10 Easter Activities for Kids that Focus on the True Meaning of Easter

Though we do hide Easter baskets and dye eggs and enjoy all of the springtime fun that comes with the secular aspects of the holiday, It is also very important to me that I help my kids focus on the true meaning of Easter--the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. Here are a few things we have done to try to focus on Christ at Easter time. I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, so a couple of these activities reflect my particular beliefs, but most of these activities would be appropriate for any Christian, regardless of your denomination.

(Above is a picture of my son by a beautiful statue of the resurrected Christ at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors' Center)

10 Ways to Celebrate Easter with a Focus on Christ

1. Use "Resurrection Eggs" to tell the true story of Easter. It's easy to fill plastic eggs with symbols and scriptures that tell the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These are the eggs I made, though this countdown to Easter is another nice variation.

2. Count the days down until Easter with nightly devotionals about Jesus. Last year we used this 30-day countdown to Easter from Chocolate on my Cranium. This uses the document The Living Christ--a testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ as written by leaders in my church--as a jumping off point for nightly devotionals about Jesus leading up to Easter.

3. Watch a short video about the true story of Easter such as the following:

4. Tell the Easter story. I sometimes use paintings or other images to help re-tell the story in my own words. My kids also enjoy some picture book versions of the Easter story. One book that we like is The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale by Angela Elwell Hunt and Tim Jonke. It tells how three trees imagine the great things that they want to do. None of their dreams happen as they plan, but instead they find even greater joy because they all play a part in the life of Jesus Christ. One tree ends up being the manger, another is a fishing boat, and the third is the cross. This is a gentle way to talk about the Easter story to children through the story of the trees.

5. Along those same lines, during the week before Easter read with your family directly from the scriptures each day about the events that happened in the last week of the Savior's life:
  • Friday or Saturday: The anointing described by John (John 12:1–11)
  • Palm Sunday: Triumphal Entry; cleansing of the temple (Matthew 21:1–17; Mark: 11:1–11; Luke 19:28–46; John 12:12–19)
  • Monday: Cursing of the fig tree; cleansing of the temple in Mark; teaching in the temple (Matthew 21:18–22:14; Mark 11:12–19; Luke 19:47–20:18; John 12:20–36)
  • Tuesday: Lessons from the fig tree; the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 22:15–25:46; Mark 11:20–13:37; Luke 20:19–21:38; John 12:37–50)
  • Wednesday: Plot to kill Jesus; the anointing described by Mark and Matthew; Judas agrees to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:1–16; Mark 14:1–11; Luke 22:1–6)
  • Thursday: The Last Supper; Gethsemane; betrayal and arrest; Jesus before the Jewish authorities (Matthew 26:17–26:75; Mark 14:12–72; Luke 22:7–71; John 13:1–18:27)
  • Good Friday: Jesus in the hands of the Romans; the Crucifixion; the burial (Matthew 27:1–61; Mark 15:1–47; Luke 23:1–56; John 18:28–19:42)
  • Saturday: Jesus in the Spirit World (Matthew 27:62–66; 3 Nephi 9–10; 1 Peter 3:18–4:6; D&C 138)
  • Easter Sunday: The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1–15; Mark 16:1–14; Luke 24:1–49; John 20:1–23
(This list comes from my New Testament professor from college, who wrote a great article here about preparing for Easter).

6. Count Down to Easter by using some of these 8 Days of Easter Advent Activities such making blocks to tell the Easter story, doing a small active service, and doing crafts to remind us of Jesus's love for us and our love for him.

7. Make "Resurrection Rolls". These have marshmallows inside them that melt while the rolls cook, leaving an empty center--just like an empty tomb.

8. The Easter lily is a beautiful symbol of purity. I love these handprint lilies from the Iowa Farmer's Wife. We made some like this last year, and they made a perfect little centerpiece for our little family's Easter dinner.

9. Sing or listen to music about Christ. I love this song sung by a children's choir that includes my beautiful nieces:

10. If you are like me, and you still love filling those Easter baskets but you don't want to be caught up with that on Easter Sunday, consider doing the "Easter Bunny" activities on Saturday rather than Sunday. That way you can have all the fun of a basket and egg hunt, and enjoy new toys and treats on Saturday. Then you can reserve Sunday as a special day for attending church, praying, fasting, and focusing on the true meaning of Easter without all of the other distractions.


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