Friday, March 09, 2012

Seeing as Easter is just around the corner…

and as I saw that  this Resurrection countdown made it on Pinterest (haha)...

I figured I should disclose the rest of my 12 days of Jesus lessons and activities from this post last year.


I realized recently that I have taken for granted the education that I received through 20+ years of Sunday School.  As we go to a small church without a Sunday School program for my kids... I am trying to be better about working Bible stories in at home.  That is where this idea originated last year.  Plus… this kind of stuff is fun for the former teacher in me.



Start 12 days before Easter.  Easter Sunday should leave you with the #1 egg to open.  Each of the 12 eggs should hold a small trinket or conversation starter that will kind of fit in the egg.  After Lily opens the egg for that day, we read the story together in her Children’s Bible (we have this one and this one)... then talk a little bit about how the object relates to the story and how the story relates to our lives. My main purpose is to start to get her as excited about my Savior as I am.




... and to make strides in redeeming Easter in our house from the Pagans, while keeping it fun.

… and full of chocolate.






Day 12: mini playdoh … “The name of Jesus”   
Read the story of the Angel coming to Mary in Luke 1.   Talk about what the name of Jesus -  Immanuel “God with us” means.  Talk about the meaning of our own names. Read Philippians 2:10 together and discuss.  Use the playdoh to spell out the name of Jesus.

Day 11:  swedish fish candy and a cracker … “Jesus feeds the 5000”
See how many times we can break the ‘bread’ and ‘fish’. Read the story in  Matthew 14, Luke 9, or John 6.  Talk about what it might have looked like and note how everyone got enough to be full and not just tiny pieces.

Day 10:  toy boat … “Jesus calms the storm” (I found a tiny boat at the party store this year for a dime… but last year decorated a piece of mulch with a sharpie… no joke) 
Read the story in  Matthew 8, Mark 4 or Luke 8 and talk about why this is so amazing. Make a storm in a bottle (with a liter bottle oil water and food coloring) with your toy boat or storm in the bathtub and try to calm it instantly, which can’t be done.

Day  9:  blindfold …  “Jesus heals the blind man”
Lead them in a few activities with the blindfold on.  Talk about how hard it would be to live life that way and how you’d feel if you were healed.  Read about  the healing in John 9.   Note how the blind man reacted when Jesus told him who He was.   How does God reveal Himself in our lives… how should we react?

Day  8:  paper crown and a travel soap …  “Jesus washes feet”  
Talk about the meaning of royalty and the things that kings, queens, princesses are supposed to do.  Explain how Jesus is the King of all Kings and what that means.  Then read the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples in John 13 and how he came to serve and not be served. Is that what you’d expect the King of Kings to do?  Take turns putting on the crown and washing each other’s feet talking about how we can serve the way Jesus did.

Day  7:  sample perfume or scented lotion … “Mary Magdalene and the perfume”

(I did this one because Lily is obsessed with perfume... feel free to substitute)  Read the story of Mary pouring the perfume on Jesus’ feet from John 12.  Talk about how expensive this was back then and what a big deal it was for her to do it.  Discuss some other things are important to us now and how we can give them as an offering to God.... time, money etc.

Day  6:  4 quarters … “giving/ Rich young ruler”
Talk about what they’d like to do with the 4 quarters.  Read the story Jesus tells of the rich young ruler from Matthew 19 or Luke 12 and then Acts 20:35 when Jesus says it is better to give than to receive.  Now revisit the quarters and talk about what they’d like to do with the 4 quarters.

Day  5:  TWO small treats or candy … “Jesus visits Zacchaeus”
Read the story in Luke 19.  Talk about why people didn’t like Zacchaeus back then and how cool it is that Jesus not only saw and acknowledged him, but wanted to spend time with him… and how it changed the man’s life.  Lead them to think about some people that they (or the world  in general) haven’t been ‘noticing’.  Invite them to seek out the person and share the extra treat and play with them.

Day  4:  Time Coupon … “Jesus loved the children”
Read the story in Mark 10 .  Talk about adults in our lives that obviously love children.  How do you know and what do they do to show it?  How do we think Jesus showed it?  How would you like me to show you that I love you and value spending time with you?  Fill out the time coupon together.  (Although I’d like to steer her into wanting extra hugs or going on a walk together... I can already tell you that I am going to be in for 20 excruciating minutes of Barbies with this one. )

Day  3:  Tearjerker gum … “Jesus wept.”
Read the story of Jesus healing Lazarus in John 11.   Talk about  how Jesus was a real person with real emotions like us.  Note how he was sad, but never lost hope.  He knew God was going to use Lazarus’ story for His glory.  Talk about times when we feel sad, hurt, scared at times and how awesome it is to have hope like Jesus did in this situation because God is behind us and hears our prayers.

