In a world where sacred holidays are often stripped of their spiritual meaning, many Christian parents don't want to miss the opportunity to pass along a faith that lasts to children. Unless kids understand the truth of the Resurrection, they may view Easter as simply the springtime version of Halloween. In spite of the marshmallow chicks, the chocolate bunnies and the candy eggs which can distract children this time of year, Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates a risen Savior and there a plenty of fun ways for parents to communicate that all-important truth to even young children.
Easter baskets are a fun part of most family traditions. Just because the basket doesn't relate to Christ doesn't mean that this enjoyable component of Easter morning needs to be set aside. However, thoughtful parents may want to re-think the Easter basket and look for ways to incorporate faith gifts such as scripture verse bookmarks, Christian music CDs, bible story books, or even pieces of jewelry like cross necklaces or bracelets among the basket's treasures.
Making an Easter garden with a child is a tactile way to help the child visualize the events of the Resurrection. An Easter garden is easy to make by simply by filling a mixing bowl with soil and then covering the top with moss. Twigs could represent trees in the garden. A baking potato can be the tomb where Jesus was laid. Some parents choose to cut one end of the potato so that it will rest evenly on the dirt, then cut out a section to make a sort of cave. A rock can be placed in front of the potato tomb. The Easter garden can be used as a centerpiece for the table and for family discussion.
Less involved is the envelope tomb. A child can draw a picture of Jesus then cut it out. Have the child spray Jesus with perfume and then place Him in the tomb. Seal the envelope. On Easter morning kids awaken to find an envelope that is already opened and empty. Another idea is to cut out a cross from cardboard. Allow the children to glue coins all over the cross until it is covered. Parents can explain to the children that Jesus died on the cross to pay for humanity's sins.
There are fun and easy foods to make at Easter which can also be great teaching tools. One suggestion is to spread smooth peanut butter over a round cracker. Then place broken pretzels around the edge of the cracker to represent the crown of thorns placed on Jesus' head during His trial.
Resurrection rolls are an easy way to reinforce the empty tomb. To make them, kids dip a large marshmallow (this represents Jesus) in butter (this represents oil) and then roll it in cinnamon sugar (this represents spices). Place the marshmallow in a refrigerator crescent roll. This represents Jesus being placed in the tomb. Bake the rolls according to directions and the marshmallow disappears - depicting that Jesus left an empty tomb.