Easter is my very favorite holiday. It is the day we set aside to formally recognize the amazing sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf when He died on the cross. Pagan traditions associating spring time with birth and renewal brought us the bunnies and chicks, but we can use those images to redirect our attention back to Jesus.
1. Make a connection.
Talk to your kids about the forms of rebirth we can see, such as flowers reappearing after their long winter's sleep. Jesus also reappeared after three days in the tomb, and He came back with the message that we will be with Him again. Go on a walk around your neighborhood to look for emerging flowers and talk about how they "come back to life" and how that reminds us of the resurrection of Jesus.
2. Act it out.
Read Luke 24 with your family. You can paraphrase for young children. Talk about Jesus' return, including how the women went to the tomb and found it open, and their response. Work together as a family to make a skit showing the return of Jesus and how people responded (the women falling at His feet, the disciples not recognizing Him, etc.). Keep it fun and light. Focus on the events after the resurrection, not the Crucifixion itself, particularly with very young kids.
3. Bake it up.
Google a recipe for Resurrection Cookies and make a batch with your kids. These fun meringues are hollow inside, representing the empty tomb.
4. Open eggs.
Get a set of Resurrection Eggs (available at WalMart) to help your kids understand the events of Good Friday and Easter. Each egg contains an object to help kids remember what happened. The included book walks you through the Easter story.
5. Build a veiled cross.
Use craft sticks, clay, pipe cleaners, or any material you have on hand to construct a cross. Tear a thin sheet of fabric and talk about how the veil at the temple was torn, indicating our new ability to interact directly with God. Wrap the veil around the cross and use it to decorate your festivities.
6. Learn about lambs.
Go to a petting zoo and talk about lambs. Jesus is called "the Lamb," but this may not mean much to kids who don't know about the animals. Observe the creatures, pet them if possible, and talk to your kids about why Jesus might be called "the Lamb."
What other fun things can you do to help your children understand Easter?