Guest post: A different Holy Week Box


Naomi Elliott is helping children play as a way of learning and growing in their faith. She’s passionate about open-ended play (where children are free to create their own rules and meaning) and using natural and easy-to-come-by items rather than expensive, bought items.

In this post she shares about a Holy Week Box she’s created:

I love playful approaches to doing faith at home.

Have you heard of Holy Week In A Box? Not my own idea but one that appealed because of its simplicity and also as a practical option to deliver to church families during lockdown.

There are several versions but the main idea is that a small box is filled with objects that represent some of the different events of Holy Week to help a family explore those events in a tactile way.

Naomi is married to a vicar and has two boys, ages 5 and 7, and is always experimenting and creating ways for her family and the families in her churches to engage with God in fun, hands-on, meaningful ways.

Keen for the experience to be hands-on I’ve tried to supply props connected with each story that needed something doing to them. So I’ve invited the families to

  • cut the green paper into leaves for Palm Sunday and dress and undress their figures with the black cloaks,
  • fold the silver foil into coins for the Temple,
  • make something with plasticine that might feature at the Last Supper,
  • build trees, leaves or olives for the Garden of Gethsemane from the green plasticine
  • craft a cross and a crown from the pipe-cleaners for Good Friday
  • sprinkle the ‘spices’ on Jesus before wrapping his body with the white fabric.

The box itself can be used as a prop – be it the walls for Jerusalem, tables, a hill or a tomb.

I’ve supplied the stories directly from the Bible and each story is accompanied by some open-ended questions to discuss such as

  • I wonder what surprised you about this story?
  • I wonder why the crowds did this?
  • I wonder what’s not fair about this story?
  • I wonder where God was?

And of course, the children are encouraged to play out the story, using the props. Although some families have added even their own toy figures (Lego/Duplo) to supplement the story-telling. Which is awesome. Yes, a zebra is a fine stand-in for the donkey!