I have fond memories of dying Easter eggs with my family the week before Easter. I remember barely being able to sleep wondering how in the world the Easter bunny fit through the front door and why I never heard him hiding the eggs around the living room. We’d gather with cousins for Easter dinner and barely eat a thing because we were too excited about hunting Easter eggs.
Easter Sunday was also a time for going to church dressed in our Sunday best – usually brand new outfits and white church shoes. We’d listen to the resurrection story and sing songs about our risen Savior. We were faithful holiday church service attenders. You can read more about my church history here.
I knew that Easter was about Jesus and the eggs were just a fun way to celebrate and spend time with my cousins. Second only to Thanksgiving, Easter was my favorite holiday as a kid.
Now I have a family of my own with two little boys.
Creating traditions for our family and teaching our children God’s word is now up to us. It is a joy to teach our children about Jesus, and we take seriously the call to disciple them in the ways of God.
As a family, we seek to be intentional in everything we do and this includes how we approach holidays. We don’t like doing things just because it’s the way it has always been done, and we’re not afraid to do things a little differently if that’s where our convictions take us.
For the longest, Easter has boggled our minds and tormented our hearts.
How do we approach this holiday? Christmas was relatively simple for us to deal with.
Easter and its origins have been much harder for us to reconcile.
To be honest, the past four years we’ve opted to do nothing except go to church on Easter. We’ve talked about the resurrection of Jesus with our children, but Easter has been just another Sunday for us. We did an Easter egg hunt with a family one year, but Sam was completely uninterested, and I highly doubt he even remembers it.
Each year, when Spring begins to peek out from behind the clouds and the Earth begins to awaken, my mind starts reeling about Easter Sunday. I start praying again for wisdom and opening dialogue with my husband.
We want our children to know what a big deal this holiday is for our faith. Just as with Christmas, I don’t want to distract my children from the real meaning of Easter, but I do want to create traditions and memories as a family to celebrate Easter in a meaningful way.
I want my children to look back with fond memories, but more than that I want this to be a sacred time of worship as a family.
Therefore, this year we are implementing some new traditions with our children and I want to share them with you. Perhaps, you’re in the season of wondering how to handle this holiday, and I’d love to inspire you with ideas for your own family.
3 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Easter as a Family
New Church Clothes
This is completely unnecessary – I realize this. But I love choosing new clothes for Easter Sunday.
I see it as an extension of creation and my indwelling desire to create beauty all around me.
For the last four years, I haven’t done this, but this year the boys and I went on a special shopping spree to find new clothes for them to wear on Easter morning. Daddy and I did a separate trip for own clothes.
My kids are awesome shoppers, so this was a really, really fun family day for us. While we shopped, I talked with them about why were shopping for special clothes – Jesus is alive!
As we put our clothes away at home, we talked about saving them for this special Sunday when we will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection!
This year we plan to do Easter baskets on Sunday morning.
As we’ve contemplated this tradition, we’ve decided:
Mommy and Daddy are the ones who fill the baskets – not the Easter bunny. Just as with Santa Claus, we’re not interested in the tradition of a pretend person being real.
Plus, it sort of takes away from how we plan to use the baskets to teach our children about what Jesus did on our behalf.
We plan to do one family basket instead of two separate baskets for the children.
As a family, we want to remember that the life, death, and resurrection is personal. Sin is personal for our children as is their prayed for salvation. We each have to choose to place our trust in Jesus as our Savior.
I know that object lessons and enrichment activities really seem to drive home concepts for my children, and I found this idea from God Centered Mom while researching ways to bring the story of Easter to life for my kids.
Therefore, the night before Resurrection Sunday we’ll write sins on rocks (or just paper for simplicity sake), and together we’ll place them in the basket. We’ll cover the basket with a blanket or something similar (to demonstrate the burial).
The next morning when my children come to breakfast, they’ll see the basket filled with gifts! We’ll explain how Jesus took all our sins away when He died on the Cross, and now He has risen so that we can have eternal life with Him.
I highly suggest reading God Centered Mom’s post for a more thorough synopsis. I found her post incredibly helpful!
I want to be intentional about what we put in our Easter baskets. I want the gifts to continue to enforce biblical concepts as well as bring great joy to my children. I love to shower them with gifts!
We will most likely keep our gifts simple much like we do with Christmas. Again, I loved God Centered Mom’s approach to give them something to help them grow spiritually, help them develop the talents God’s given them, and help them worship God.
Therefore, here’s what we’ll fill their baskets with this year:
Sam (4 years old)
- The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story
- Prayer Notebook – I’m going to make him a mini-version of my prayer notebook for morning quiet time and for taking to church for note taking
Timmy (18 months)
- The Story of Easter by Patricia A. Pingry
- A small clipboard filled with paper and crayons (for keeping him busy at church)
Then, I’ll add some fun treats that they enjoy and whatever other fun little things I find between now and then.
Other Easter Basket Ideas You Might Like:
35+ Christian-Themed Easter Basket Ideas from The Humbled Homemaker
7 Ideas for a Resurrection-Focused Easter Basket from The Humbled Homemaker
10 Religious Easter Basket Ideas from Simply Rebekah
25 Meaningful Easter Basket Ideas for Kids from Smartter Each Day
Teaching the Story of Easter through Play
Finally, in the days leading up to Easter Sunday I want to teach my children the story of Easter through our intentional play time together. I’ll be incorporating several stories and lessons into our daily homeschool routine, which should be a lot of fun.
DIY Resurrection Eggs
I had never even heard of these until this year. I absolutely love this idea, and Life Your Way has a great tutorial for making your own (ours are pictured above).
We are using the story cards that Mandi provided during family devotions right now. Instead of just the one verse though, we’re reading the entire portion of scripture around the main verse for context and because my oldest (four years old) is interested.
Sometimes we act out the story or look up a video to supplement the topic. We choose worship songs based on the scripture reading (YouTube is a great free resource).
This activity has resulted in several amazing conversations with our preschooler. The thought that Jesus had to die really upsets him. It breaks his heart, and it’s amazing to watch him wrestle with the truth of the Gospel. We do not go into the brutality of Jesus’ death above what his little mind is ready to handle yet, but we don’t skirt the reality that Jesus did die and he was crucified.
I’m looking forward to Easter morning. I think it will be a day of celebration for all as the story continues to unfold in his little mind.
Some ideas I’m really loving (and will probably pick and choose from throughout the week for home preschool):
A Sense of the Resurrection from Oh Amanda – I love this hands on sensory approach to teaching the story of Jesus. We’ll be using several of these lesson ideas.
20 Christ-Centered Easter Ideas for Families from Keeper of the Home also has several really good ideas as well. I’m especially loving the links to the Easter foods like Celebrating Our First Passover.
I’m learning that there are so many ways to share the Easter story with my children. I’m not really stressing out about fitting everything in because this isn’t about completing a task list. I simply want to be intentional to open God’s word with my children and teach them about the person and work of Jesus Christ!
This is a time of celebration! Jesus’ death means nothing without the resurrection! I want my kids to know this and cherish this time of year while enjoying time with their family.
What about you? What do you do to teach your children the story of Easter?
Are you looking for more ways to teach Biblical truth to your toddler (or preschooler)? The Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum for Toddlers is a downloadable eBook designed to help you teach early learning skills to your child while instilling God’s truth. One week at a time, I will guide you through sharing the Gospel with your child through various Bible stories and learning opportunities. Learn more here!