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Have you ever had a year where you are so busy that one minute its Christmas and the next, it’s the Saturday before Easter and you are scrambling trying to cobble together outfits and stuff a million Easter eggs with chocolate bunnies?
Do you wish that there was a way to really help your children understand that Easter is more than eggs, candy, with some Jesus thrown in? ME TOO!
In our fast-paced society, it can be easy to pass over the importance of the lent season with nothing more than a thought or a good intention to stop eating chocolate.
But Lent is more than giving something up; it is a time of reflection, of preparing our hearts, of remembering Christ’s life, death and resurrection, and a concentrated time of refocusing on Jesus. A forty day (not including Sundays) fast, interwoven with prayer and giving that culminates on Easter Sunday.
We do not celebrate Lent or Easter as a way to earn more brownie points with God or as another task to complete. There is nothing we can do to make God love us any more or any less than he does right now. We participate in Lent and Easter as a way to actively participate with the Holy Spirit in the transforming of our hearts.
I love how life as a follower of Jesus, is an ACTIVE, experiential life. We don’t just get to hear about God, we get to EXPERIENCE a relationship WITH God. Children learn experientially, and active participation is formational in their spiritual growth. Lent and Easter is a time rich with experiences and a perfect way for children to actively engage in their faith.
We are going to be talking about 13 meaningful experiences that you can have with your child as you learn to walk through this Easter season with intention.
These are just suggestions. You do not need to do everything on the list but choose one or two activities that are speaking to you. I pray that the Holy Spirit moves in the hearts of your family in powerful ways this Easter season.
A Couple of Tips: Your active participation with your child in the activity is HUGE. Do not to rush through these activities. It is not about getting them “done” and giving your child an Easter experience. This is not about being productive but about moving slowly, savoring, and giving the Holy Spirit elbow room to speak with your child. Allow for silence, (yes, this can work even with preschool children) in and around the activity.
1.Use a Lent-Easter Family Devotional
This is the BEST devotional, (Good Dirt Lent, Holy Week, Eastertide Devotional) I have found yet for kids during Easter. The devotional is very doable for each day(it’s about a half a page).
The devotional covers Lent, Holy Week and Eastertide and is written from an evangelical perspective. I really appreciate how each devotional is broken into four sections: Till (Prayer) Plant (Meditate on Scripture) Water (Reflect) Weed (Examine). The book includes 14 weeks of devotionals. You can grab your copy here!
2. Decorate Your Home
Allow the decorations in your home to serve as a daily reminder of the importance of the Lenten season. The color purple serves as the traditional reminder of Easter. It symbolizes not only the pain of the cross but it is also the color of royalty, and it celebrates Jesus’s resurrection. Decorate a table or space (or throughout the house) with the color purple, you could add a cross, a Bible and or a candle.
3. Observe Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday serves as the start to the lenten season. It is important for your child to witness the community of God gathered together to worship him. Carving out time to attend serves speaks louder than words to your child about your family’s priorities.
4. Light a Candle
Every morning, start your day, by lighting a candle each day to as a reminder of Jesus’ shining light in the world. You can follow the lighting of the candle with prayer inviting him into your day.
5. Look at Art
Visit a church, or museum, in books, or print some pictures off the internet depicting the crucifixion and resurrection.
Start by inviting Jesus into this time. Find a piece that speaks to you or your child. Spend some time just enjoying the art.
Ask God what he is saying to you through this piece. Remember, this is for you as much as it is for your child. It is powerful for your children to watch you engage with the Holy Spirit through art.
After a couple of minutes ask your child:
a) How does this piece make you feel?
b.) What do you love about it?
c) What do you think the Father is saying to you through this piece?
Tip: Don’t rush. The goal is quality over quality. You are there to create elbow room for the Holy Spirit to speak to them through art. You are not there to teach your kids something (though they will learn). Also, don’t feel like you have to be there an hour to make it worthwhile.
6. Listen to an Easter Playlist
It is important to place a special emphasis on creating an environment that draws their hearts towards Jesus during this Lenten season.
Tip-I am loving the Lent and Easter Worship Songs Playlists by Salt of the Sound on Spotify
7. Act out the Easter Story
This can be as simple or elaborate as you desire. 🙂 This is great for allowing the children to really engage in the story of Easter. Remember this is not about getting it “right” but about engaging in the story of Jesus’ resurrection.
Tip: Your children can also do this with stuffed animals or dolls.
8. Draw Prayers to Jesus
Layout art supplies, plain paper, and have your Easter playlist playing quietly in the background. Encourage your child to write or draw prayers to Jesus.
Tip: This should not feel like a homework assignment. There is no correct way of doing this. This is their personal prayer to God. Let them know that they can but don’t have to share their prayers with you when they are done.
9. Watch a Video of the Easter Story
Here are two suggestions for younger and older children:
10. Use Playdough to Recreate the Empty Tomb
This is a GREAT, hands-on, simple activity to allow children to engage in the Easter story.
11. Draw or Paint an Easter Scene
Read through the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection. Encourage your children to draw or paint a picture of a scene from the Easter story that grabs their attention.
Tip: I typically put on instrumental music in the background to help focus their attention on listening to Jesus.
12. Look for Ways to Serve Others
Pray with your children. And ask God what way he wants you to focus on serving others during this Lenten season.
13. Attend a Good Friday and Easter Service
If appropriate allow your children to join you for all or part of the service. The death and resurrection of Jesus are foundational to our faith and allowing your child to witness that at a young age is HUGE! Also, Easter sunrise services are amazing (especially for elementary age children).
14. Plan a Special Meal for Easter Sunday
The goal is to plan and prepare WITH your children a special meal celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. Invite over family and friends to celebrate.
Give your Easter season a strong foundation by grabbing your own copy of the Good Dirt: Lent, Holy Week & Eastertide Devotional. I am excited to travel through it with my own family this year! You can get it here!
What about you? What are your favorite ways to encourage a love of Jesus in your child during Easter?