I had hoped to do Impress Your Kids' Sense of the Resurrection activities (which I'll hopefully tackle in the future) because it's got some great ideas! Since I ran out of time to pull that one off, I thought I would focus on the Holy Week or Passion Week (the final week of Jesus' life) since that's about all the time I have left. I chose a few simple activities to do each day and wanted to share in case you were finding yourself in the same boat as me. I'm hoping to go back in the future and do a more thorough job with this idea.
Chronology of the Passion Week
So here's the events leading up to Easter morning. (As a side note, there are some discrepancies about the exact timeline of the Passion Week. Some of it is most likely due to differences in the way Roman and Jewish calendars work. The following is a pretty good picture of what took place and when it happened, though you may find some who disagree on little things here and there. I liked this report for some helpful information.),
Sunday - Palm Sunday or The Triumphal Entry
Monday - Jesus Cleanses the Temple
Tuesday - Jewish Leaders Question Jesus (In response to his actions on Monday, the religious leaders question Jesus on Tuesday. It ends with Jesus cursing the city and nation. Surrounding this story is the story of the fig tree that Jesus cursed. The significance of the fig tree is it's representation of Israel and the curse that the nation was under because of their rejection of him as the Messiah.)
Wednesday - Judas' Plot to Betray Jesus (Note: Some think this happened on Tuesday night. Regardless, most consider this a day that Jesus probably rested and spent time with close friends. Scripture doesn't really give us any concrete information).
Thursday - The Last Supper, Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet, Prays in the Garden and is Arrested
Friday- Jesus' Trials, Crucifixion, and Burial
Saturday - The Tomb is Sealed (The only full day that Jesus' body was in the tomb was on the Jewish Sabbath day... the day of rest. As I've looked for some ideas of what to do this day, I've seen some cool explanations of this fact. Just as on the seventh day of Creation God rested, this day was God's great Sabbath. Just as in Creation he rested from the "good" work he had done, he rested on this Sabbath because it. was. finished. He had accomplished man's salvation and now we can all enter into that Sabbath rest talked about in Hebrews 4:9-10. Kind of a goosebumpy explanation if you ask me!)
Sunday - Resurrection!
Activities:Because I'm just now getting a plan together and because I want my own boys to experience this the week of Easter celebration, I'm just going to give you my game plan. That means I won't have pictures of my adorable boys showing you how it's done and, if something's a major flop, I won't be able to warn you in advance. Hopefully I can post some of this year's pics next Easter with a little more information.
Sunday - Palm Sunday or The Triumphal Entry-Read Luke 19:28-40
-Make these little palm leaves (good for younger kids) or this palm leaf (would be better for those who are good with scissors).
-This coloring page for church.
-"Ride" Daddy like a donkey and talk about the story.
-Let the boys grab a rock from the rock garden as we leave for church and sing lots of praise music in the car on the way. Talk about how even the rocks would have cried out if the people hadn't praised him.
- Resurrection Eggs: Donkey
Monday - Jesus Cleanses the Temple-Read Matthew 21:12-17 or Luke 19:45-46 (for a super short synopsis)
-Here's a pretty good lesson plan that addresses the issue of Jesus' anger and the fact that he did not sin as you explain it to preschoolers.
-I found an idea (from the above lesson plan) to glue craft sticks of some kind to a sheet of paper to make the frame of a house and have the words "My house shall be called a house of prayer" (Mt. 21:13a) on the sticks or page somewhere.
Tuesday - Jewish Leaders Question Jesus and Jesus Curses Them-Read Matthew 21:18-22
- Eat fig newtons as we read and talk about the importance of sincere faith (something the religious leaders and much of Israel did not have)
-Here's a bunch of images of figs and fig trees that came up in a Google search
Wednesday - Judas' Plot to Betray Jesus-Read Matthew 26:14-16
-Use coin bag we made for Zacchaeus activity filled with 30 silver coins of some kind (probably quarters) OR you could use a sock or lunch sack or any kind of bag to hold coins
-Use coins to do the counting activity from 2 Teaching Mommies (to print template, click "single download" link and then click on the "Coin Bag" printable that comes up in the folder.)
-Resurrection Eggs: Coins
Thursday - The Last Supper, Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet, Prays in the Garden and is Arrested-Read Mattthew 26:20-30, 36-56
-Wash each other's feet as a family
-Buy some Matzah bread (found in pretty much any grocery store) and include the Jewish tradition of using 3 pieces of Matzah at your "Passover" meal. Break one of the pieces, wrap it up and hide it somewhere. At the end of the meal let the kids look for it. When it is retrieved, talk about it's symbolism. A great explanation is found here. I want to do so much more with the Passover with our family in the future. I think it adds such richness to our understanding of how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecies and promises. Ann Voskamp has an explanation of how her family celebrates a Passover Seder with some printables and instructions. Maybe someday! :)
-Resurrection Eggs: Cup, Praying Hands
Friday- Jesus' Trials, Crucifixion, and Burial-Read John 19
-Using playdough and toothpicks, make a crown of thorns and discuss the physical pain that Jesus underwent on the cross (idea from 2 Teaching Mommies' Resurrection Eggs Lessons printable page 2)
-Taste vinegar and Jesus' cry that "It is finished." Talk about the spiritual pain that Jesus went through. (Amanda from Impress Your Kids does a good job of explaining it here. There's also an excellent chapter about it in the book Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross that I HIGHLY recommend using in the future as you prepare your heart for Easter. Jesus drank the bitter cup of God's wrath for our sins. He prayed that the cup would pass from him because of the unimaginable pain he went through in taking the guilt of the world on himself and being abandoned by the Father. Out of love for us and submission to the Father he fulfilled the prophecy found in Isaiah 51:7)
-I came across a very cool "cross" demonstration where you fold and tear an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper and end up with a cross and the word LIFE when it's all done. I think it will be a neat way to show the power of the cross.
-We did a tomb craft found in this post last year and did it again this year with our resurrection activities (that I'll share about in a few days), so I plan to get that out and talk about it and let the boys use a clothespin or stick of some sort to represent Jesus' body being placed in the tomb. Then we'll roll the stone in front of the entrance as we read that part of the story.
-Resurrection Eggs: leather whip, crown of thorns, cross made of nails, die, spear, linen cloth, stone
Saturday - Jesus in the Tomb-Read Matthew 27:62-66
-"Seal" the tomb craft from yesterday. We'll probably just use hot glue, but if I get ambitious and find myself with some extra time, I may try to figure out how to do it with wax or something.
Sunday - Resurrection!-Read Matthew 28:1-10
-Before the boys wake up, remove the seal and the figure from the tomb so they can wake to find it empty!
-When the boys wake up act as excited as Christmas morning. This is a big deal! Jesus is alive!!!
-Resurrection Eggs: Empty egg!
I hope some of these ideas help if you're in need of a little Easter week inspiration! Next year I'll try to break this down into more manageable, day by day posts.
Procrastinators unite! ;)
Some of the links above are our affiliate links. To read our disclosure policy, click here.