Easter is a fab time to do faith at home, but sometimes it’s tricky to work out what to do, and what will work best for our family. Here’s a list of things I love to do, not all of them every year, but as we have space and time.
- Read or listen to the whole Easter story.
You could do this from any of the four gospels in 30 minutes to an hour, even starting at the part of the story where Jesus rides into Jerusalem. You could even read or listen in a place that relates to the story. Now, I’m not saying go to Israel (although that would be cool!), but rather think about the locations various parts of the story occur in and read the story there. Here are some of my favourite books for under 5s for Easter and here is one of my faves for 5-10s.
- Watch a film of the story.
Our favourites are: Lion of Judah – The lamb that saved the world – This explores Easter from the lamb’s perspective. He meets Jesus which is quite cool, and we see the temple and the priest preparing for the sacrifice, which is a bit scary – especially for the lamb! There are some very humorous talking animals, who are kind of unnecessary but definitely funny. Friends and Heroes – Episodes 37-39 feature the story of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet, His last supper arrest, trial, death and resurrection.
For adults, we’ve found Risen a great Easter film. The story is about a Roman Tribune who has to find the missing body of Jesus, whose followers are claiming He has risen from the dead. We found it great for getting us thinking about what it would have been like to be there, and the significance of Jesus’ death for us. Once you have explored the story in a new way, you could choose a way to re-tell it. Here are some ideas:
- Make an Easter garden
This works best if you start three to four weeks before Easter. Use a tray or shallow plant pot base and add a smaller plant pot on its side to create a tomb. Add soil all around and over the top of the pot. Sprinkle some fast-growing seeds over the soil (grass seed works well) and keep moist with water. A spray bottle works great and is easy for children to control. That is the basic garden, add a largish stone in front of the tomb and decorate with a cross or small stones.
Alternatively, you can do a no grow garden like this one.
Make Easter Story Sweet-filled Eggs
We’ve done this using chocolate and moulds, adding sweets in the centre that relate to different parts of the Easter story (eg mouth shapes for Judas’ kiss in the garden, a heart to explain why Jesus died for us, a snake to explain the problem Jesus came to solve, fish for the resurrected Jesus and the mega catch of fish, a jelly baby for Jesus, two stick-shaped sweets to create a cross shape. See if you can find a chicken (for the rooster) or a palm tree (for the palm leaf on the road into Jerusalem) or a donkey!
Make a mini film or photo book of the story
This is a great way to process the story, working out which bits are most important to include and which parts are speaking to you this year. This will probably be different for each family member, so either make separate projects or leave time for discussions! I’ve used FreePrints Photobooks to make photo books for £5.99 including P&P, and they usually seem to arrive earlier than they promise, which means if you make the book in the first half of Lent, you’ll have your book in time for Easter. (Here’s one we did at Christmas)
Have an open-ended response time
Set out mini stations with creative material for people to choose from. This is best done straight after reading or listening to part of the story. I’ve done this with felt, lolly sticks and buttons, and magnetic poetry. I usually offer a wide selection of materials: construction, art, small people (e.g. peg doll or play Mobil), clothes for dens and dressing up and so on.
- Make some Story Stones
I made a set of story stones and we used them to tell various bible stories. I recommend using your story stones with this downloadable GodVenture Through the life of Jesus Activity Book which includes the death and resurrection of Jesus.
- Mini Egg Prayers
Praying with sweets is always a favourite!
- Explore the Easter story with pictures
This post has a variety of ideas and activities using pictures you can download for free.
- Make and use a Holy Week Box
This is a simple but powerful way to read and reflect on the Easter story once a day for the week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.