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Teaching the Resurrection to Tiny Hearts and Minds

Erin Davis

Erin Davis | 04.20.11
Twitter: @ErinGraffiti

9 comments

Several weeks ago my three-year-old, Eli, came home from church brokenhearted. After several moments of crying we finally pried out what was troubling him. “I want . . .” sob, sob, “Jesus to give me,” sob, sob, “my heart back” he wailed. 

It seems that someone at church had asked Eli about giving his heart to Jesus. Our very literal three-year-old was crushed by the thought that Jesus had taken his heart. He didn’t understand what Jesus was going to do with his heart, and he wasn’t quite sure how he was going to function without it. 

This whole encounter, while adorable, has me a little petrified about Easter. How do I explain to my toddler that Jesus died on the cross but remains the Giver of all life? How can I expect his tiny mind to grasp that the Friday before Easter is called Good Friday because the horrible death that Jesus endured is the best news the world has ever known? How do I describe the empty tomb? 

So, I’ve been doing what every panicked mother does—I’ve been Googling. I’ve come up with a great list of ways to teach Jesus’ death and Resurrection to young hearts and minds. Since I know many of you are moms, grandmas, aunts, and friends who deeply desire to teach God’s Truth to the little ones in your sphere of influence, I thought I’d pass the list on to you. 

Here are six great ways to teach the Resurrection to the kids around you this Easter. 

1. Dye eggs certain colors and use them to tell the story of salvation. I’d recommend using the colors commonly used in “salvation bracelets” as listed below.
Purple = Grace
Black = Sin
Red = Blood of Christ
White = Forgiveness
Green = Eternal Life
Gold = Heaven’s Street

2. Attend a Maundy Thursday or Good Friday Service. Your children will notice that you are attending church at a different point in the week than usual which will open up dialogue about Easter. 

3. Send Easter cards. Have your children help you decorate and address Easter cards to friends and relatives. Explain that while many people do not send Easter cards, your family chooses to do so because this holiday is so special. 

4. Tell the Easter story like you would the Christmas story. Many families have a tradition of reading the Christmas Story from the Bible as a family. That same tradition translates well for Easter. At our house I type out passages about Jesus’ death, Resurrection, and ascension and cut them into small pieces of paper. Each dinner guest gets one segment of Scripture and we go around the table and read them before we eat our Easter meal. Passages to include are: Matthew 27:45-54Matthew 27:62-66Matthew 28:1-15Mark 16:1-20Luke 24:1-49John 20:1-25.

5. Acknowledge Good Friday. The wonder of the empty tomb is lost unless we take time to explain to our kids what happened three days before. 

6. Bake Resurrection cookies. All kids love to bake cookies. These Easter Story Cookies help you tell the story of the Resurrection step by step as you cook. You place them in the oven the night before Easter and the cookies are ready Easter morning. Each cookie is hollow inside to symbolize the empty tomb. 

We grown-up types can become desensitized to the Easter story, can’t we? We know that Jesus died for our sins. We’ve heard the story about the stone rolled away and can recite by heart how the empty tomb was discovered. But, my son’s childlike faith is reminding me anew of the wonder of it all. Jesus’ death is hard to fathom. His empty tomb doesn’t make sense to my human mind. The fact that He conquered death is too wonderful for me to grasp. If I take the time to think through the Truths of Easter with the wonder and inquisitiveness that my son surely will, my heart wants to burst with gratitude, questions, and wonder.

Whether or not you’ve got kids under your roof this Easter, I hope you’ll find ways to remind others that Jesus is Risen. If you’re like me, as you think through how to teach the miracles of Easter to others, God will work in your heart to remind you that His resurrection is the best story ever told. 

How will you teach the Resurrection to others this year? What steps will you take to remind your own heart that He is risen? 

Comments

  1. One thing I do to celebrate Easter and teach others about the wonder of it all is to celebrate Passover (a modified version) I work at a Christian preschool, and every year we have a beautiful "meal" with our 2&3 year olds where we read, sing, and talk about Jesus and the "special meal" He had with His "friends" before He died. We are careful to put it on their level without watering down the truth. While the children are eating their fruit,cheese, matza, and apple juice we introduce communion and talk about how Jesus broke the bread and told all His friends that He loves them soooo much and wants them to remember Him. Then we hold up a special cup and talk about all the friends drinking from the cup and remembering Jesus and how much He loves them. The children LOVE it!