Day  2:  Crayon and a slip of paper … “Jesus died for us”
Read the story of the crucifixion in Matthew 27, Luke 23 or John 19 and talk about how must have felt to love Jesus and be there that day... and how it might have felt for those who didn’t love Jesus but saw what happened.  Write the word that you feel on the piece of paper and put it inside the egg for the next day.  Bury the egg somewhere nearby.

Day  1:  the egg is empty … “He is RISEN!”  
Go find the egg (which has now been unearthed, broken open and is empty.) Read the story in Matthew 28, Mark 16 or John 20.  Talk about how God gave us the most special gift ever when he gave us Jesus: Himself in a body to love us and show us how to live and to ultimately give his own life so that we could have an eternal relationship with him.... not because we deserved it at all... but because He loves us that much. 

This is kind of how I worked the ‘Easter Basket’ in last year:

“All good things that we do are God’s grace at work in us because of our salvation in Jesus.  One of these is how Dad and I  enjoy giving you and Eli gifts to show our love... just like He does. Since this is a special day as we are celebrating Jesus’ victory over death…. I ‘ve made a special basket of gifts for you. If you can find it… you can keep it!”


***sidenote: Lily is 4, but loves to discuss things and make connections.  I catered this to her interests/ ability level.

When she gets older I might be to just read the stories each day and then have the Easter basket be full objects that relate to the stories and go back through and see if she can match them.   This whole ‘fitting inside the egg’ criteria may start to cramp my style in the coming years.

Please share if you substitute or come with other story/activity ideas.  

This was a hit last year and is probably going to be a new family tradition.


Ashley said...

Wow! I LOVE this! Thank you so much for sharing!

The James Family said...

This is great! How about you just go ahead and make 2 and give one set to us. :) I just pinned this on pinterest. Keep doing posts like these--you have great ideas.

Tom said...

Such cute ideas to learn bible stories. My prayer too is that all my grandchildren will fall in love with Jesus. Nano

Brandi said...

This is great! Why do you have to be far away?! I could use you and your brilliant ideas in the coming years!!

Jen said...

Wonderful! :)

*Creative and Curious Kids!
*God's Shining Stars

Anonymous said...

This is great! It is just so simple yet fun educational. Thank you!

Unknown said...

Love this! Thanks for the post.

Sarah said...

So delighted to find you today ... I hope you don't mind if I splash around to get to know you a bit more. This looks like a refreshing place to be drenched in all of God's goodness.

And ... can I share a link to your blog on my post tomorrow as I am sharing ideas for family treasure time.


beth said...

thank you so much for this! it's awesome!

Emilie said...

A great site with ideas for preschool/kindergarten ages is

She has incredibel crafts and ideas for the major religions, sacraments and feasts of the chruch.

Here site is also very well organized and easy to follow.

Anonymous said...

This is my first time to your blog, I jumped over from Money Saving Mom. I never really leave comments on blogs, but this was just too perfect for me not to thank you! I've got an 18 month old and another little one due in a few weeks. I really have been wanting to find a way to celebrate Easter with my kids for it's real meaning, without being a grinch and stealing Easter!;) This is such a perfect way to do make Easter more meaningful for them. I think this will definitely become a tradition in our family. Thank you so much for sharing!

Tina said...

I found this via Pinterest and I love it! I also have a 4 year old daughter and am going to do this with her. I am always trying to find ways to slip in Bible stories or truths throughout our day...I'm not always good at it, but this is a great way to get started. Thanks for sharing!

Scrappin Realtor said...

This is great! Thanks for sharing!!!

Tina said...

Found your idea on and will certainly be implementing it. Can hardly wait! Our family loves countdowns & the opportunity to get our kids excited about the Jesus factor of the holidays. Thanks! (PS: I'm a huge fan of "the Jesus Storybook Bible" I'll be using that one.

Emily said...

Oh, I love this. Glad to have found it with more than 12 days to Easter ;-)

Jenn said...

