Monday, April 3, 2023
Welcome Back, Everyone!
Did you get fooled this past weekend, on April 1?
As former kindergarten teachers, we’ve seen many an April Fools Day prank
over the years!
If you missed Laurie’s story on Instagram on Friday,
she shared some fun ideas…
Be sure to add these to your Grand list for next year!
Your Littles will love it!
Thanks to those of you who reached out to let us know
that you found one or more of our Easter Eggstravaganza suggestions helpful!
If you missed any of our posts, feel free to check them out below
by tapping the appropriate title/link!
As much as we love the Easter Bunny, Easter baskets and Easter egg hunts,
we know, as Christians, that the real reason for Easter
is to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus!
Alleluia! He is Risen!
This coming week is known all over the world as Holy Week…
the time when we reflect on the life, the death and, ultimately,
the resurrection of Jesus.
We remember His actions and ponder His messages
as we once again proclaim Him as our Lord and Savior!
He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!
For our Littles, especially our littlest ones,
it can be tough to grasp the meaning of Holy Week and Easter…
It is huge and complicated and even a bit scary!
However, as adults, we can start to plant the seeds
of this miraculous journey in their minds -
beginning with the simple fact that
Jesus Loves Us!
Today we are excited to share some of the ways in which we have woven teachable moments into Easter activities, first with our children as they grew up and now with our own grandchildren!
Laurie has some simple activities to share
that she did with Little D while she was taking care of her last week!
Hopefully, they will give you some fun faith-filled ideas
to try with your own littlest Littles, too!
Sing “Jesus Loves Me” Together!
This well known children’s song is the perfect one to sing with your littlest Littles! What better message is there to reinforce with them! As an added bonus, try teaching your Littles the sign language for the song (or for the chorus only). Here’s a link to a Youtube video that shows you how to do it!
The Color Purple!
Purple is the color of Lent. Find all your Little’s purple toys and introduce them to the color. Little D LOVES purple so this was a big success for her! NOTE: The colors typically associated with Easter Sunday are white and gold! You can go on a hunt for all the white objects (and/or gold objects) you can find!
Before being placed in the tomb, Jesus’ body was wrapped in gauze. Find a large piece of gauze and play peek-a-boo with your child. As an alternative, Instead of saying “Peek-a-boo”, you could say “Mommy loves you!” and “Jesus loves you!” as you play the game!
Dramatic Play - Jesus in the Tomb!
I made a simple paper Easter scene with a cross, a tomb and a picture of Jesus. I told an easy story of Easter with Little D - “Jesus died on the cross for us. They put him in a tomb and sealed it with a big rock. In the morning the rock was rolled away!” She enjoyed the simple steps of moving Jesus from the cross to the tomb, and pushing the big heavy rock away!
A Cheerio Cross!
(1) Little D strung Cheerios on 2 pipe cleaners. I held the pipe cleaners for her to keep it steady.
(2). Twist the 2 pipe cleaners together to form the cross. A cross is a symbol your Littles can learn to recognize early in life.
NOTE: Older Littles would enjoy using beads to create a cross!
Eggs are a sign of new life, and they can be a symbol of the new life given through the resurrection of Jesus! This hands on activity would definitely be a fun one to do with your Littles!
(1). Take some plastic eggs and fill them about half way with items that will produce different sounds. (Little D helped me with this!) Some suggestions are pasta, rice, coins, bells, rocks, cereal. Use hot glue or regular glue to cement them shut to keep the eggs safe from spilling their contents. You can store them in an egg carton or a basket.
(2). Let your child experiment with the eggs and the different sounds they make.
(3). The Shaky Egg Song (also called I Know a Chicken from the Laurie Berkner Band) is a fun song to do with your Shaky Eggs that the whole family will love! It works on many concepts such as fast, slow, up, down as you move and groove with your eggs!
As your Littles grow older and they begin to
understand more about Holy Week and Easter
you can weave more details into your holiday activities!
When our families were young, both Laura and Laurie went with their families to a drive-through passion play at a local church. This activity was geared toward young children and it always took place during the late afternoon/early evening of Palm Sunday! We’d bundle our kids into our cars, plug in the audio cassette provided by the church volunteers and then drive our cars through the parking lot, stopping at several stations as more volunteers (along with live animals) acted out the Holy Week story. This activity was the perfect way to introduce Holy Week each year. Sadly, this experience has not been offered for several years near us but it would definitely be worth the time to Google search to see if such an event is available in your area!
It was important to each of us, as parents, to find engaging ways
to build teachable moments about Easter
Into our Holy Week plans each year.
By doing so, we figured that our children would be
more likely to remember the story
and understand its true meaning!
Here are some of the ways we’ve done so
with our own children, past Sunday School classes and
now our current Littles!
When Laura’s Daughter J was in kindergarten she found this set of Resurrection Eggs at a Lifeway store.
Each of the twelve colorful plastic eggs included holds a different surprise item that takes Jesus' journey to the cross and beyond right into your Littles’ hands.
For many years after, Daughter J and Daughter A would pull this set out of storage and tell the Easter story together, in their own words, using the eggs to do so! Laura’s family loved the Resurrection Eggs so much that they donated a few sets to the Children’s Ministry program at church. (NOTE: The photos above are from the original sets Laura purchased in the late 90’s or early 2000’s. If interested, here’s a link to a commercial set currently available at Amazon.)
