Here are some Easter hands-on activities inspiration ideas!
I wanted to involve my daughter fully in our Easter Bible readings. She LOVES reading her comic-style Illustrated Bible Story New Testament book. It is very visual and makes the stories “come alive”. I wanted to add loads of hands-on activities.
I created some Easter picture collages. These are suitable for middle school children and contain some images that may not be suitable for young children.
Instead of me secretly preparing the lesson activities, I asked her to join me and gather all the objects we needed. (Note to self: This is an amazing motivation! She loved helping create the lessons with me!) I wanted her to use all her senses and physically act out as many of the scriptures of Easter as we could.
These are the items we collected for each theme:
- palm leaf – we were both surprised how huge the branch was!
- perfume – perfume essence & spraying alcohol mixed in a bottle with cork and candles to seal the bottle
- coins – in a little bag
- wine & bread – for Last Supper and communion. Matzos is unleavened, pierced bread.
- bowl, water & towel – to wash feet
- cock’s feather and sound recording of cock crowing
- thorns twisted into a crown – rather painful job!
- whip – a cat-of-nine tails with leather strips
- purple cloak – purple cloth and sticks to make lots
- hammer & nails – hammer into thick plank of wood
- vinegar & sponge – taste the bitter vinegar
- stone & cave – sealed with some clay
Some of our first activities were lovely. Waving a long (taller than her very tall brother) beautiful palm branch and singing praise songs was wonderful.
Making perfume and sealing the bottle with melted candle wax was soothing and it smelt delightful. We acted out Mary’s act of worship; anointing Jesus’ feet and wiping them with her hair. Intimate.
We tasted the bread and wine. The matzos bread is pierced and striped, just like Jesus’ whipped and pierced body. The red wine reminded us of His blood. Reverence and deep gratitude filled our hearts.
We washed one another’s feet. Just like Jesus did to His disciples. Humbling and so lovely.
Then things became tough. Count out 30 pieces of silver, which was the price of a slave. Judas was mean. While Mary broke the seal and poured out anointing oils worth a man’s whole years wages, Judas snatched up 30 silver coins. Worship breaks open and pours out, selfishness takes for itself.
We went to our chicken coop and found a lovely long rooster feather. The rooster strutted about with his hens. Did we hear him crow? Could we also betray our Lord? Would we cry bitter tears? Somber reflection.
And then the scenes with Jesus’ scourging. Painful. See the thorns in the leather? A cat-of-nine has bone or stones tied to the leather strips to inflict greatest pain and injury. Our minds reel. Hear the whip as it snaps in the air … 39 times! Exhausting. How could Jesus survive?
Thorns pricked us as we made the crown and really hurt!
Hammering in nails into wood it a tough job. Bang! Bang! Imagine nailing through hands and feet? How awful! Our hearts ached.
We cast lots for the robe with our sticks. If you win, you take the piece of cloth and feel its rich texture. When I win, it is all mine. It is so easy to be callous and greedy, and all the while our Lord hangs, suffering.
Now Jesus cries out and someone gives Him vinegar. Yech! It tastes bitter. No one can drink that stuff!
Finally we made a small tomb using a rock that had a cave-like shape. We found a flat stone to fit in front. Pressing some clay around the flat stone, we sealed the tomb. It is dark inside. Closed. It is finished.
For families with younger children, I created simple Easter Flags. Each flag covers the same themes as the activities above, and young children can do many of the hands-on activities. Be sensitive and adapt your lessons to suit your child’s age and temperament. Your children can cut out, color-in and hang folded over ribbon as bunting.
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Blessings in this Easter season,