Sharing the account of the Resurrection of Jesus is the basis for our Christian faith. The miracle and power of our triune God can be taught to littles in developmentally appropriate ways that are sticky, celebratory, and filled with truth. We use the word ‘Easter’ because that is what the ‘season’ is known as and we insert the word ‘Resurrection’ every chance we get.
Here are a few ways we walked right into the story.
Jumbo Eggs – This is preschool chapel. Jumbo eggs, purchased after Easter Sunday at deep discounts, are filled with…
Plush donkey with fake palm branch – Jesus came to town for the annual Passover celebration and the children were part of the parade. Ex: Palm Sunday vs Donkey Sunday
Goblet & plastic coins – Jesus had dinner with his friends. Jesus told his friends to ‘do this and remember me.’ But there was one friend who was not a real friend and he took money to tell the meaners where Jesus was so they could catch him and make him stop doing such amazing things.
Flower bunch – Jesus had a big dinner with his friends then went to a favorite place to pray where meaners came to take Jesus away.
Crown of thorns – Have you ever had a splinter? The meaners took Jesus away. The meaners called Jesus names, hurt him, and made fun of him. They put a crown of thorns on his head.
White fabric – After Jesus died on the cross, his friends and his mama’s friends wrapped Him up and buried him in a cave/tomb. They were so sad.
Stone – After Jesus was placed in the cave/tomb, a stone door was placed to close the cave/tomb.
Empty egg – After 3 days (count to 3), the friends came to the tomb and discovered Jesus was not there. The stone was rolled away (rolling arms). He had risen (hands raised), just as He said He would.
White pillow filler – Jesus walked and greeted his friends and more than 500 people including his family then went UP into heaven (that’s how we know where heaven is – UP) to send the Holy Spirit to all those who believe and follow Jesus. The bestest news? Jesus is coming back to make a new Heaven and a new earth.
Easter Story Walk – Based on the book, ‘Twas the Morning of Easter’ a partnering church shared the book signs they prepared with approval from the author and publisher. There was a deep discounted price for bulk purchases of the book several months back. Her church used the yard signs for part of a Hunt For Easter event with live actors and interactive elements a few weeks’ prior. I used her yard signs around our parking lot prayer labyrinth on Palm Sunday morning and again on Maundy Thursday evening. At the page where Mary prayed, the children walked in and out of the labyrinth before moving on to our ‘hunt’ for Easter. Each family received a copy of the book while supplies lasted. This is when sharing resources between churches is at its best. Thank you Kate Morris and Wesley UMC in Evans, Georgia. Our weekday preschool also set the yard signs in the field where they held their egg hunt for the parents to walk through with their children.
Hunt for Easter – 10 stations had signs #1 – #10 with buckets filled with eggs to tell the story of Easter. Students were led by their Sunday school teachers to each station to pick up an egg for each part of the story. At the end of the story walk, the students returned to their classrooms to open their eggs and debrief/tell the story again. This event was pricey, but using it twice means we reach more people (Palm Sunday AM and Maundy Thursday PM drop-in) and the stations can be edited to be less in number.
#1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He grew up going to church. It was His family’s custom. He listened to His teachers and obeyed His parents. (Jesus)
#2 When it was God’s time, Jesus rode a donkey into the town of Jerusalem like King David did so many years before. Jesus was 33 years old. We remember this day as Palm Sunday. (Donkey)
#3 Up to this time, to be forgiven for sin (the things we think and do that are not God’s best for us) lambs were sacrificed as payment. Jesus came to replace the lamb sacrifices once and for all. His friends John and Peter call Jesus ‘the lamb of God’ in
their Bible writings. (Lamb)
#4 Jesus called His friends to a last supper to share a meal with bread and juice. Jesus told His friends, “Do this and remember me.” We call this Holy Communion.
#5 Jesus and His friends went to one of their favorite gardens to pray. It was late at night. The meaners came to get Jesus. They punished Jesus and made fun of Him. The meaners made a crown of thorns and placed it on His head. (Crown of thorns)
#6 Jesus died on the cross. His friends came to bury Him. On the third day His friends came to pray and discovered He was gone. He had risen from the dead! Only the miracle power of God can do that. (Empty)
#7 We know this really happened because Jesus appeared with the nail scars in His hands to more than 500 people and His brother John over the next 40 days. (Bracelet)
#8 After 40 days, Jesus went UP into the clouds. So, when we believe in Jesus and choose to be His follower, He promises His believers a helper, The Holy Spirit! That’s how we know where heaven is: UP. (Bubbles)
#9 Jesus is coming back one day the same way He left: the clouds. We share His story of saving us with our friends and family and everybody, like bouncing a ball back and forth until He comes back or calls us to Heaven. (Ball)
#10 This really happened. It’s an historical fact with eye witnesses and ancient writings of those who were there and not just in the Bible. We tell this story so that others will know and believe and follow Jesus. We call this re-telling of the Easter story “The Great Commission.” Who will you tell about Jesus? (Jelly Bean Bracelet)
The Story Walk and Hunt For Easter were set up outside the church entrance for a drop-in on Maundy Thursday 4-6:30pm for families and anyone else with children’s books/Bibles opened to those pieces of the account. Placing literature to accompany the storytelling involves multiple levels of learning styles remembering that children’s literature should provide both a mirror and a window to children’s worlds. I was stationed at the start of the walk to share (1) this account is true, we have historical and archeological evidence to support what they are about to see/hear, and (2) we are called to tell the story every year and remember what Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit did for us like all other special annual family celebrations. Jesus is alive!
“It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it.” 3 John 1:3