt things in our life that may become idols then crush them.

Ascension Cotton wool “clouds”

Holy Spirit Descends Candle, matches, oil lamp?

For more Christian Easter ideas see these posts;

Christian Easter activities for children (minus the bunny.)

“Grandpa’s Box” book review – a great book for any time but excellent as an Easter or Christmas count-down. The same bible stories told from a completely different viewpoint; as if we are engaged in a battle, which of course we are. Children who have grown up on the story surrounding Easter and are perhaps a little too familiar with it will be enthralled.

Jesus trees, Lent and Christian Easter ideas for children

Amon’s Adventure – another excellent daily reading book that is designed to be used as a count-down to Easter. There are several more in the series that we have used at Christmas time and the children love them. Each section ends on a cliff-hanger that has them begging for more as they have to wait for the next instalment the following evening. A fictional story set at the time of Jesus’ death on the cross. Good for 6-year-olds plus, although we read it to our whole family including the younger children as well.

Creating Christian Easter traditions

Jesse tree symbols for advent (can be used for Easter as well)

Christian Easter ideas for 2015

Creating Christian Easter traditions for children

 

 

Advertisements

Jesus trees, Lent and Christian Easter activities for children

This Easter we are continuing to build family traditions as we focus on the biblical events that are the foundations of the Easter celebration. Here are some of the new activities we are trying out for Easter this year. The ones we like will become yearly traditions, the others we’ll have fun doing just this time. We haven’t actually made any of these yet so they are untried recommendations, however they look like fun and we’ll take the punt that they are worth the time and effort.

We have already missed the start of lent and with our latest baby due any time now we will not be attempting the 40 day count down, but this Jesus tree activity we’ll save for next year. Similar to the Jesse tree that we made for Christmas, a Jesus tree uses picture or object symbols to represent the major biblical stories culminating in the death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter. My plan for this is to collect 2 large branches and fasten them together to make a natural looking cross. We will then read the bible verses that go with each symbol, colour them in and add them to the cross over the 40 days of Lent. Free printable symbols are available at this blog, with a black and white and colour version as well.

In place of the Jesus tree count down we will use our resurrection eggs to count down the 12 days before Easer. (This year our resurrection eggs contain bible readings that retell the main events of Easter plus little symbols for each part that come from this blog.) I plan to hide one each day for the children to find and read during circle time.

These Easter story pecan cookies have an amazing amount of symbolism woven through the recipe. As each ingredient is added to the biscuits, a snippet of the Easter story is read that relates to that ingredient and even the way it is mixed or prepared has symbolism. The cookies are placed into the oven tomb are hollow when the tomb is re-opened. I can’t wait to do this one.

These resurrection rolls (scroll down at the link to find them) are also very symbolic, with the Easter story attached to the method of preparing and the ingredients used. Rather than buy a prepared dough that we probably can’t get in Australia anyway, I’ll just mix up a basic sweet dough in the bread maker and use that. Even sheets of prepared pastry would work.

We will use these symbols of Jesus to decorate Easter crosses by cutting out just the pictures and make cute cracked egg Easter cards. This article with general information about Lent was helpful as I really didn’t have much of an idea what Lent was all about and we’ll make these simple palm branches for Palm Sunday.

The legend of the pretzel was another great find this year. I had no idea that there was symbolism attached to pretzels or that they were traditionally an Easter food. We will attempt the paper pretzel pattern (although I made one myself and found it easier to do it by trial and error as I had no idea whatsoever how to follow the instructions they gave!) I think the children will have much more fun making real dough pretzels and topping them with a variety of flavours.

Another paper craft was this paper plate tomb and angel and a bunch of Easter lapbook activities from a variety of sites:

More ideas are available in my last post here.