Teaching our kids about the death and resurrection of Jesus is one of the most important things we can teach them — it is, after all, the Gospel!
The amazing thing about the Gospel is that it applies to our lives every. single. day. of the year, not just at Easter.
Yet, what an incredible opportunity Easter presents to tell, retell, clarify, and reinforce the foundation of our faith!
These activities provide rich opportunities to learn more about resurrection and give opportunities to demonstrate and discuss what it means to experience new life.
1. Grow a Butterfly Farm
Purchase a butterfly kit to use at the beginning of Lent. (This is the one our family has used.) As a family, take care of the caterpillars. As they build their cocoons and morph into butterflies. Not only are your kids getting a science lesson, but this is a tangible example for little hearts of “death” and resurrection and how when we put our trust in Jesus, we are changed into new creations. When you set the butterflies free, talk about the promise of ascension and how we will one day live with Jesus forever in Heaven!
2. Hatch Baby Chicks
If you are unable to hatch your own baby chicks, search for a local farm, pet store, neighbor, or children’s museum with chicken eggs. Visit regularly until the eggs hatch.
3. Blooming Bulbs
Every fall our family plants more tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths in our garden. We learn so many lessons from planting the seeds in the dirt, watering, watching, and waiting for the new life to grow.
But even if you didn’t plant bulbs in the fall, you can force bloom bulbs.
- Purchase crocus, tulip, or other spring bulbs as well as a flowerpot that is at least twice as tall as your bulbs.
- Mix some potting soil with bulb fertilizer and partially fill the pot with soil.
- Place 3-4 bulbs in the pot, making sure the bulbs aren’t touching and the tips aren’t showing above the soil.
- Water the soil, keeping it damp and in a cool, dark place (if you don’t have a basement or cool area to store the pots, you can even use the refrigerator).
- When the stems are about two inches high, move the pot to a warm, sunny place for the bulbs to continue to grow.
- After about 12 weeks, your bulbs should be blooming!
As your bulbs bloom into beautiful flowers, talk about how Jesus makes us a new creation. You can also talk about the importance of good soil (Matthew 13), being attached to the plant in order to grow (John 15), and the idea of waiting to see the results of our choices (Galatians 6:9).
4. Illustrate Forgiveness and New Life
Gather the following supplies ::
- A dirty penny
- a cup
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ cup of vinegar
With the kids, combine the vinegar and salt in a cup.
Drop the dirty penny into the cup and allow it to sit for about five minutes.
When you pull the penny out of the cup, you will find the old, dirty penny has been transformed into a clean, shiny penny.
Discuss how the penny demonstrates sin in our lives. The dirty penny is like our sin-filled lives, but when we accept Jesus as our Savior and receive His forgiveness, He washes away our sin and we’re made “new” – just like the penny!
5. Use the Egg
A hard-boiled egg can be used to illustrate the story of Easter.
- Dye the egg red to represent the blood that was shed for the forgiveness of sin.
- Explain how the hard shell represents the sealed tomb where Christ was buried.
- The breaking of the egg represents Jesus’ resurrection from the dead!
6. Telling the Whole Resurrection Story
If you’re looking for activities and ideas to tell the whole story of the death and resurrection of Jesus, or have less prep time than the activities above call for, consider using one of the options below.
Clean on the Inside
Clean on the Inside is a family devotional with daily Scripture and kid-focused devotional readings, discussion questions, and application activities to help families focus on Jesus leading up to Easter.
The focus of this devotional isn’t just about knowing the story but of being transformed by it.
Find out more about Clean on the Inside here.
7. Resurrection Eggs
Resurrection eggs walk you and your kids through the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection!
I love the open-endedness of Resurrection Eggs because it allows for conversation, questions, and connections, but I also appreciate this activity because it doesn’t gloss over the death part of the story and skip right to the new life.
If we want to tell the story of Jesus, if we want to know the Gospel, we need to understand both death AND resurrection.
Hearing what the kids are thinking and wondering as they process the greatest story ever told, helps deepen my faith, and I love the way it gives us concrete examples to return to as we continue to understand the gospel in our lives throughout the year.