Laurie, as you may recall, was Laura’s Daughter J’s Sunday School teacher for many years! Laurie used one of the sets of Resurrection Eggs that Laura had donated to the Children’s Ministry program with her Sunday School class and then followed up by having the children in the class each create their very own set! (If you are wondering... yes! We both still have the Resurrection Eggs set that our kids made in Sunday School with Laurie! 🥰
If you are interested in making your own set(s) with your Little(s), we’ve got two suggestions for you below… oh if only we’d had Pinterest all those years ago!
from Creations by Kara
This version provides directions for creating your own set of Resurrection Eggs, including scripture readings for each egg!
from Baby Devotions
This pint-sized version is perfect for small hands and short attention spans, including 6 colorful eggs and symbols of the story that you create for your toddler!
Easter Resurrection Cookies!
One of the other fun ideas that Laurie sent home with her Sunday School kids all those years ago was a recipe for making Resurrection Cookies with families! Of course, that was the only invitation Laura’s Daughter J needed! For several years, Laura and her girls would prepare these cookies on Saturday evening, once again revisiting the Easter story since each of the ingredients highlighted an important event from Holy Week! When the cookies were on the tray and the oven had been preheated, we’d put the cookies in the oven, turn the oven off and tape the oven door shut to mimic Jesus’s tomb... then we’d have to wait until Easter morning to discover that the cookies were ready but empty on the inside! What could be better than a sweet treat with such a great reminder of the day’s Good News… Jesus is not here! He is Risen!
(NOTE: We don’t have any photos of these meringue cookies from our own experiences so we’ve included a link to a site that provides a recipe and instructions that explains the significance of each ingredient!)
from Num’s the Word
This is a hands on interactive experience for you and your children to learn and review the Easter story!
In more recent years, Laura would make Resurrection Rolls that her family would enjoy on Easter morning when they returned from the day’s worship service! These breakfast treats, once again, retell the Easter story… Little L helped Laura make them earlier this weekend! Yum!
Making these this past weekend brought back memories for Laura and her family! And… we’d all agree that they were just as delicious as we remembered!
A Jelly Bean Prayer!
Have you heard of this prayer before? When Laura’s family would host Easter dinner, the girls would make nut cups or little pouches filled with the jelly beans to remind us all of the story of Easter and we’d include a little note explaining the significance of each jelly bean!
Some day, we can each imagine having our Littles create these favors for a family gathering! (Feel free to capture our graphics - the Jelly Bean Prayer below and the recipe for Resurrection Rolls above and copy as you wish!)
While many of these activities may sound familiar to you,
they each bear repeating
now that we are looking at them through the lens of a Grand!
Imagine how meaningful it would be
to share one or more of these experiences with your Littles
while providing a glimpse into your own faith story, as well!
In addition to the ideas we’ve offered above,
Here are some other engaging resources you might find helpful…
now or in the future!
💜 Share Your Own Childhood Memories of Easter with Your Littles!
Did you and your family go to the sunrise Easter service when YOU were little? Did the Easter bunny visit? If so… before or after church? Did you have family come to your home for Easter dinner or did you travel to another family member’s home? What was/is your favorite dish when eating Easter dinner? Do you have a favorite Easter memory to share? Take the time to share your memories with your Littles and let them ask you questions, too! And, of course, provide a listening ear when your Littles have their own stories to tell!
💜 Send Your Littles on a Resurrection Scavenger Hunt!
This Resurrection Scavenger Hunt from Happy Home Fairy looks to be the perfect activity for those energetic moments when your Littles are filled with the treats the Easter Bunny has left behind! It’s definitely one we’re hanging on to!
💜 Make Butterfly Decorations!
Laura’s mom loved butterflies and she’d always remind her loved ones that the life cycle of the butterfly was like the life of Jesus! We would make butterfly projects to celebrate the Easter season! This would be an easy and fun project to do with older Littles! Check out this New Creation Butterfly Verse activity from The Littles and Me for a fun and faith-filled option!
💜 Have an Easter Craft Ready for Your Littles to Create!
When either of us would have family over for the holiday, we’d try our best to have an activity or two that would keep the Littles engaged during the long afternoon! Oriental Trading has always been a great resource for inexpensive craft projects. Tap here for some ideas! Laura has also ordered Easter Sticker Scenes (secular and religious options available) from Amazon - visiting Littles have had lots of fun decorating these!
As with any teachable moment, we would never presume that a one time experience, or even a few would have a lasting impact on our Littles! Rather, our Littles will benefit most from repeated opportunities that take place over time and build upon each other from year to year. In fact, while we shared several ideas within this post, realistically we would only pick 2-3 activities to focus on within a given year. In addition, we’d be sure to consider the following, as well…
#1 - Keep it simple! The biggest mistake adults make is complicating the Easter story (or any other bible story for that matter) with big words and lots of details! That can be overwhelming! Remember to think like children and speak their language!
#2 - Let them share! The more opportunities you give children to open up about what they believe, the more they will do so!
#3 - Pray with your Littles! What better way is there to develop a relationship with God and Jesus! Again, keep it short and simple… you can even do an echo prayer (where your Littles repeat after you) and you can always shout “Amen” together at the end!
Sharing in the excitement and anticipation our Littles feel as Easter arrives is pure joy for these two Grands! We hope some of the ideas offered in this post will provide opportunities for you to share the joy of your faith with the Littles in your life!
As always, thanks so much for following along!
We’ll be back on Thursday (April 6) with a quick post
sharing one more edible way to enjoy the message of Easter
with your Littles!
We are joining these lovely link up parties and blogs: