The following post is from Kristina of Toddler Approved:
As Easter has been approaching I have been thinking a lot about how our family can focus more on the spiritual side of the holiday this year, instead of emphasizing the Easter bunny as much. Although I love to do egg hunts and surprise my kids with Easter baskets, I feel that the true purpose of Easter somehow gets lost once the Cadbury mini eggs start lining the shelves at our nearest Target.
This year I decided that we would create a new family Easter advent tradition and spend the first eight days of April learning about the story of Easter while also focusing on many of the wonderful teachings of Jesus Christ. I am excited to share some of my advent ideas with you so that you can create your own new family tradition this year too!
The first thing we did was create a simple advent calendar. I made ours with envelopes, cards, clothespins, stickers, and some twine.
Before we hung the advent, we printed out these advent direction cards that we made, mounted them onto cardstock, and then snuck them inside each envelope.
You can download the printable advent cards here. One set of cards shares our simple project ideas and another one is blank so that you can create your own activities that fit your family.
Each advent activity we did is presented below with some of the resources we used. Feel free to use our ideas or insert family traditions that you already have that your children love. Our main goal this April is to focus a little less on the bunny, and more on the Savior.
Day 1: Easter Block Set
Create an Easter Block set and use it to retell the story of Easter.
We created our set using printables from here and here. Then we sized them down a bit on the computer, printed them off, colored and cut them out, and taped them onto our wooden blocks.
We talked about each piece in the set and my preschooler and I watched a short preschool video that taught about the Easter story using Resurrection eggs. Then we spent time retelling the story of Easter using the block set and put it in our playroom where he could explore the blocks and talk with me about the story often.
Day 2: Spring Mural
Jesus died and was resurrected in the springtime. The springtime is a time of new life. Make a spring mural and talk about what Jesus loves.
We made this simple spring mural using cardstock, scissors, and painters tape. I got the idea from here. My son practiced his snipping skills to make each petal. I love how it cheers up our walls!
During our Easter advent time we plan to talk about what Jesus loves and then write down specific things on each flower petal when see my son and daughter doing those things that would make Jesus happy.
Day 3: Act of Service
Do an act of secret service for another family and talk about how Jesus loved and served everyone.
I loved the idea of “egging” another family as a secret service at Easter time. You can read more details about this idea here (and get a free printable), but we plan to choose a family that could use some extra love and then we will do a few little acts of service for them as part of our advent.
Day 4: Make a Card
Make a card for someone who is sick and talk about how Jesus healed the sick.
On this day we plan to make a card for someone who is sick. My grandmother is currently going through chemotherapy, so we plan to make her some cards to cheer her up. We will also read some Bible stories that share about how Jesus healed many that were suffering.
Day 5: Secret Service
Jesus is the good shepherd. Each person is important to him. Do secret service in your home to make each person feel important.
We plan to do secret acts of service to each other and leave a little stuffed lamb in the spot where the act of service is done. For example, if I helped make my son’s bed, I would leave the lamb on his pillow. The lamb will be left with a note that says, “You are loved.” Hopefully every member of our family will feel loved as we do kind acts like Jesus did.
Day 6: Make a Heart
Jesus died for us. Make a heart project and talk about how it can be a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
The crucifixion is hard for me to talk about. I love the idea of making a beautiful heart project with my kids while we express how much we love Jesus for the sacrifice he made for us. We made these heart sun catchers earlier this year and plan to make a few more to hang at Easter time.
Day 7: Graham Cracker Tomb
Jesus’ friends loved him and laid his body in a tomb. Make a graham cracker tomb and talk about how his friends must’ve felt when he died.
We created this project with candy, frosting, and graham crackers. We used a candy peep to symbolize putting Christ’s body in the tomb. We’ll remove the peep and roll away the chocolate cookie on Easter morning to show that the tomb was empty!
Day 8: Unwrap an Empty Box
Jesus has risen! Open an empty gift box and talk about how the tomb was empty on Easter morning. Have a family Easter sunrise service.
We have a gift wrapped and waiting to be opened on Easter morning. Our kids are excited to see what their special Easter gift is! We plan to open it on Easter morning as part of a brief Easter Sunrise Service (since we are dealing with short attention spans). We’ll sing a song or two, retell the Easter story again, and then open our gift. When the kids discover an empty box, we’ll talk about how the tomb was empty on Easter morning because Jesus had risen!
These are just a few of the ways that we plan to focus more on Jesus Christ at Easter time this year.
How do you teach your children the story of Easter during this holiday season? Do you have any Easter traditions that you enjoy each year as a family?
|Kristina is a mom of 2 and a former Special Ed teacher for children with communication disabilities. She blogs at Toddler Approved as she looks for ways to make life a little more fun and creative with her kids while embedding learning into everything that she does. Kristina tweets as @ToddlerApproved and can be found on FB and Pinterest.|