If you ask some children what Easter is all about they will invariably reply that it is to do with chocolate or Easter Eggs. Here is a fun way to teach the true meaning of Easter to your children’s group.
The leader enters carrying either a large box marked “chocolates” or a large decorated basket. Build some suspense as to what’s in the box etc… As you remove each item from the box or basket use the item to teach about the meaning of Easter.
1. A bag of gold covered chocolate coins. (Jesus was betrayed by Judas for thirty pieces of silver).
2. Chocolate Rooster. ( Peter’s three denials of Jesus before the rooster crowed).
3. Chocolate Cross. ( Use sticks of a “Kit-Kat” bar – or equivalent, to make a cross. Ask the children to tell you why some people where crosses around their necks then tell them the the crucifixion story as appropriate to the age group listening). As a kind of competition you might like to get two or three children to come out the front and eat a small Easter egg and then make a cross out of the silver paper. ” Now hold up your crosses to show everybody. Here’s one thing you can do with the silver paper next time you eat an Easter egg as a reminder of Jesus.”
4. Hollow plastic egg. In Australia we have a sweet called “Kinder Surprise” which has a plastic egg which opens into halves with a small toy inside. If you don’t have something equivalent then use a medium sized Easter egg ( unwrapped) and ask someone to come and take a big bite out of it. (Tell the events of the empty tomb on Easter morning).
5. Marshmellows or chocolate chickens or bunnies. (Jesus offers us new life and a new birth just like the baby chickens coming out of the eggs).
6. Gold foil covered Easter egg. ( The Bible gives a picture of the streets of heaven being paved with gold. If we believe that Jesus died and came alive again we can look forward one day to spending forever with Jesus in heaven).
This is played in the same way as at children’s parties except you have a number of parcels circulating according to the size of your group (say one parcel per ten children).
Get everyone into a large circle and give out the parcels with an even number of people between each. Then as the music is played, the parcels are passed around the room from one person to the next as quickly as possible. When the music stops the people holding the parcel can unwrap one layer of paper. Make sure each parcel is unwrapped to exactly the same point. This way the game will finish with the three or four people getting to the centre at the same time.
For Easter – Between the layers place: a palm cross (talk about why we have a cross on the top on hot cross buns or why people wear crosses around their necks) , an Easter card( What would you write about Easter in a card to a friend ?), a large nail (Jesus didn’t deserve to die -crucifixion), an easter egg (tomb), a clean sheet of paper (nothing on it- Jesus forgave our sins) . The gift could be a a small box of chocolates (celebrate that Jesus is alive).
You need : Green, Red,Black, White and Yellow balloon bunches or streamers or flags.
Call forward any of the congregation or children’s group who are wearing a green top (t-shirt, jumper, sweater…). Give them the green props and ask them to stand in a group on the far left side of your stage or up-front area. Talk about how the colour green may remind us that Jesus came… and on the way he was welcomed into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Ask the green group to practice their phrase. Continue this process with the following colours and phrases.
“Jesus came- and suffered- and died- but came alive again- to bring new life…
GREEN —- RED —- BLACK — WHITE — YELLOW
Finally invite all those remaining in the congregation wearing other colours to add “for everyone” to finish the phrase. Those holding the balloons can form a rolling Mexican wave of colour as they circle the balloons in front of them as they say their phrase.
Hold up a hot cross bun and ask the group if they like to eat these buns at Easter. Say that many people all around the world like to eat these buns at Easter time and those that are Christians are reminded of Jesus death on a cross by the cross we find on the top of the bun.
“Let’s think about the ingredients needed to make these buns. What are some of the things you think might be used? Flour? Water? Fruit? One thing that’s very important in making hot cross buns is yeast. What do we use yeast for? It helps the bun to rise otherwise they might be called “flat cross buns”. The yeast also might remind us that Jesus rose from the grave. He didn’t stay dead after he was crucified and put in to the tomb – he rose again. Dried fruits are also added to the mixture in making hot cross buns. These might remind us of the good things that come from Jesus’ death. Without his death on the cross we wouldn’t be able to enjoy new life.
As you pass around some buttered hot cross buns for the children to eat. Invite everyone just to pause for a few moments and silently thank Jesus for being willing to die a slow and painful death so that we might have eternal life with him.
Just in case you wondered about the history of the hot cross bun : We get the word “bun” from the Teutonic equivalent, “boun”, which was an archaic description of a sacrificial ox. The practice of offering animal sacrifices at the vernal equinox became frowned upon. Instead, the goddess in question was honoured with a cake, a sacred ox bun. Imprinted on the cake were the crossed horns of a ox. Christians reinterpreted this as the cross of Christ.