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Posts Tagged ‘Passion Week’

For our children, Easter has become more about baby chickens, bunny rabbits, and egg hunts and hardly anything about Jesus! Part of the reason is that the story is sad, brutal, and gory. We have sanitized the lives of our children to the point that the real Easter story just doesn’t work.  We need a Disney version for our young children.

On the other hand, my 8-year-old, 7-year-old, and 5-year-old grandsons have all seen Star Wars, and some of them have seen at least the first episode of Lord of the Rings. They have all seen the Narnia movies—and they have all been to funerals.  I think they can handle the basics of the passion story.

I’d like to just suggest to you today a schedule of possible readings and activities to do with your young children. You are the best judge about what age is appropriate to participate, but I think you can start younger than you probably imagine.

Each day will have four primary activities:

1.            Create a timeline and put it on the child’s wall or in a place where you do activities. These can be a sheet of paper for each day, or, if you can easily find it, a roll of paper that you can write/draw on.

2..           Read the story from the Bible, if appropriate. You can try the Children’s Bible version or some other easy-to-read version. You also can substitute a storybook version if the children are very young, but use the real Bible if at all possible.

3.            Have your child draw a picture to go with the story that they heard. Talk to them about their picture, letting them explain it to you.  Listen, don’t talk too much.

4.            Do the suggested craft or activity with your child/children and be sure to connect it to the story for the day.

I’ve arranged this so that you can start on Monday, even though the triumphal entry was on Sunday. This will give us an activity to do on Wednesday which was a day of retreat for Jesus.  I hope this adjustment doesn’t bother you. We will keep the timeline we make accurate.

Day Story/Scripture Activity
Sun Entry into Jerusalem  /Matthew 21:1-11 Child should sense joy—doing things that make God happy. Cut branches/tall grasses/have one parent be the donkey and let the child ride while the other parent or other children wave the branches.
Mon Cleansing of the temple/Matt. 21:12-17 Help child understand that Jesus was mad about people disobeying God, but he was not trying to hurt the people! Set up tv trays with coins or other objects “for sale” and let the child go through and knock them over.
Tues Widows Two Mites  /Luke 21:1-4 Your child can learn early to give “all” because you gave them to him/her. Give your child two pennies. You or other children then should drop 10+ pennies into a jar. Your child drops 2 and then you ask who gave more!
Wed (This happened Tues. night, which is Wed on Jewish time. Judas Betrays Jesus for 30 pieces of silver/ Matt. 26:1-5 & 26:14-16 Not only are you telling the story but you are teaching your child that money takes its moral value from how it is used, not how much one has. Bring out the two pennies from yesterday and then bring out 30 dimes or 30 quarters and put them in a sack or bag of some kind. Then ask the child which money was used for good and which for bad.
Thurs Last Supper /Luke 22:7-38  You can talk about how much Jesus loved his disciples. Eating together should be happy, but the one empty chair should be ominous, not mysterious.  Jesus knows what Judas is going to do. Find a recipe on internet and bake unleavened bread together.  If you want, get grape juice and have a little meal together—but leave one chair empty. One of Jesus’ friends with 30 pieces of silver got up and left—what is he going to do?
Friday Crucifixion / Matt. 27:33-50 What you are wanting to convey here is the sadness, not the grimness of Jesus’death. This is tricky and depends on your child/children. I suggest you find a small room which you darken as much as possible, then  light six long-life candles. Take the child in each hr and put out one candle. When the last candle goes out, explain that Jesus died—and it was dark!
Saturday Jesus was buried on Friday, but was in the tomb all day Saturday. The Tomb   John 19:30-42 Just make the point that Jesus was dead and in the grave just like all the dead people in the visited cemetery. Nobody really expected what was going to happen. It would be great to go to a graveyard and just walk for a while, reading what is on the tombstones. No need to make it heavier than the child will.
Sunday Resurrection/  John 20:1-18 Your goal is to create excitement that Jesus is not dead. He is alive! If possible, use the previous room that went dark. Just as the child wakes up on Easter morning, take him/her into the room, bright with sunlight and, if possible, lots of lit candles!

Even if you don’t use these exact activities, perhaps they will spark some ideas. I’d love to hear your ideas for sharing the Easter story with young children.  Let’s pool our ideas and reclaim Easter for Jesus!

