Print out the tags below and have kids help build these Easter treats. As you work, remind kids about the story of Jesus and what this treat represents.
Print out the tags below. Attach them to carrot-shaped cellophane bags filled with candy and hand them out on Easter to teachers or volunteers. If your church is meeting virtually, consider a porch drop-off for volunteers.
By Alyssa Jones
This year, make sure your kids remember Easter for more than pastel colors or baskets of treats. The significance of Easter is so much greater than hollow bunnies. Jesus is so much greater! Before you prepare your kids’ hearts for Easter, spend time preparing your own heart by considering why we celebrate Easter.
Why do we celebrate Easter?
Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are essential to the Christian faith. If we teach Jesus as a respected teacher and miracle-worker who claimed to be the Messiah and who was crucified on the cross—but who was not resurrected—then we are teaching the Jesus of Judaism. If we teach Jesus as a wise teacher and prophet who ascended into heaven—but who was not crucified—then we are teaching the Jesus of Islam.
Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 that this is the most important truth: “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (emphasis mine).
Review the events of Passion Week (Holy Week). Begin with Jesus’ triumphal entry, which we remember on Palm Sunday. Read Matthew 21:1-17. People welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem as their King. On Good Friday, we remember Jesus’ death on the cross (read Matthew 27), and on Easter we celebrate His victory over sin and death. Read Matthew 28. Jesus’ death and resurrection paid the penalty for sins and provided the promise of new life. Jesus appeared to His disciples and to more than 500 witnesses. (See 1 Cor. 15:6.) Jesus appeared to many people as proof that God had raised Jesus from the dead, and He is still alive today.
We do not worship a dead Savior. Jesus is alive! There is hope for sinners. Jesus’ resurrection gives believers the promise of new life. “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22). That is why we celebrate Easter.
Celebrating Easter with Kids
On Palm Sunday 2014, my husband and I welcomed our first born—a son. At a week old, we took him to our church’s Easter service and he slept through the whole thing. In the years since, we’ve welcomed two more children and told them frequently about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
As we look forward to celebrating another Easter, I’m excited to tell them the greatest news. This story doesn’t get old: Jesus died on the cross and is alive! I’ll repeat it again and again, until it sinks in. And even then, I’ll say it some more. Your kids may already be familiar with the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection too. In the weeks leading up to Easter, share the story in a variety of ways. Read it from the Bible. Tell it in your own words. Invite kids to retell the story in their own words. Draw or paint pictures. Whether you are sharing the story of Easter for the first time or the twentieth time, keep these things in mind:
1. Don’t assume the gospel.
This one may seem obvious, but don’t assume your children will connect the dots that these events in history are the center of a bigger picture. At every age, remind kids that Jesus was killed and this was part of God’s plan all along. Use the parts of The Gospel: God’s Plan for Me to walk step-by-step through the gospel story.
2. Ask questions.
Asking questions not only engages quieter kids, it challenges everyone to think more deeply about a familiar story. You might ask a question one day, and then another during a retelling of the story on a different day. Especially with older kids, prompt them to consider questions such as these:
- Why did the people want to kill Jesus?
- What did Jesus’ death do for us?
- Why is the resurrection important?
- Where is Jesus today?
Read from the Bible and ask questions.
- Read Matthew 27:33-56. Ask: Why do you think God planned for His Son to die on the cross? How does this story make you feel?
- Read Matthew 28:1-17. Ask: If you were one of Jesus’ disciples, would you have believed that Jesus had risen from the dead? Why or why not?
- Assist your child in looking up and reading the following Scriptures: Matthew 28:6. Mark 16:6; Luke 24:12; John 20:3-7. Ask: What can we know is true from each of these passages?
3. Apply the story.
Jesus’ death and resurrection has changed everything! Lead your kids to live in light of the gospel. Consider these prompts to guide discussion.
- How does Jesus’ resurrection give us hope?
- What reasons do we have to be joyful?
- What reasons do we have to forgive others?
Explain that Jesus died on the cross for each of us so we would not die because of our sin. But Jesus did not stay dead. Jesus rose from the dead, and He is alive today! Jesus’ sacrifice was once and for all. When we trust in Jesus, we are forgiven and can have a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus.
Celebrate our risen Savior by singing your favorite worship song. Pray and thank God for sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins. Thank Him for raising Jesus from the dead!
The true message of Easter can get jumbled in the games, activities, and events associated with this celebration. As you teach that Jesus died on the cross and rose again, emphasize why this is good news. Jesus came to die to bring people to God. (1 Pet. 3:18) In Him, we have forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Now that’s a reason to celebrate.
Alyssa Jones worships and serves with her husband at Refuge Franklin, a church plant outside of Nashville, Tennessee. They have three children.
One of the most celebrated weeks in the lives of Christians is Easter week, or Holy week. Many churches schedule multiple events throughout Holy week, starting with Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. While churches will vary in how they observe the events of Holy week, all of these are great days to celebrate both with your church and your family. One great way to celebrate at home is through a guided family devotional. Resurrection Sunday and the events leading up to it, provide a simple outline for starting or continuing “at home” discipleship.