Great idea!
You said your Church doesn't have a Sunday School... why not ask the pastor to start something simple on Sunday. Or even if it's not every Sunday you could lead a family day before Easter or Christmas.
You really have great ideas!

Jenn said...

Great idea!
You said your Church doesn't have a Sunday School... why not ask the pastor to start something simple on Sunday. Or even if it's not every Sunday you could lead a family day before Easter or Christmas.
You really have great ideas!

Dineen said...

I love this! I did this sort of thing last year with my 3-year old, choosing parables. I look yours over and see if I want to adapt last years.

Dineen said...

I love this! I did this sort of thing last year with my 3-year old, choosing parables. I look yours over and see if I want to adapt last years.

Anonymous said...

This is fantastic!! Thanks so much for sharing.

Megan said...

FYI....there are "Resurrection Eggs" that you can buy at the Christian bookstore, from FamilyLife. They all relate to the Passion Week and Jesus' death and resurrection. I love your ideas though, to bring in more of the life of Christ! You could do that throughout the year, so what if it's in an egg, the kids love eggs anytime of year!!

Dineen said...

I got last year's Box Of "Jesus Story Eggs" out to go through them to share some of the different things that I put in them.

1. Lamp (old pin from volunteer work) -- we talk about Jesus is the light of the world and we are supposed to spread the light of God too. (A Star would work too, because I connect this to Christmas, the special baby Jesus we celebrated. Well, he grew up to be a special man.)

2. A feather -- I use this to talk about Jesus's baptism and how the Holy Spirit descended from heaven in the form of a dove. We blow the feather up and talk about how spirit "inspires" like breath inside you and keeps you alive, and moving. The talk can also move to the story of God breathing life into Adam. It's pretty free-form with the littles, but it's amazing how much they grasp about God's love and wisdom.

3. Small picture of Jesus and children on his lap. Jesus loves children.

4.heart charm -- Love, Jesus came to teach us about love. Loving one another and loving God.

5. Mustard seeds -- Faith (though there are many parables involving seeds -- this can grow with kids) I think last year, with her interest level we ended up speaking of how with faith we plant seeds and God sprouts them for us.

6. Fish charm (came from an old earrings) we spoke of feeding 5000, but we also spoke of calling the apostles and their being "fishers of men"

7. Sheep -- parable of the 100th sheep, Jesus is the Good Shepherd

8.Strip of cloth for a bandage -- Parable of the Good Samaritan or Jesus healed people (This could be used for raising Lazarus too, if you can't get tearjerker gum too, or you don't want your child to have it).

9. Strip of Palm-type leaf -- entrance to Jerusalem

With some of the things I've put chosen, I think it could be interesting for an adult Sunday school class to be challenged to come up with Scripture that match the objects. There are numerous ways these symbols can be used.

Bev said...

I made a magnetic complete-a-scene picture puzzle designed to teach my children about the events leading up to the resurrection of Jesus. Each day a new symbol is added to the scene that represents an Old Testament prophecy and a New Testament fulfillment which are provided on a scripture reference guide. The 14 day journey is designed to help them see God's plan to bring salvation to the world.

The 14 symbols include: Donkey, Money Bag, Shepherd's Staff, Lamb, Whip, Crown of Thorns, Cross, Nails, Dice, Scroll with Forsaken Cry, Jar of Vinegar and Sponge, Temple Veil, Spear, and Empty Tomb

I made extras and put them in my Etsy shop and you can see it here:

Lindsay said...

I also found this on Pinterest. I'm SO excited to do this with my boys this year:) Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth said...

What a great inspiration. I can not wait to do this with my girls this year! Thank you for taking the time to share.

Simone said...

Wow this is inspired. I found this via pinterest & i'll be sharing this with every mum & Sunday school teacher I know! Thank you so much.

Kira said...

Thanks for these suggestions! I found your post from pinterest. We'll be using this for Easter.

Anonymous said...

I pinned this and blogged about it here -

Jessie said...

Found this on Pinterest and LOVED it! I cannot wait to use this with our toddler. Thank you so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I am going to use some of these for chapel at my preschool....thank you so much for these wonderful ideas!

mommy to many said...

found you through pinterest! i love this idea! and we will be doing it will our 5 kids this year! thank you for putting it out there. do you mind if i share it on my blog? feel free to email me thanks again!

Lisa said...

I too found this on pinterest. :) my kid is older but I still think this will work. Who doesn't love opening an egg and getting a surprise! Thanks for this fantastic idea!

Angie said...

