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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

10 Fun Family Activities for Celebrating the Resurrection

I grew up thinking that Easter was a day to celebrate the coming of spring. A day to wear a new frilly dress and hat, to have dinner with extended family and to hunt for brightly colored eggs among the new green blades of grass. Easter always seemed "empty" to me. We didn't go to church growing up, so celebrating Easter just left me confused. Would someone, anyone, please tell me why are we getting baskets full of candy and worshipping a giant bunny who lays eggs?

Fast forward to 2013. As a mom of two young children, I desperately want to put Jesus Christ back into Easter. My husband and I want to impart the true meaning of Easter to them at an early age. The fallen world...the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross...His death and resurrection...the promise of eternal life. I don't know about you, but that seems like an overwhelming responsibility to this mom. Especially in a world filled with enormous chocolate bunnies, baskets as big as a small child and no sign of Jesus anywhere.

In searching for ways to share the true meaning of Easter with my kids--I came across some great ideas for craft projects, edible object lessons, and scriptures about the events leading up to the resurrection. Here are a few of my favorites!

Egg Ideas
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Mommy Savers has the coolest idea for putting small glow sticks or glow bracelets (get these cheap at Dollar Tree!) inside of your plastic eggs and holding an indoor or outdoor glow-in-the-dark Easter egg hunt! You could tie this into having the light of Jesus inside of us and shining God's love for the world to see.
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Head over to Family Volley to find out how to make an Easter egg garland with a simple piece of ribbon and some plastic eggs. Add a small object (such as a piece of bread, a few dimes, a nail, etc.) and Bible verse to each egg to tell the resurrection story. Find the list of objects and scriptures here. Alternately, you could have the kids hunt for the story eggs or display them in a basket as a centerpiece on your table.
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What about turning all of those colored eggs from the hunt into an opportunity for prayer and praise? Using this idea for Easter egg prayers from Our Family for His Glory assign each color egg its own theme (praise, confession, thankfulness, etc.--check the link for all the details!). So if your child finds, say 3 yellow eggs, they tell God 3 things they are thankful for. If they find 2 blue eggs, they might confess 2 sins. Isn't that a fabulous way to turn an ordinary egg hunt into a way to bring praise and honor to our Father in heaven?
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Want to share the Good News of the resurrection with your kids' friends or your neighbors? Get your older kids involved in this project! Have some fun "egging" the neighborhood, by placing a dozen candy-filled plastic eggs in the yards of families who would enjoy their own personal egg hunt! Leave a note like the one above that says "Don't be discouraged when you find the empty egg. It's a simple reminder of Jesus' empty tomb--for He is RISEN!" {I absolutely love, love, love this idea and we are going to "egg" a couple of houses on our street and share some of the abudance of candy we got at a church egg hunt last weekend!}

Edible Lessons

Catholic Icing shows you how to make these cute resurrection cookies using part of a chocolate donut, a chocolate sandwich cookie, coconut "grass" tinted green and a graham cracker. Cute!

Make these creative Crown of Thorns cookies on Good Friday, using a sugar cookie (or apple slice cut crosswise), peanut butter (or other nut butter) and broken pretzel twists. Talk about the broken pretzels and our broken, sinful world. Share the story of Jesus being arrested, beaten, mocked with a crown of thorns and hung on the cross to die for our sins.

Impress Your Kids shows how to use crescent rolls, butter, cinnamon/sugar and a large marshmallow to create hollow Resurrection Rolls to represent the empty tomb. I also saw on Catholic Icing where their family tried out this technique using colored marshmallow Peeps instead of the regular marshmallow, leaving hollow rolls that were colored on the inside.

These Easter Story Cookies over at Women Living Well, might be my favorite! Using ingredients (broken nuts, vinegar, spices) that each represent a different part of the Easter story, you mix up the cookie dough and then the kids seal the "tomb" (oven) closed with tape and guard it like soldiers. After the cookies have baked, you leave them overnight (imagine what it was like for Jesus' friends to leave his body in the tomb that day) and in the morning you open the door to the oven, revealing your hollow cookies! Awesome!

Resurrection Gardens

Ann Voskamp, who blogs at A Holy Experience, shares how she and her daughter made an Easter grace garden. I absolutely LOVE her idea to place a tea light on one of the seven stones of the path, each night between Palm Sunday and Good Friday. Then on Good Friday, they leave it completely dark. On Easter Sunday, they place a butterfly on the top to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus.  

My friend, Kate, made this adorable garden with her girls. She told me that she found the large terracotta tray at Hobby Lobby (check their website for 40% coupon you can print or show on your phone) and painted it a bright, cheerful color she already had at home. They used a clay pot on its side (you could also paint the inside black or brown) for the tomb and rocks from the yard. The sticks are hot glued to form the crosses. Kate said she saw artificial moss at both Jo-Ann's and Hobby Lobby. This type of garden would be something you could store and reuse year after year.

Mustard Seeds, takes this project a step further by using wheat berries to sprout "grass" for the hill of Calvary. She also suggests having your family write some sins on small flat stones--because the path to the cross was paved by our sins. I really like her idea of putting a clothespin wrapped in white cloth, into the tomb on Good Friday to represent Jesus. She has her family put their sin stones into the tomb as well. Then on Easter morning, she discards the stones (our sins are forgiven--gone) and the clothespin ("He is not here. He is alive!") and leaves only the white empty cloth for her children to discover in the open tomb. Sooo cool!

Do you like these fun Easter ideas? Which is your favorite? I would love for you to share this post with your friends!

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