From the triumphal entry through resurrection Sunday, Lifeway Kids invites you to download this brand new 8-day family devotional that will guide parents and kids through Bible readings, discussion questions, and family activities that will equip parents to have gospel conversations in their homes.
Try these fun and easy Easter activities at home with your kids this Easter weekend.
My kids love to cook and bake with me. Each year we look forward to baking Resurrection Rolls for Easter! It’s a creative way to tell the story of Jesus’s burial and resurrection. Here’s the recipe and the story to tell while assembling the rolls. Enjoy and have fun celebrating the truth that our Savior is risen!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2 cans of crescent rolls
16 large marshmallows
½ C melted butter
¼ C granulated sugar
2 TBSP cinnamon
The story (Note: you may want to modify for younger children)
Jesus is God’s son who was sent to earth to pay the price for our sin. He never sinned. The white of this marshmallow represents the purity and sin-free nature of Christ.
After Jesus died his body was prepared for burial. After he was buried, his friends prepared him to be buried with oil and spices. Dip the marshmallow in butter, then in sugar and cinnamon.
Jesus was wrapped in linen and placed in a tomb with a large rock rolled in front. Wrap the marshmallow in one triangle of dough covering it completely like a ball (rock).
Complete the process for all 16 triangles and marshmallows.
Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
Allow rolls to cool. Say after 3 days, his friends went to visit the tomb but the rock was rolled away and two angels said, “why are you looking for the living among the dead?”
Reveal that when you cut open a roll or take a bite that the marshmallow has disappeared, leaving an empty “tomb.”
Remind children that the rolls are sweet just like the love God has for us.
Follow-up by reading the Easter story together from the Bible so that children know that it is true and that Jesus died for them and wants to be their savior. Pray with children, thanking God for the gift of Jesus.
Jana Magruder serves as the Director of Lifeway Kids. She is a Baylor graduate and offers a wealth of experience and passion for kids ministry, education, and publishing. She is the author of Kids Ministry that Nourishes and Life Verse Creative Journal, which she co-authored with her teenage daughter. She and her husband, Michael, along with their three children reside in Nashville.
Easter may look a little different this year, but we can still engage with kids and families during this important time. This devotional guide is a free eight-day resource taking families through the resurrection week. Parents and kids will interact with stories and pray together throughout the week as they go from the Triumphal Entry to the resurrection.
Click here to download your free 2020 Easter Devotional Guide for Families and distribute it to families in your ministry today.
We hope this devotional is a blessing in uncertain times. May we truly celebrate our Savior’s resurrection this Easter and beyond. Happy Easter!
As COVID-19 has forced churches to forgo meeting on campuses forcing kids ministries to cancel egg hunts, programs, and other critical ministry events, many kids ministry leaders are wondering what to do for Easter. How can we serve our families and communities during such an important time of the year? The Gospel Project wants to help with a free ministry resource.
This time when so many families are home round the clock has made ministry challenging, but perhaps we can find a silver lining in it. What if we saw this as an opportunity for us as kids ministry leaders to serve the family in a unique way and provide a Resurrection experience that we probably could not do otherwise? What if we provided five online gatherings for us to serve our families in the home during Easter week? Not five Sundays of teaching kids. Not a one morning egg hunt event—but five opportunities within eight days to connect with our kids and families, bringing us together with them and them together with one another.
That is what the 2020 Family Easter Event is all about. This Family Easter Event will allow you to walk through the story of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection as it happened during the week. You will begin with the Triumphal Entry the Sunday before Easter. You will celebrate the Lord’s Supper on Thursday, then the crucifixion, resurrection, and appearances of Jesus in the order they occurred.
5 Steps to Getting Started
- Download the free resources. Below you will find everything you need for this event—PDFs and MP4 files that you can imbed in your gathering teaching times. Share the Activity Pages with your families and encourage them to print them in advance.
- Schedule the event. Try to choose the same time for each day’s gathering. Early evening may be the perfect time just before or after family dinner, but with so many families home all week, you could do something mid-day too.
- Determine how you will gather with your families. Facebook offers a great opportunity to create an event, invite your families to attend, and then either use Facebook Live as you share with families, or show a pre-recorded video. But there are many other options out there such as Zoom and Google Hangouts. Determine your method and let your families know.
- Plan each teaching time. While the leader guide was designed for weekly small group gatherings, you should be able to adapt it easily for this event. Consider starting with the Activity Page, then explain the events leading up to that day’s session. Show the Bible Story video, and then use the prompts from the Leader Guides to explain what families just saw. Show the Key Passage (a memory verse) and use one of the Key Passage activities to help families learn that verse. Wrap up by showing the Questions from Kids video and encourage families to discuss the question posed back to them as a family as they can also use the family discussion starter ideas on the Activity Pages for further conversation. That’s just a starting point. You can consider including other activities and elements as you desire.
- Consider the “icing on the cake”. Consider any other ways you can engage with your families during this time or to help advance family discipleship. Using Zoom or Google Hangouts? Invite interaction from the families. How about having your pastor join in on Thursday to share more about the Lord’s Supper? Maybe provide instructions for making Resurrection Rolls on Friday. Be creative and have fun!
