As we enter into the season of Lent and prepare for Easter, here are some ideas to get children and families involved!
Here is a really easy but very hands on craft to help children to explore the various characters and events of the Easter story (though you can, of course, use it for any Bible story!)
You will need: Bowls (I used plastic Ikea ones), play dough
After reading the story, get children to talk about the characters and events they liked and didn’t like. Which people and events struck them the most?
Give each child a bowl and some play dough. Using the bowl as a head, ask them to make the face of one of the characters from the story. Try to make expressions such as anger, sadness joy.
When everyone has made a face, ask children to try and guess who each one is!
Stones are an important part of the Easter story because it is a massive stone that is placed in front of Jesus’ tomb and the same stone that is rolled away at the resurrection. Stones are also amazing tactile. They are something firm to hold on to and also something hard to help children to reflect on the hard times we all face in our lives. They are also a great surface to draw on and this craft was really popular at our Messy Good Friday service yesterday.
You will need: Stones (enough for one each), paint pens, sharpies, felt tips (test the pens on your stones before starting as different types of pen work better depending on the kind of surface your stone has!)
Ask children to reflect on what they know of the story and of who Jesus is and to decorate their rock accordingly. They might want to use words or pictures or a mixture of both. Use the time they spend creating as an opportunity to speak to them about the story and what it means to them.
Children generally seem to love cooking activities and this is a recipe that lets them early get hands on!
As we build up to Easter, you might be thinking of a new way to explore the story of the last supper with your children. Making flat bread is a great way to really get into the story!
Explain to the children that Jesus and his disciples were celebrating passover so the bread they used at the last supper would in all probability be the unleavened bread Jews ate at the passover meal. The bread is unleavened because at the original Passover, the Israelites had to be ready to move quickly and didn’t have time to make bread with yeast.
You will Need: 175g plain flour, 100ml water,2 tablespoons oil, a pinch of salt, baking tray, greaseproof paper (enough for 6 portions)
Pre heat the oven to 180°C.
Mix together the flour, salt, water and oil until a dough is formed. You may need to add a little more flour if the dough is too wet to handle.
On a floured surface, take turns in kneading the dough over a period of about 5 minutes and then separate the dough into 6 pieces.
Place dough on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake for 15- 20 minutes. Take the bread out of the oven and leave to cool.
When cooled, use the bread to act out the last supper and get the children to reflect on how the story makes them feel and what questions it makes them ask.
You will need: Hot cross buns cut into bite-size pieces, paper strips, pens, spices in a pot, covered with foil and with holes poked in the foil e.g. cinnamon, ginger (or use a scented candle), sultanas or raisins
Bread- A reminder of the bread Jesus broke to give to his disciples as a remembrance of him.
Eat some of the bun and think of people who don’t know who Jesus is. Pray that they will come to know him and his love for them.
Cross–reminds us of the death of Jesus on Good Friday and the sadness surrounding it.
Glue paper strips to make a cross and write/ draw names/ people who are sad or grieving. Ask God to help them
Spices- remind us of the spices used in getting the body ready for burial. Again, this is a reminder of the sadness of Jesus Dying and of the people who took care of him
Smell the pot of spices or the scented candle.
Think of people who help to look after us and those people that we look after. Thank God for them
Sultanas and the sweet glaze on top of the bun– what Jesus did for us on the cross brings abut something sweet and amazing- the hope of new life and relationship with God.
Eat a couple of sultanas or raisins and think about what your hopes for the future are. Tell God about them.
Here are some easy and fun activities for a Easter themed Messy Church…
Shaving foam and paint marbled eggs
toddler sensory play with water beads, plastic eggs and polystyrene eggs
A baby area with hearts (to reflect Jesus’ love) and balls (close enough to eggs for new life!)
Special cups to think about the last supper (click here for details of how to make them)
Cards using stickers from Baker Ross
Palm Sunday spinners (click here for details of how to make them)
Tape resist crosses (click here for details of how to make them