This activity can be done daily (one egg a day) or all at one time (using all 12 eggs at once).
Each egg holds a small object to give a tangible representation of the Scripture passage and portion of the Easter story. There are lots of options to purchase Resurrection Eggs, but they are also simple enough to make your own! (see below) or purchase a ready-made set here
If you have older and younger kids in your family, you might even consider having the older kids prepare the eggs for the younger! Not only will the lessons be reinforced, but the kids will be more invested in the activities!
Buy RESURRECTION EGGS
To MAKE YOUR OWN ::
If you have older and younger kids in your family, consider having the older kids prepare the eggs. Not only will the lessons be reinforced, but the kids will be more invested in the activities.
- Gather an egg carton, 12 plastic eggs, and the trinkets listed below.
- Number the eggs 1-12.
- Add the following objects to each egg.
- Egg #1: Oyster cracker (or bread) – Matthew 26:26
- Egg #2: Silver coins – Matthew 26:14-16
- Egg #3: Purple cloth – Matthew 27:28
- Egg #4: Thorns – Matthew 27:29
- Egg #5: Rope – Mark 15:15
- Egg #6: Cross – John 19:16-17
- Egg #7: Nail – John 19:18
- Egg #8: Sign that says, “This is the king of the Jews.” – Luke 23:38
- Egg #9: Sponge (with vinegar) – Matthew 27:48
- Egg #10: Cloves or spices – Luke 23:5-6
- Egg #11: Rock – Matthew 27:59-60
- Egg #12: EMPTY! – Matthew 28:55-56
(If needed, be flexible with the objects. Use what you have on hand. At times, we’ve used a purple hair bow in place of cloth and thorns cut from the rose bushes.)
Grab a free printable of the Scripture verses HERE. Also, this book is a great resource to go along with Resurrection Eggs.
8. Egg Hunt Story Search
Use a classic, fun easter egg hunt and turn it into an opportunity to tell the story of Jesus!
- Write out parts of the Easter story on small slips of paper.
- Put the slips of paper and a small treat inside plastic eggs.
- Hide the eggs.
- Before beginning the egg hunt, tell the Easter story.
- Send the kids out to find the eggs and put the story in the correct order once all of the eggs have been found.
- Read the story aloud together.
9. Eternity Means Forever
*This activity was shared by Vance Fry on the Focus on the Family website.
Use this activity to help your kids understand that Christ’s resurrection means that we can have eternal life!
Lay a skein of yarn on a table and pull 2 inches of yarn from one end. Ask your child to slowly pull on this piece, and when she has pulled out about an arm’s length of yarn, snip it off with scissors. Tell your kids that this piece of yarn has a beginning and an end, just like our lives here on earth.
Take the snipped piece of yarn and tie it back onto the skein, explaining that, through Christ, we are free to live with God forever. When Jesus died and rose again, He gave us eternal life. Although our time on earth will come to an end, our life with God will go on and on forever. Celebrate the power of the Resurrection by allowing your kids to pull freely on the piece of yarn and run with it as it unravels from the skein. Let them run out of the room! Up the stairs!
Pray together, thanking God for sending His Son and welcoming us into eternal life with Him. (source)
Using Media to tell the Resurrection Story
One of our favorite faith-based family resources is Minno Kids, formerly named Jelly Telly, a Christian cartoon streaming service. We love Minno Kids and are thrilled that they’ve pulled together a collection of kids’ cartoons communicating the Easter story and the Gospel. Check them out here — oh and grab a FREE week of Minno!
Easter books are a dime a dozen, but finding Easter books that focus on the cross and what Jesus did for us can be difficult.
Check out our favorite Jesus-centered Easter books in this post.
Even if we use bunnies and baskets and Easter egg hunts, let’s make sure to keep the focus on Jesus and the great invitation He’s given to us!
Question for You ::
How are you planning to share the Gospel with your kids this Easter?
Sr. Emily Morgan, RSM says
Is it permitted to use some of these idea in a seasonal newsletter for families in our educational programs?