Last week, A came back home from nursery excitedly explaining all of the Easter celebrations they would be having before the end of term. D casually asked her, as D would, if they had discussed Jesus at all. A gave him a look which said, “don’t be so stupid daddy”, and answered the question with a rather patronising, “no, we talk about bunnies and eggs”.
A knows the real story of Easter all too well, and could have probably discussed this at length, but it is a sad fact of popular society that when most people think of Easter, they probably think of a bunny or chocolate eggs. Easter is fundamentally a Christian celebration, and is in fact the pinnacle of the church year; without Easter there would be no Christianity. Unfortunately, however, over recent years Christian festivals have become increasingly secularised, and the story of Easter has been hit the hardest; I suppose a story about death and resurrection is always going to be less appealing than that of the newborn baby at Christmas, for example, and it certainly wouldn’t make for a cute school play, that’s for sure. I also find that the Easter story is more difficult for young children to relate to; first of all, there is death, and that is difficult enough for an adult to understand at the best of times, let alone a child, but then there is the celebration of the resurrection and all of the additional questions that that brings. So I do completely understand why parents would prefer to gloss over the real story altogether and focus on the cute chicks and bunnies and chocolate, particularly with very young children.
But teaching children the real meaning of Easter is important, and each year I try to find new activities for us to do as a family to help with this. In the past couple of years some of our activities have included: baking hot cross buns, using resurrection eggs to tell the story, and exploring the story further with help of The Treasure Box People (and a packet of Cadbury’s Mini Eggs). This year I was on the lookout for some new resources, so was very excited when Nadine from Making Her Mama sent us a copy of her fantastic eBook, The Bunny, the Egg and the Cross, to review. This book, aimed at 2-6 year olds, delves even deeper into the real meaning of Easter in a fun and easy (but very thorough) way, and I intend to use this from now until Easter Sunday!
The book starts with a brief explanation of Easter, as well as all of the significant dates that we observe at the beginning of Lent and then onward to Holy Week. There is also a handy master supply list, containing all of the items needed for the crafts throughout the book; most of these are things that you will find lying around the house – the best sort of supplies in my opinion!
The book is then divided into nine separate teachings; the first being how Easter Eggs and the Easter Bunny can be used to reflect on the real meaning of Easter (this can be done at any time before Easter), and the remaining eight taking the children through each day of Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday. Each teaching has an associated Bible passage, a craft element, and a discussion/reflection section. The content and crafts are simple and easy to follow, without taking away any of the meaning, making it a very accessible resource for the target age group. Furthermore, the activities are fairly short, catering to the ever-decreasing attention span of a toddler/pre-schooler! Also included at the end of the eBook are all of the templates that are needed for the crafts, as well as memory verse cards (for printing and laminating if you wish) to help consolidate the teaching.
I particularly enjoyed the excellent comparison of the Easter Bunny with Jesus – this is something I have never seen before, but found really helpful; in my capacity as a Church Children’s Worker, I am often asked how on earth the bunny has anything to do with Jesus, and now I have the most wonderful explanation!
I also love that there are crafts for every day of Holy Week. With the children at church we place a large emphasis on Palm Sunday, but from there we jump straight to Maundy Thursday for a shared supper, followed by activities on Good Friday. It never even occurred to me to cover the other days of Holy Week in depth, but this is something that I will be doing with my own children at home this year, thanks to this excellent resource.
If you are looking for a fun, easy (and inexpensive way) to teach the Easter story this year, then I would highly recommend this eBook.
The Bunny, the Egg and the Cross is available to buy now!
Disclaimer: We were provided with a pdf copy of the book for the purposes of this review; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.