It can be difficult to sift through the information and Pinterest noise of Holy Week and find some simple, yet meaningful to activities do with young children. Over the years, we have done a few things that have worked well for us. Our children have come to anticipate these time honored traditions each year. Of course, this information will more than likely work best for families with younger kids, but I think many of these traditions can be enjoyed by all of us.
Easter book basket
I simply pile all of our Easter related reading material together for us to read during the week. Our favorites are Benjamin’s Box, The Parable of the Lily, The Legend of the Easter Egg, and The Tale of the Three Trees. I also dog ear the Easter story from our favorite Children’s Bibles and pile them in with the other books.
These can be purchased online, at the Christian bookstore, or Hobby Lobby. We usually just make our own from things I find around the house and read Benjamin’s Box to go along with each egg.
This is Hudson’s absolute favorite tradition. We gather the symbols: marshmallows- Jesus’s body; crescent rolls- burial cloths; butter, cinnamon, and sugar- oils and spices used to anoint his body; and Oven- tomb.
I usually let the children take some time to write out what each symbol represents on their own paper and then we make them together. The exact recipe is easy to find online, but the main thing I have learned from trial and error is to completely cover the marshmallow with the crescent roll. Basically, the marshmallow will melt while cooking--- Jesus is gone. He has risen!
This is Clara’s favorite tradition. I found this from Noel Piper’s Treasuring God in our Traditions. Basically, take 4 cups of flour, 1 ½ cups salt, 1 ½ cups water, and 1 tbsp oil. Mix and knead together, adding small amounts of water as needed until the texture is right. Make a cross with two backyard sticks bound together. Shape the lump of dough into a mountain. Leave an opening on one side that will represent the tomb. Press the cross into the top to form a hole deep enough to put cross in- making it a little larger than needed. Find a rock and press it against the cave opening to shape a fit for door. Bake at 250 degrees for 4-5 hours and when done decorate with paint and markers.
We use doll house people to act out scenes from Holy Week, and then on Friday we place Jesus on the cross and then put him in the tomb. We seal the opening with a rock and then on Easter morning, our Jesus is on top of the rock. He has risen!
Play with play-doh and toothpicks to represent the crown of thorns, tape paper to the top of your door and paint it red to represent the passover, make a lamb with a paper plate and cotton balls, light Lenten nights, make hot cross buns, make a resurrection tree. Over the years, we have chosen some of these extras to do based on interest and time.
Yearly traditions become anchors in your family’s tapestry. They become tangible ways to remember, treasure, and pass down your faith to the generations after you. What you choose to do isn’t what is important. Yet by doing it year after year, these simple activities will easily become a favorite memory of your children, one in which they can look back on and feel a sense of belonging in the world. They will bring a life-long connection to home.