Easter is coming up. And I always enjoy the holiday activities for kids. Seriously, I will fully embrace any fun traditions, even if my husband rolls his eyes and says it’s a “commercial trap.”
I love the excitement of a good Easter egg hunt. And I look forward to filling my kids’ Easter baskets with goodies. It’s just fun to celebrate, you know?
And this year, I fully intend to keep those whimsical traditions alive. (In fact, you can check out 15 of our favorite Easter Egg activities here!)
But, I want to add in something else into our Easter traditions. Something a little more meaningful.
Just like I’m striving to teach the true meaning of Christmas, I want my kids to understand the true meaning of Easter. – That it’s not all about bunnies and decorated eggs (however fun that might be).
So, this year, we’re going to start the celebration of Easter earlier than normal in our household, with a daily focus on Christ – His life, His sacrifice, and His resurrection.
Beginning on Palm Sunday, we’ll do an advent calendar type activity leading up to Easter Sunday.
And I’m sharing my plan with you! In case this sounds like something your family would also enjoy!
A couple of notes before I give you the breakdown:
- Toddlers have very short attention spans: My kids are 1-3 years old. It’s amazing what information they absorb, buuuuut…. they’re going to lose focus quickly. So, this daily advent calendar activity should probably only last 5 minutes tops each day.
- Order: Open the egg and give your child the object first. (If the object doesn’t fit in your Easter egg, go grab it before you start and hand it over to your child.) Share very briefly the context for that day. (I’ve written the context for you, but if you have a toddler, share in terms they’ll understand. And keep it to 1 sentence or so. “On this day, Jesus did…”) Then, read the scripture. Finish with a short explanation/discussion.
- Object lesson: I’m including an object for each day. Hopefully, this will counter the short attention spans, as well as help the lesson stick a little better in their minds. Feel free to substitute whatever you feel works best.
- Simplify: As the scripture is read, we’ll pause occasionally to paraphrase or explain what is happening, for a toddler’s understanding. Remember, we’re not preaching a sermon here. We’re just giving a tiny reminder in the day about Jesus Christ and why we celebrate Easter. All of the discussion points are as simplified as I can make them.
- Choose a time when they’ll be most attentive: We’re planning to open an Easter egg right as we’re finishing breakfast. This is a good time for us because the kids are fed, happy, and ready for the day. But, if midafternoon or bedtime is better for you, again, do whatever works best for your kids. You know them best!
Okay, here’s the layout for our Easter Advent Activity…
Object: Leaf (collect this in the morning so it doesn’t wilt)
Context: Jesus rides triumphantly into Jerusalem. His followers welcome Him and wave palms in celebration.
Scripture: Mark 11: 7-9
And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Discussion: Talk about how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Explain that the people waved their palms to celebrate Jesus’ arrival. You could encourage your child to wave their leaf like a palm branch. Explain that the people loved Jesus and wanted to obey Him. How can we follow Jesus?
Object: Photo or painting of a temple (we’re using stickers)
Context: Jesus cleanses the temple.
Scripture: Matthew 21:12-14
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.
Discussion: Talk about the importance of temples. Explain that the temple is a holy place, and Jesus wanted to make sure it was kept clean and special. What other places are holy? How do we treat a holy place?
Extra material: Here is a painting that could be shown.
Object: 2 coins
Context: During this week in Jerusalem, Jesus continues teaching, and discusses the Widow’s Mite.
Scripture: Mark 12: 41-44
And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
Discussion: Explain that sometimes it can be hard to make good decisions. In these verses, people gave money to follow God and build up the church. This woman didn’t have a lot of money, but she chose to follow God and give everything she had to Him (just as He willingly gives His all to us). And she knew that He would take care of her. When is it difficult to make good choices? What blessings come when we choose to do the right thing?
Extra material: Here is a video that could be shown.
Object: Painting of Jesus with children (we’re using a bookmark)
Context: Just before arriving to Jerusalem, as well as throughout His ministry, Jesus takes the time to bless children.
Scripture: Mark 10:13-16
And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
Discussion: Explain that Jesus loves little children. He knows every child perfectly and wants to help them. How can we feel Jesus’ love?
Extra material: Here is a video that could be shown.
Object: Cracker or bread
Context: Jesus and His disciples participate in the Passover, and Jesus teaches about the sacrament during this occasion, the Last Supper.
Scripture: Matthew 26: 26-28
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Discussion: Talk about the sacrament. Explain that the bread and water help us remember Jesus Christ each week. And when we take the sacrament, we promise to do our best to follow Him.
Context: Jesus suffers for our sins and is crucified, giving us the opportunity to repent.
Scripture: Isaiah 1:18
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Discussion: Draw a line on a piece of paper, and show your child how to erase it. Explain that when we make bad choices, those choices can hurt ourselves and others. But when we follow Jesus and repent, it’s like He gives us an eraser. We can erase the wrong and try again to make better choices.
Context: Jesus dies, and His body is laid in a tomb.
Scripture: Matthew 27: 59-60
And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
Discussion: When Jesus died, His body was laid in the tomb. A stone was rolled in front of the entrance like a door. Explain that when Jesus died, His body stayed on Earth but His spirit went to heaven. The people were sad that He was gone, but everything would be okay.
Object: Glove or flower seeds (depending on which object lesson you want to use)
Context: Jesus is resurrected.
Scripture: John 20: 1-2, 11-16
The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
Discussion: Explain that Jesus’ body and spirit were reunited (resurrection), and He lived again. You can use the glove as an object lesson, showing how the spirit (hand) may leave the body (glove) but because of Jesus, they come together again. Because of Jesus, death is not the end and we can be with our families forever. You could also use flower seeds to symbolize new life, and plant the seeds together with your child.
We’ll be starting our Easter Advent Activity tomorrow morning. And I’m so excited!
I hope this simple activity brings the spirit into our home a little more each day.
And that our kids can begin learning the true meaning of Easter!
Yes, we’ll still enjoy Easter egg hunts and candy and all of that fun. But, it won’t stop there.
Every day leading up to Sunday, we’re bringing it back around to Jesus Christ. The real reason that we celebrate.
What do you think? Is this an activity you’d like to try with your family? Or if you another holiday tradition that helps you remember the Savior, please comment below. I’d love to hear what you do!
Also, don’t forget to check out more Easter content here to help your family focus on Christ this week!
Until next time…
Are you new to the blog? Welcome! Check out these other posts: Learn and celebrate your family heritage – with kids OR How my own faith was strengthened after using a social app.