This is a repost from 2011, but many new readers will be seeing it for the first time. 

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For our children, Easter has become more about baby chickens, bunny rabbits, and egg hunts and hardly anything about Jesus! Part of the reason is that the story is sad, brutal, and gory. We have sanitized the lives of our children to the point that the real Easter story just doesn’t work.  We need a Disney version for our young children.

On the other hand, my 8-year-old, 7-year-old, and 5-year-old grandsons have all seen Star Wars, and some of them have seen at least the first episode of Lord of the Rings. They have all seen the Narnia movies—and they have all been to funerals.  I think they can handle the basics of the passion story.

I’d like to just suggest to you today a schedule of possible readings and activities to do with your young children. You are the best judge about what age is appropriate to participate, but I think you can start younger than you probably imagine.

Each day will have four primary activities:

1.            Create a timeline and put it on the child’s wall or in a place where you do activities. These can be a sheet of paper for each day, or, if you can easily find it, a roll of paper that you can write/draw on.

2..           Read the story from the Bible, if appropriate. You can try the Children’s Bible version or some other easy-to-read version. You also can substitute a storybook version if the children are very young, but use the real Bible if at all possible.

3.            Have your child draw a picture to go with the story that they heard. Talk to them about their picture, letting them explain it to you.  Listen, don’t talk too much.

4.            Do the suggested craft or activity with your child/children and be sure to connect it to the story for the day.

I’ve arranged this so that you can start on Monday, even though the triumphal entry was on Sunday. This will give us an activity to do on Wednesday which was a day of retreat for Jesus.  I hope this adjustment doesn’t bother you. We will keep the timeline we make accurate.

Day Story/Scripture Activity
Sun Entry into Jerusalem  /Matthew 21:1-11

Child should sense joy—doing things that makes God happy.

Cut branches/tall grasses/have one parent be the donkey and ride the child while the other or other children waves the branches.
Mon Cleansing of the temple/Matt. 21:12-17

Help child understand that Jesus was mad about people disobeying God, but he was not trying to hurt the people!

Set up tv trays with coins or other objects “for sale” and let the child go through and knock them over.
Tues Widows Two Mites  /Luke 21:1-4

Your child can learn early to give “all” because you gave them to him/her.

Give your child two pennies. You or other children then should drop 10+ pennies into a jar. Your child drops 2 and then you ask who gave more!
Wed (This happened Tues. night, which is Wed on Jewish time. Judas Betrays Jesus for 30 pieces of silver/ Matt. 26:1-5 & 26:14-16

Not only are you telling the story but you are teaching your child that money takes its moral value from how it is used, not how much one has.

Bring out the two pennies from yesterday and then bring out 30 dimes or 30 quarters and put them in a sack or bag of some kind. Then ask the child which money was used for good and which for bad.
Thurs Last Supper /Luke 22:7-38  You can talk about how much Jesus loved his disciples. Eating together should be happy, but the one empty chair should be ominous, not mysterious.  Jesus knows what Judas is going to do. Find a recipe on internet and bake unleavened bread together.  If you want, get grape juice and have a little meal together—but leave one chair empty. One of Jesus’ friends with 30 pieces of silver got up and left—what is he going to do?
Friday Crucifixion / Matt. 27:33-50

What you are wanting to convey here is the sadness, not the grimness of Jesus’death.

This is tricky and depends on your child/children. I suggest you find a small room which you darken as much as possible, then  light six long-life candles. Take the child in each hr and put out one candle. When the last candle goes out, explain that Jesus died—and it was dark!
Saturday

Jesus was buried on Friday, but was in the tomb all day Saturday.

The Tomb   John 19:30-42

Just make the point that Jesus was dead and in the grave just like all the dead people in the visited cemetery. Nobody really expected what was going to happen.

It would be great to go to a graveyard and just walk for a while, reading what is on the tombstones. No need to make it heavier than the child will.
Sunday Resurrection/  John 20:1-18

Your goal is to create excitement that Jesus is not dead. He is alive!

If possible, use the previous room that went dark. Just as the child wakes up on Easter morning, take him/her into the room, bright with sunlight and, if possible, lots of lit candles!

Even if you don’t use these exact activities, perhaps they will spark some ideas. I’d love to hear your ideas for sharing the Easter story with young children.  Let’s pool our ideas and reclaim Easter for Jesus!

Read Full Post »

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