- Sunday, April 5: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry
- Thursday, April 9: The Last Supper
- Friday, April 10: Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection
- Sunday, April 12: The Emmaus Disciples
- Monday, April 13: Jesus Appeared to the Disciples
- Leader Guide
- Preschool Activity Pages
- Younger Kids Activity Pages
- Older Kids Activity Pages
- Bible Story Pictures
- Key Passage Posters
- Gospel Plan Poster
- Countdown Video
- Jesus’ Triumphal Entry [Bible Story] [Questions from Kids]
- The Last Supper [Bible Story] [Questions from Kids]
- Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection [Bible Story] [Questions from Kids]
- The Emmaus Disciples [Bible Story] [Questions from Kids]
- Jesus Appeared to the Disciples [Bible Story] [Questions from Kids]
- Gospel Presentation Video
- Access all videos in Vimeo
ACTIVITIES TO CONSIDER
While not all of the activities in the leader guide will work in the home, here are several to consider using during your online gatherings or suggesting families do together afterward.
- Jesus’ Triumphal Entry: Make Dramatic Entrances, Hunt for Rocks, Play “Follow the Robes”
- The Last Supper: Sing “Head, Heart, Hands, and Feet,” Make Feet Lacing Cards,” Wash Preschoolers Feet
- Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection: Replicate an Earthquake with Blocks, Compare Rocks, Sing a Song, Build an Empty Tomb with Blocks, Make a Cross Painting, Dress Up Like a King
- The Emmaus Disciples: Silly Walks, Play “Who Do You Know?,” Find Jesus’ Name in Bibles, Make Jesus Bookmarks, Play Out Teaching Bible Stories
- Jesus Appeared to the Disciples: Play “I Spy,” Guess What Appeared, Create a Special Handshake, Make Invitations
- Jesus’ Triumphal Entry: Parade Brigade, Storytelling Stations, Rocks Cry Out
- The Last Supper: Hide-and-Seek Dinner, Toe Painting, Hidden Objects
- Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection: In-Out-In, Gospel Practice
- The Emmaus Disciples: Blind Pathway, Everything Points to Jesus
- Jesus Appeared to the Disciples: Which Surprise Is Best?, Reverse Charades
- Jesus’ Triumphal Entry: Moo Baa Hee-Haw
- The Last Supper: Play Dough Meal, Would You?, Supper Symbols
- Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection: Twenty Questions
- The Emmaus Disciples: Blind Toss, Closed-Eye Drawings
- Jesus Appeared to the Disciples: Make Introductions, Collect and Conclude, Invisible Messages
**Note: Not all items referenced in the Leader Guide (such as missions videos and activity printables) are included for this event. These are not provided to keep things as simple as possible for you as a ministry leader as you quickly develop an online event. **
The annual Easter egg hunt is over, leaving in its wake empty plastic egg shells covered in dry grass and stained with melted chocolate. When you and your team were stuffing those 14,000 eggs, you thought this day would never come. You fretted over securing enough candy, and your house looked like the chickens had come home to roost. Now, you’re wondering why you feel blue.
After a major event—even one filled with blissful mirth—feeling melancholy is normal. One way to escape the doldrums is to get some physical nourishment and rest. Next, take some time to evaluate the Easter egg hunt. I suggest doing this alone first, and then with your team. Ask yourself (and your team) questions such as these:
- What was our goal or purpose for the event? (If you held the Easter egg hunt because, “We always have one,” then you may need to redefine your goal before planning the next one.)
- Did we accomplish that goal or purpose? In what specific ways?
- Did we plan the event with enough lead time to be successful?
- Did the entire church participate, or just a select few? How can we involve more people in the next big event?
- Who came to the egg hunt? Regular attenders of our church? Unchurched people in our community?
- How did the Easter egg hunt further the mission of our church?
- What can we do next year during the Easter season to reach families with the gospel?
We ask ourselves these tough questions to ensure that egg hunts and other events are vehicles that help accomplish the mission of the Church as set forth in Matthew 28:18-20, to “make disciples.” All those mismatched plastic eggs you find under your couch and in the church flower bed six months from now, just might be worth it.
Landry Holmes is the Manager of Lifeway Kids Ministry Publishing, Nashville, TN. A graduate of Howard Payne University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Landry served on church staffs before coming to Lifeway. He is a church leader, writer, workshop facilitator, and publisher. Landry also teaches children at his church in Middle Tennessee. He and his wife Janetta are the grandparents of two adorable grandbabies.
Each year in the weeks leading up to Easter we hear from churches, parents, and leaders who are looking for intentional ways to keep their children focused on the resurrection amidst all the celebration. We are so encouraged by families’ commitments to celebrate the Easter story together and have created an Easter Devotional Guide to help you do just that. We hope our resources help you lead family discipleship throughout your entire church.
Post the link on your kids ministry social media page or print out copies of the guide to hand out next Sunday. May we truly celebrate our Savior’s resurrection this Easter and beyond. Happy Easter!