Holidays are one of the best times for us to connect home and church as we partner in the discipleship of children. Easter is coming quickly as evidenced by the amount of candy, baskets, bunnies, and eggs we see in stores! Our families aren’t going to find good resources there to teach their children about why we celebrate Easter. As children’s directors, we can take the lead in finding good books, themes, and activities that will help our families celebrate the resurrection of Jesus! We can then share these resources for events at church and for readings and activities at home.
Each year, I plan an Easter event the Saturday before Palm Sunday. I choose an Easter resource or theme to highlight and then plan four or five activities around the theme. My primary purpose in this event is for the children to hear the resurrection story and for them to take home a family resource they can continue to use at home.
My Favorite Themes:
- The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross: The True Story of Why Jesus Died and Rose Again by Carl Laferton. They take home the book. (There is also a family devotional and calendar!)
- Sammy and His Shepherd by Susan Hunt. They take home the book. This book based on Psalm 23 has eleven devotional stories.
- New Life in Christ – Butterfly Theme. They take home butterfly larvae. We tell the resurrection story in one rotation, and then we use the lifecycle of a butterfly to explain how God changes us! You can purchase butterfly larvae at Insect Lore (www.insectlore.com).
- Resurrection Eggs. They take home a set of the resurrection eggs. This has gotten pricier over the years, but you can watch for them to go on sale or get the DIY version.
- Resurrection Garden. They make and take home a “garden” that includes a tomb, a cross, and a stone, with soil and grass seed that will grow. They LOVE this one.
With each of these themes, we will do five of the following: Tell the resurrection story, complete a craft, learn a new song, play a game (inside, outside, or both), do an egg hunt, and eat a snack. All of these things will match within the theme. Obviously, there are many other themes you could choose, but to be intentional in giving things to go home, you’ll need to plan and budget ahead of time.
We use a staggered time rotation for our Easter event that allows families to come and spend two hours as they work their way through the activities. This works great in the spring because there are so many sports/music/drama activities on a Saturday. If they have soccer in the early morning, they can come around lunchtime. If they have dance in the afternoon, they can come early morning. Families also like this format because they can invite friends to join them, and it provides a way for them to do outreach without it feeling overwhelming. We typically put five or six families in each staggered group.
In addition to the Easter event, I provide a table of Easter resources with samples of books and devotionals that they can visually view before they order for home. I put this out about four weeks before Easter. I strive to include things for each age level and a few things that would work for families with lots of different ages in their home. My 2023 Easter Resource List is available to you as well. This is not an exhaustive list. There are many other resources out there. These are just my favorites for our church families. An added benefit of this list has been for the grandparents of our church. They often use it to send gifts to their grandchildren!
Your families will benefit from connecting home and church. They will enjoy your helping them find what will disciple their children at home. Providing holiday resources may help them begin and enhance family worship and help them make faith formation important as they live everyday life!
To view Sherry’s Easter Resource List visit our children’s ministry website.