Preschool: Easter Week

The week of Easter was pretty relaxed since I didn’t pick anything overtly “educational.”  Along with Benjamin’s Box and our resurrection eggs, we based many of our activities on 2 Teaching Mommies’ 12 Days of Easter unit.  Since I forgot to actually start twelve days ahead of time, we had to double up on some of the days, which was fine because it gave us more things to do. 

Our Bible story was about Jesus’ death and resurrection – the whole reason we celebrate Easter!  I kept our Palm Sunday verse on the board from the previous week of preschool and added 1 John 3 :16 – This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

We started each day with a page from Benjamin’s Box; there’s a story to go along with each of the twelve resurrection eggs.  We have this little wooden box that Phil made a number of years ago which has since become Benjamin’s treasure box, storing the contents from each of the eggs.  It really adds an element of wonder and excitement, physically holding the pieces that are represented in the resurrection story.   

 

The 12 Days of Easter unit has suggested activities to go along with the lessons, and we took advantage of some of these ideas.  For day one, we talked about Palm Sunday when Jesus rode on the donkey, I told them about the legend of the donkey’s cross and we colored a picture

When we talked about the thirty pieces of silver that Judas received for betraying Jesus for day two, I filled an empty muslin bag with 30 pennies and had Gwen count them. 

I tried to explain the concept of betrayal, doing things that aren’t nice to someone who is supposed to be your friend, but I’m not sure how much of it sank in.     

Inside the resurrection egg for day three is a little wooden cup that my parents brought back from Israel.  We talked about the last supper that Jesus had with disciples and how we celebrate communion, which symbolizes Jesus’ blood and body that was shed and broken for us.  We used the boy and girl printables from the unit; I put them in page protectors and had Gwen and Josiah think of naughty (I explained what “sin” is and how nobody is perfect) things they might do and draw them on the page – scowling, hitting, etc. 

 

They got pretty marked up!  Afterwards, I had them wipe them away, just like Jesus’ blood makes us clean when we ask for forgiveness.

We got to break out the bubbles for day four!  The kids enjoyed “blowing bubbles to heaven” to illustrate what happens to our prayers when we talk to God and ask for forgiveness. 

 

The happy part of Easter is talking about Jesus being raised from the dead, but you can’t skip the part where Jesus was whipped and beaten, a crown of thorns put on his head and nailed to a cross.  Day five reveals the whip that was used on Jesus’ back in the resurrection egg, and to illustrate we used white pieces of construction paper and drew lines for all the bad things we might do. 

 

We talked about how Jesus died to forgive all the bad things – called “sin” – so that we might live in heaven with Him one day. 

Gwendolyn agreed that the crown of thorns from day six must have really hurt.  We combined a couple craft ideas – playdough Easter mountain and a playdough crown of thorns, which the kids enjoyed putting together. 

 

 

There’s a small nail in the resurrection egg for day seven, but when Daddy showed Gwen a really long, thick nail that was more realistic to the type used for crucifixion, she got very quiet.  I like the idea from the unit for explaining how love held Jesus on the cross; he could have ended it whenever He wanted but He chose to stay and give His life for us.  I wrote “love” on a wooden heart and we each hammered a nail in. 

 

There’s a game die in the egg for day eight, symbolizing when the soldiers gambled for Jesus’ clothing.  Despite everything, Jesus forgave them.  We got our the white pieces of construction paper that had been marked up and painted over it with white paint to show how Jesus forgives us when we ask.

 

We didn’t have lesson-specific activities for the remaining unit days, but we continued to read the stories, including Bible Story Printable’s resurrection minibook and Happy Home Fairy’s Easter story cards.

We made a colorful mess with bits of tissue paper making stained glass crosses to hang in the window.  Note to self: use real contact paper next time, not removable (it doesn’t stick!).  They’re taped to the window, just underneath our crayon shaving hearts that are still up from Valentine’s Day.  In fact, I’m thinking crayon shaving crosses is a neat idea!  

The kiddos did a little Easter egg hunt coloring page

…and since we didn’t do an official Easter egg hunt this year I decided to put snacks in the eggs and have the kiddos search for their Easter egg lunch.  It was a huge hit! 

 

 


Since it was such a beautiful day outside, we took advantage and went on a spring scavenger hunt using a printable from Nature Detectives.  Gwendolyn is demonstrating that soft pine needles are, indeed, “tickly.”

  

Since the weather has gotten nicer we’ve been spending a lot more time outdoors – including adding to and planting the gardens!  The kiddos are a huge help and I can only imagine what they’re learning from all of it.

 

Both Gwen and Josiah helped me in the kitchen making goodies.  It brings back memories of my mother teaching me to cook and bake at a young age, teaching me things like “clean up as you go” so there’s less work at the end, and get out all of your ingredients ahead of time.  They love to pour, so I let them use the measuring spoons and cups, telling them how much we’re adding of a particular ingredient.  

Lucky for me, Josiah loves to help with the cleanup (although he usually ends up making more of a mess in the process). 

 

Gwen helped me make birds nest cookies.

  

We’re not big on dyeing eggs, but we love deviled eggs so this year we tried Easter deviled eggs and colored the whites.  I let the kiddos pick the colors and help me dye the water.


You gotta have some jelly beans for Easter!  I had originally intended on having the kiddos help me make colors-of-faith jelly bean bracelets, but it was really hard to string them.  Instead they helped me separate them into colors and we put them into little baggies, attaching the cross printable that says the meaning of each color.

