There are many ways families choose to celebrate this HOLY day we call Easter… and I’ve had all kinds of opinions over the years. I’ve thought it absolutely crazy to use abstract imagery with young, concrete thinking kids. I’ve thought “they don’t get it” and “it’s just confusing” and “why would you even bother.”
You know, I do think that very young kids don’t always get everything we share with them. And I do think that we should be very careful at church to not lie or offer imagery that undermines the Truth we are teaching… but I also think if we practice better the use of what I think is the #1 teaching method, CONVERSATION (talking with a child that includes listening and honestly answering questions)… we can take some abstract concepts to meaningful, literal understanding.
Most of what I remember from my childhood (especially very young childhood) is surrounded by feelings… not facts. I don’t remember learning specific facts about the Bible stories we heard, I remember that my Sunday School teachers loved me and loved the Bible she was teaching from. I don’t remember specific Bible verses we learned, but I remember that my Bible Drill teacher was a lot of fun and loved teaching us how to use our Bible. The fondest memories I have are wrapped up in warm, loving, and healthy feelings that eventually “connected” and the abstractness of the fun became reality and eternally meaningful.
That being said, I want to share a fun and ABSTRACT activity I’ve used with my young friends (AT HOME) that I think it created wonderful, loving, and meaningful memories.
- 1 c whole pecans or 1 c mini-chocolate chips (for nut allergy)
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 3 egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cups sugar
- 2 zipper bags
- Wooden spoon
STEP 1: Preheat oven to 300.
STEP 2: Place pecans (or mini-chocolate chips) in a zipper bag (you might want to “double bag” to make sure you don’t have a big mess) and let kids beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, the Roman soldiers beat him. (Read John 19:1-3)
STEP 3: Let the kids smell the vinegar and even taste it. Add the vinegar it into a mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. (Read John 19:28-30)
STEP 4: Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. (Read John 10:10-11)
STEP 5: Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers. (Read Luke 23:27)
STEP 6: Add sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know Him. (Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16)
STEP 7: Using an electric mixer, beat egg white mixture on high speed until stiff peaks are formed (12-15 minutes). Explain that the color white represents the purity and cleaning of our sins because of what Jesus did for us. (Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3)
STEP 8: Fold in broken nut or mini-chocolate chips and drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. (Read Matthew 27:57-60)
STEP 9: Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven off. (The cookies will bake in the pre-heated oven overnight if you DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR). Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. (Read Matthew 27:65-66)
STEP 10: Go to bed and explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers felt despair when the tomb was sealed too. (Read John 16:20-22)
STEP 11: On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Celebrate that Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed! (Read Matthew 28:1-9)
So… there you have it… a fun, meaningful, and ABSTRACT way to learn about the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ in a hands-on, memorable way.
Let me know how you celebrate and make memories with your kids!