Every Christmas, I have an Advent House that we use to count down the days until Christmas. Kids awake each morning to find nuts or treats and a little card that tells us what special activity we are going to do that day. It is so much fun. I feel strongly that since the story that started at Christmas comes to a spectacular and staggering climax at Easter, I want to emphasize this holiday just as much as I emphasize Christmas. With that in mind, I started “The Twelve Days of Easter” two years ago. The first year, we did all kinds of fun crafts. This year, we did fewer crafts, but still managed to get the important parts in. Here’s what we do for the 12 Days of Easter…
On the 12th Day Before Easter…
An Easter Basket was waiting on the kitchen table in the morning. A card read, “12 pieces of chalk to draw and play remind us that Jesus is the way.”
Right before breakfast, when all the kids were awake, I sent them into the living room to find one Easter Egg each. When they brought them to the table they found a leaf, a little donkey (from my nativity set), and a little coat (from K’s Calico Critters). They were told to look for these things while I told the story. I read them the story of the Triumphal Entry (using flannelgraph) while they ate breakfast.
That morning, they took the chalk outside to the patio and had fun drawing princesses and eggs and all sorts of pictures. Later, they each made a countdown chain to hang in their rooms so they could count down the days until Easter. Two years ago, we acted out the story and I’d like to do that again.
On the 11th Day Before Easter…
An Easter basket was waiting on the kitchen table in the morning. A card read, “11 sticks all glowing and bright remind us that Jesus is the light.” They immediately took these glow sticks into their closet. It was amusing to hear them and see them when I peeked my head in the closet- all three stuffed in there, waving their glow sticks around.
We did not have a story this day because we were headed to Wednesday Morning Bible Study and didn’t have time. I would have liked to have the kids paint or make a light catcher for the window, but I didn’t get that far this year. Maybe next year.
On the 10th Day Before Easter…
An Easter basket was waiting on the kitchen table in the morning. A card read, “10 Balloons that float like doves show us He is from above.”
They were again sent into the living room before breakfast to find one egg each. In them, they found coins, feathers, a little sheep (again from the nativity set). They looked for these things in the story of the Cleansing of the Temple I read to them while they ate breakfast.
They were so excited to play with their balloons that morning! What fun we all had!
An Easter basket was waiting on the kitchen table with an Easter Lily plant inside. “Beautiful blossoms, fragrant and white remind us that Jesus is the life.”
In their eggs, they found hair (a little pink braid that you can clip in your hair), a cotton ball of perfume, and a table (from the Calico Critter set- it fit in one of the jumbo sized eggs). They looked for these as they ate their breakfast and listened to the story of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet.
On the 8th Day Before Easter…
Honestly, we did not do anything on this day. We were very busy getting ready for my mom’s arrival and did not manage to do anything but that. However, the plan was to have an Easter basket waiting on the table with a card: “8 packets of wonderful seeds for you to plant in the ground. Jesus is the resurrection. In Him true life is found.”
Next year, I’d like to take this day to do Easter Egg spin art or make a paper mache tomb, or start our garden.
On the 7th Day Before Easter…
This is Palm Sunday, so our basket was presented at dinner time. In it they found 7 baby animal stickers and an Easter egg for each kid with 7 little sweet tarts (baby chicks, bunnies, ducks) inside. “7 baby animals having fun remind us that Jesus is God’s own Son.”
This is the day that we went to the “Journey to the Cross,” hosted by a nearby church (where we attend Awana). We went last year and it was a wonderful experience. It was a beautiful time that Scotty and I got to spend with our children, literally walking and talking them through the truths taught at Easter.
On the 6th Day Before Easter…
They found an Easter basket with little sheep snuggling 6 eggs with treats inside. “Little sheep caring for 6 eggs. ‘I am the Good Shepherd,’ He said.” They were delighted with their treats which they ate at once.
The story this morning was about Jesus washing the disciple’s feet, so the boys each found a washcloth inside the egg they found. K found a little bowl and pitcher (from her Calico Critter set) in hers.
Later that day, I traced their feet and they sponge painted them, as we’ve done for the past two years. Whenever I’m able to track the last feet down, it will be neat to see how they’ve grown.
On the 5th Day Before Easter…
An Easter basket was waiting on the table for them, with a card that read, “5 slices of bread, a tasty treat. ‘I am the bread of life,” said He.” We then used them to make French Toast.
The story this morning was on the last supper, so each child found a cracker in the egg they found.
This wasn’t officially part of our Easter celebration, but we did attend a field trip with our homeschool group- we went to the Compassion International event that a local church was hosting- “Change the Story: The Compassion Experience.” We support a little boy and a little girl through Compassion International and I thought it would be a good experience for my older two children to see what our support does. This was truly an amazing event. It brought tears in my eyes to hear the stories of these children whose lives were changed through the Compassion program. It happened to fit with our day’s theme- Jesus really is the bread of life. Even for children who do not have enough bread.
An Easter basket was waiting for them on the table. “4 clusters of grapes on which to dine remind us that Jesus is the vine.”
We were off to the beach that day (for my mom who has missed the Pacific Ocean), so we didn’t have time for a story, but we did take those grapes to the beach with us! They sure were tasty. Until my kids took the box with them as they played. Then they sure got sandy. Ick.
They found toothbrushes in their Easter basket this morning with a card that read, “Here are 3 brushes to clean your tooths and remind you that Jesus is the truth.” I have never seen my kids brush their teeth more often than they did on this day. I had to go kick them out of the bathroom at one point. Apparently, a Darth Vader or Stormtrooper or Princess toothbrush is quite motivating for small children.
In their eggs this morning, they found a toy soldier, a little bear figure praying, and a little cup (from the Calico Critters). They looked for these things in our story on the Garden of Gethsemane.
On the 2nd Day Before Easter…
They had to find two doors in our house behind which were marshmallow peeps. This is to remind us that Jesus is the door.
Our story today was on Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. I read the story from the Bible, but did not use flannelgraph or have them search for eggs this day as we had to get out that morning to get my mother to the airport. Next year, though, I could use nails, a piece of a sponge, a bowl.
On the Last Day Before Easter…
I read them from the card, “For a splashing good time find a toy out of which water will burst. Jesus is the living water. Whoever finds Him will not thirst.” They searched the living room and found a sprinkler. They did have a great time that afternoon playing in the sprinkler!
We also watched the Veggie Tales movie Easter Carol, decorated eggs and cupcakes on this day and a great time with those activities as well.
On The Day of Easter…
We woke early that morning and went outside to sit under our canopy (it was sprinkling) on a blanket with cups of hot cocoa. We sang songs and read the story of the Resurrection! He is risen!
We went inside to discover our decorated Easter eggs missing! The kids had fun searching for all 12 eggs around our house.
Then we sat down to a truly amazing breakfast of baked French Toast (soaked overnight- wow- it was really more like dessert!), Easter eggs, and strawberries.
We went to church and Princess K laid flowers at the cross on stage and bounced up and down over and over when she spotted us watching her from the pews.
After we got home, they found their hidden Easter baskets and had fun with those as I made our feast. They received in their baskets: socks, a box of fun character bandaids, a lollypop (A princess one for K, Lightning McQueen for the boys), and a slinky. Baby Shortstop received a little hungry caterpillar teether, which he really loves. For our lunch feast, we had ham steaks, baked pineapple, asparagus, and rolls. We talked about Jesus, Easter Sunday and how much fun we had with Grandma T this week.
It was a wonderful holiday!