1. Celebrate. We often place a greater focus and celebration on Christmas than Easter. This is not surprising as this festival has a greater emphasis in our culture. However, for Christians the meaning of Easter is hugely significant. Easter is a great message of grace and salvation. Jesus’ death and resurrection mean our sins are forgiven, we have a relationship with God and know the hope of heaven. So make Easter an important celebration in your household. Put up decorations, arrange a special meal, and count down the days in anticipation. This communicates to your child that Easter is a significant and important celebration.
2. Easter songs. Listen to Christian children’s songs that talk about the death and resurrection of Jesus. Children can easily learn song lyrics which helps them to remember biblical truths. For example for younger children by Emu Kids listen to Easter Friday, Jesus Died For All The Children, 1,2,3,4,5 Jesus Christ Is Now Alive. Or God Has Raised Jesus To Life. For older children by Colin Buchanan He Died Upon The Cross, Super Saviour, The Best Thing About Easter (Jesus is Alive). Click here for our City Kids and Youth Easter Spotify playlist.
3. Read the bible. In the week prior to Easter, read through the account of Jesus’ death and resurrection using a quality children’s bible. For older children, read a translation of the full bible like the CEV (Contemporary English Version) or ICB (International Children’s Bible) because the language is more accessible. Think about seven key events leading up to Jesus’ death and break up the passages over the seven days leading up to Easter. Click here to see examples of a week plan using 4 children’s bibles. Use images or words that represent each part of the story and stick these up in a prominent place like the fridge. Click here to see an example using The Beginner’s Bible.
4. Go to church, twice! If you can, make it a priority to attend both the Good Friday and Easter Sunday services at your church. This is a wonderful way to model to children the importance of celebrating Jesus’ death and resurrection. If you are travelling and unable to attend an Easter service at your home church, look online for a local church that also has a children’s program. Alternatively, watch a video as a family about Jesus’ death and resurrection for example by Kidswise, Quizworx or Crossroads Kids’ Club.
5. Chickens not bunnies. Easter and Christmas can be confusing for young children as they understand the difference between reality and fantasy. Many Christian families will celebrate the Easter Bunny delivering Easter Eggs. But it is important to make sure that when you talk about the Easter Bunny it is in the realm of fantasy. Children need to know that Jesus was not a fantasy. He was a real man who died on a wooden cross and then after three days came back to life. The imagery of new life with a chicken hatching from an egg is a helpful symbol that ties in with Easter celebrations. Whenever possible choose chicken themed decorations and cards. Use this as an opportunity to explain that like a chicken is a new life as it hatches from an egg, we can have a new life free from sin because Jesus died and rose again. Or, when hunting for Easter eggs or enjoying Easter eggs, be sure to smash one and ask children to look inside. Empty! The tomb is empty because Jesus has risen from the dead!
6. Hot cross buns. As your family eats hot cross buns, talk about the symbol of the cross. Explain to children that for Christians the symbol of the cross is both sad and happy. Jesus’ death was incredibly painful physically, spiritually and emotionally. On the cross, Jesus was separated from God the Father and all the sins of people across the world were put upon him. But the cross is a symbol of great joy and hope. For Christians, it is a reminder that Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus conquered sin and death so we can be forgiven and have a relationship with God.
7. Resurrection eggs. In your Easter Egg hunt include plastic eggs that open up. In the eggs place letters, pictures, bible verses or symbols. Then hide these eggs along with the chocolate eggs. The eggs might have the letters for an Easter message like ‘J e s u s S a v e s’ that your child then puts together. Or it might include symbols or pictures that relate to the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Click here to see an example. As you open the resurrection eggs remind children that the egg symbolises new life that we can have through Jesus.
8. Passover meal. Arrange a special family meal where you can reflect on the Passover Festival. During the meal read three stories from a children’s bible. Firstly the Passover in Exodus, then Jesus as a child being found in the temple at the Passover Festival. Finally Jesus celebrating the Passover meal at the last supper with his disciples. You might want to follow the pattern of the meal by breaking bread to remember Jesus’ body and drinking grape juice to remember Jesus’ blood.
9. Duplo or Lego retelling. Use lego or duplo to retell the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Have children build simple scenes that depict the different moments in the story. These could include Judas’ betrayal, Jesus praying in Gethsemane, the crucifixion and the empty tomb. Click here to see a lego example. Click here to see a duplo example.
10. Pray as a family. Spend time on Good Friday and Easter Sunday praying as a family. Be specific in your prayers thanking God for sending his son Jesus to die on the cross and then thanking God that Jesus conquered death so we can be forgiven. For younger children use copy prayers where you say part of a sentence and they repeat back. For older children encourage them to pray their own prayers by giving prompts or sentence beginnings.