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:
For more ideas see my Easter Pinterest board.
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