 

We handed these out to the cousins on Easter after a scavenger hunt the kiddos’ Meme planned for them.

 

We didn’t get any family pictures for Easter, but I did manage to get a few acceptable ones of Josiah sporting the skinny tie that I made for him with some of the tractor fabric leftover from his crayon roll.

In the kiddos’ Easter baskets:

  

How-to links: homemade bubbles & wands |  fabric eggs | crayon rolls | bunny bags    
Not pictured, in the treat bags: licorice nests | cross necklaces

For more ideas see my Easter Pinterest board.

Book Basket
Easter Mice!
A Year Full of Holidays
Happy Easter Little Critter
The Berenstain Bears and the Real Easter Eggs
The Colt and the King
FancyNancy’s Elegant Easter
DVD Winnie the Pooh – Springtime with Roo

Anticipating Easter

My second-favorite holiday after Christmas would have to be Easter – and how appropriate!  On Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and on Easter we rejoice in the fact that He died on the cross for our sins and rose again on the third day.  But aside from the religious aspects… I just love the springy atmosphere that surrounds the season!  Trees are budding, flowers blooming, birds chirping, everything seems brilliant and alive.  Almost as though all of nature is celebrating with us.

Christmas gets most of my attention when it comes to decorating.  The only things I really have for Easter decorations are some baskets from years prior and Easter grass that I saved.  I like the idea of having a perpetual window display that changes with the seasons, using natural elements for decoration – for Spring, think bright yellow hyacinth, pussy willow, twigs and branches with eggs and birdies hanging from them.  For now, I’m chalking it up to good intentions.  And the Valentine’s Day heart strings look so pretty where they are, I hate to take them down… 

I am excitedly contemplating these ideas for simplifying spring baskets, but for now I’m gonna go with some of the cheap-o plastic eggs.  The kids  love ‘em!  Josiah concentrates so hard trying to get one open, and gets so excited when he succeeds.  

Growing up, it was tradition for my grandparents to hide Easter baskets for us around their home.  We would go over for Sunday dinner, casually looking around for where they might be hidden as soon as we walked in the door (but not officially looking for them until it was time).  Each one had a name written on it, and if we found someone else’s, we couldn’t say anything.  The baskets usually contained jelly beans and foil-wrapped eggs, and along with the goodies our parents bestowed upon us, the sibs and I would have little pow-wows and trade our wares.  If I remember correctly, the crispy chocolates were one of the more coveted items, while the mini jelly beans were low on the totem pole.   

These chick and carrot containers are like the ones I used to announce our pregnancy with Gwen on Easter of 2007 *sigh*        

I’m always conscious of what kind of example we’re setting for our children, what traditions we want to start or continue on with them.  I always associate special occasions with treats of the edible variety, something I’ve been trying to get past in my mind.  It’s nice to have treats once in a while, but I don’t want every special occasion to mean SUGAR. 

So… what to put in the Easter eggs?  I like the idea of gifting something that was already on the shopping list anyway.  I got Gwen a small bottle of nail polish (mermaid blue – I’m so borrowing this) from ecomom; I got a 50% off voucher to their website from Mamapedia recently and had to pick this up.  It fit nicely in one of the carrot containers.

And it won’t fit in an egg, but I got her a book about a newfound favorite…

The kiddos have more than enough toys, of course, but it occurred to me that – while Gwen has some small plastic horses and other barn animals – Josiah doesn’t have anything like that.  So I got a tube of plastic dinosaurs from Joanne’s (yay for 50% off coupons).  The smaller ones fit inside the eggs, and the larger ones fit inside the chickies. 

The kids love putting money into their piggy banks, so I got a bunch of coins from the change jar to put in some of the eggs.  They’re nice and jingly.  Which reminds me of an idea for recycling plastic Easter eggs – make music shakers out of them, like little maracas.  Our library has something similar for storytime, and they have music symbols stamped on them.

 

And last-but-certainly-not-least, I did get some goodies for the eggs.  I picked up a bag of peanut M&Ms, justifying them due to the protein content (and also because Phil mentioned he would love to have some for snacking at work).  I also got a bag of organic lollipops, but since these won’t fit in the eggs I’ll have to do something else with them.  I’m hoping to find some natural fruit jelly beans, but I could also just get some dried fruit or other more healthy snack, since the kids love it just as much.

Phil and I have thrown around the idea of hiding the eggs for the kids to find, sort of like a scavenger hunt, but that just means one more thing for me to organize.  Meh.  We’ll see. 

Last year, Gwen made Resurrection Eggs at her grandmother’s church, and we plan on using these again this year to tell the kiddos about the true meaning of Easter.  The ones she made have pictures taped to the outside, but I’m going to actually put the elements inside and number the eggs in order – e.g. a leaf for the palm branch, piece of purple cloth for the robe the soldiers put on Jesus, a cross for when He was crucified, a nail for His wounds, a stone to symbolize His tomb, and so forth.  

It just so happens that we have a book called Benjamin’s Box that goes along perfectly with the Resurrection Eggs.  I had put it away with some of our other books, always forgetting to take it out for Easter, and was pleasantly surprised to find out it can be used in conjunction with the eggs.

This is always a busy time of year – Phil’s birthday is coming up, Palm Sunday and Easter, and I always look forward to attending a May Breakfast (a New England tradition, I believe), especially since my Mom and one of my brothers share a birthday on May 1st.

What do you look forward to this time of year?  What are some of your Spring/Easter traditions?

Shared at the Meaningful Easter blog hop at Photobucket