    We also celebrate Passover (modified version) in my home. I have two teenage children, so the way we celebrate is different than at my preschool! :) Obviously, my husband and I are able to talk more in depth about what Jesus did and how God's deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt was foreshadowing of how God would deliver all mankind from slavery to sin through the blood of Jesus. My children used to question why we had a Passover meal when we're not even Jewish, but over the years they have grown to learn and understand and it has become a wonderful family time! Lots of good discussions can come out of this!

    I think what is important is to think about what age the children or people are that you are sharing with and really keep it on a level they will understand, being careful not to water down the Truth.

    Celebrate the Feasts by Martha Zimmerman is a great book to help in your celebration of Passover if you are interested.

    God bless you all this weekend as you celebrate our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ!
    posted by Stephanie
    on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 7:45 am
  2. I highly recommend the book by Noel Piper (John Piper's Wife) "Treasuring God in our Traditions". She lays out a wonderful visual learning approach to teaching kids about the Passion Week. She covers many different holidays and ideas to speak to your children practically about the Lord and finding Him in how we celebrate. It has been an awesome study w/ my kids for the past two Easters. Also, totally recommend the children's book by John Cross, "The Lamb" as another resource.
    posted by Julie Burkett
    on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 8:32 am
  3. Thank you, Erin, and also Julie and Stephanie. I always want to make Easter more special, and seem to get caught up in dresses and shoes for everyone. Not THIS year!!
    posted by annie
    on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 9:10 am
  4. Thank you for sharing this information for I have young children. My 4 and 5 year old girls enjoyed making and playing with different versions of "resurection egg." They didn't understand the meaning of the items in it. However the hands on play made them easier to connect and remember that Easter is about Jesus' love for us. Thank you always.
    posted by U.J.
    on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 9:57 pm
  5. I second on Noel Pipers book.

    In it she gives a recipe and instructions on making an Easter Mountain that is out of playdoh (that you cook and make hard) one side is the mount. Jesus died on , the other is the tomb and the stone.....My young kids look forward to this tradition, its simple and give them a visual. We just incorporated it into a 3 and 4 year old class at church, they loved it (it was worth the mess)!
    posted by Melissa Carter
    on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 10:44 pm
  6. We had a little girl, about three upset because they killed Jesus. She even mentioned it as a prayer request. I now never teach the crucifixion without spending a few minutes letting the kids know He rose again and is alive in Heaven!
    posted by Becky
    on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 8:03 am
  7. Hey Kyle and Amy

    I really liked this article. She has good ideas. I esp liked #4. That woulld work at thanksgiving too. You could also use the Bible bk I gave you to explain Easter. I purposely got that one because it is more realistic than most.

    Love, Mom
    posted by Kathy
    on Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm
  8. very interesting article, i've always wanted to write my own blog but i don't have much time
    regards from bhp
    http://www.kompletszkolenbhp.pl/
    posted by internetowe szkolenie bhp
    on Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 4:59 am
  9. You can teach children about the Savior, His Atonement and His Resurrection any time of year, especially if those children get to learn gardening from their parents. You can help them relate their gardening experience by saying that after the harvest in the fall, the ground looks empty, but we know that it is in preparation for planting and new growth in the spring.

    We have a garden, and it takes a lot of time and effort to get what we want from it. We dig up the weeds that grow amid the flowers, vegetables and fruit, and remove them form the garden. We nourish the flowers and veggies and fruit, and as they mature, we bring them into our home to enjoy.

    Jesus had a garden he loved, called the Garden of Gethsemane. Once, after teaching His apostles about the sacrament, he took them to that garden, and leaving them close by, went alone to pray. In a miraculous way, he took all the weeds of life - our wrongs to others, the wrongs done to use, all the pains and sorrows we could ever experience - and then He took them with Him to the cross and the tomb. Then He brought the flowers and fruits and veggies home to His Father, our Father in Heaven, to enjoy the beautiful life there. And still today, He invites us to come be a part of His garden and partake of the joy of Heaven with Him.
    posted by John Brockbank
    on Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm

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