I bought redirection eggs at the store to do with my kids. I make my own for my kids at church here is what I put in mine
1) small piece of soap - read story about how Jesus washed the disciples feet
2) praying hands - we read about how Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane
3) coins - we talk about how Judas betrayed Jesus
4) an army solider - we talk about how the solders came and arrested Jesus
5) purple fabric - we talk about the purple robe they put on Jesus and called him names. I ask them how that would have made Jesus feel and use this as a lesson about how we need to use nice words
6) a piece of leather - we talk about how they whipped Jesus and put a crown of thorns on his head. I usually ask them if they have ever been hit & how that made them feel & ask them how they think it madeJesus feel
7) cross - we talk about how jesus died on the cross for our sins and how they put nails in his hands & feet
8) dice - we talk about how the solders gambled for Jesus clothes
9) white fabric - we talk about how they wrapped Jesus body in linen after they took him off the cross
10) Rock - talk about how they put a stone in front of the tomb & Jesus was in there for 3 days
11) Empy eggt - we talk about how the women came to put perfume on his body but the tomb was empty
12) Cotton ball - this is to represent the clouds when Jesus ascended into heaven

Some other things you could use are
* toy donkey - triumphant entry
* toy cup - last supper
* nail - the nails in Jesus hands & feet

Anonymous said...

I too found this on Pinterest!
I simply love all the ideas on here!
Not only a good idea for Easter but anytime of the year for a youth bible study group!

Tracey M. said...

Just wanted to chime in and say a huge thanks for this countdown to Easter activity! I am sharing this with my mom's group at our church. Love it!!

Susan @ said...

Fantastic post. Thanks for sharing the great ideas. We'll be using some for sure at our house...!

Anonymous said...

My neice and husband have just started working with a country church with no Sunday School. It is a Blessing to find this input for her, as she has a small class of pre-schoolers now! Keep sharing the Word and God Bless You.

Anonymous said...

My son is loving this and reminds/begs me every day to do his devotional egg. I now need more ideas for once Easter is over

Simone said...

I have shared this on my blog too, I just love it. Can't wait to see my childrens faces when they find the empty egg on easter morning :)

Joy said...

I am doing this with some of my children that are younger, and am so grateful for these simple and beautiful ideas. Thank you and Happy Easter to you! God bless!

Brooke said...

This is just awesome. Thanks for sharing really cool and fun ways to share the true story behind Easter with my littles. I have shared a link to this on my blog as well. Thanks again. This is awesome. xo

Renea Gill said...

I have loved using this with my 4 year old this Easter. It's been simple and fun to focus on what Easter really means.

I did make a few substitutes...mostly because I couldn't find some things I wanted to. Also because I'm in Scotland, I could only find tiny plastic eggs and not much fits inside.

I wrapped a box in princess paper, and each day Princess got to open it and look inside to see what treasure there would be. The real treasure is God's word!

So if anyone's interested...Also

For the play dough spelling Jesus name, I found some play dough letter stamps to stamp out the name of Jesus.

For Jesus calming the storm, we made a boat out of paper towel roll and an oatmeal box and then decorated it and made sails from construction paper.

For the crown and soap, we made our crowns out of cereal boxes and decorated them.

On Day 2 Jesus died for us we made a cross sucker from jolly rancher candies....found here

We had the heat to high or 5 minutes was too long to leave it and it turned into a big blob, but the stick still went in and it tasted superbly yummy!

Carrie said...

THANKS so much for this idea! I copied your idea because I loved it SO much, and I'm starting to write about it on my blog! I linked back to your blog, too, of course!

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

This is a neat idea! I have a question though, but ask in advance that you forgive my ignorance... On day 2, the kids find the egg that was buried to be "unearthed and empty" How does this happen on a plastic egg and paper? Is the parent actually the one to make this happen? or am I missing something? Thanks, and again I apologize.

MadeByTammy said...

This is fantastic! Thank you. =)

Lindsay said...

I've been searching forever for something like this! Thank you!

mommy to many said...

we did this last year and the kids LOVED it, I am doing a face book page centered on it. I have let people know that you are the one with the original thought. please feel free to check it you

Amy said...

I hope to use this great resource this year!! Thank you so much!

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chanel said...

Love this! We have enjoyed doing this this year! I used little tissue packs from the dollar store for day 3 instead of the tearjerker gum. Just an idea...I appreciate you sharing your ideas so much!!!