I struggled with how to get the point of Easter across to our kids this year — well, at least to Button. I know she’s smart enough to get it – the whole Jesus is God, Jesus died for us, Jesus came back to life message. She’s taught me profound spiritual truths, so I know she can comprehend them. But how do I explain them in a way that is accessible to a 3-year-old?
Here’s what we’re doing, and it’s been working really well. And it’s fun!
We are reading the Easter story (starting with Jesus entry into Jerusalem on “Palm Sunday”) out of the kids’ Bible — lots of pictures and short summations. With each component read, we do what we can to re-enact it through play.
At the outset, we used play-doh to make the tomb, the stone, and three crosses (all for later). I set the tomb in a prominent location in the kitchen, to keep it always on the kids’ minds (by the way, the play-doh has since dried out, making it feel like real rock even though it’s green).
Then we made Jesus, a donkey, and palm branches out of pipe cleaners, and we made “cloaks” out of paper napkins. After we read the story of Jesus entering Jerusalem, we acted it out with Jesus, the donkey, the cloaks, and the palm branches. We all held branches and shouted as loud as we could, “HOSANNA! HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST!!!” The kids really got into it. Cutie Pie was even bouncing up and down as he was shouting something similar to “Hosanna.”
For the Last Supper, we made Judas out of pipe cleaner (Button chose to make him pink, but I was trying to convince her to make him yellow because he was a yella-bellied-coward). And we re-enacted communion using a slice of bread and juice. Cutie Pie really got distracted by the juice… I “quizzed” Button on the details of the story the rest of the night, and by the next morning she had them memorized:
How many disciples did Jesus have: 12.
What was the name of the dinner they had: The Vassober. : D
What did Jesus give them to eat at dinner: Bread. And juice. Oh – wine!
What did the bread represent? Jesus’ body.
What did the wine represent? Um, Jesus’ blood!
Who betrayed Jesus? Judas! (She’s excited about this name because it sounds like the name of her friend’s puppy, Judah).
Was Judas good or evil? He was eagle. : D
Was Jesus good or evil? He was good. Mama, is Jesus in the cave yet?
No, not yet. We’re not at that point in the story yet. Does Jesus die, Button?
And where will he go when he dies?
In the cave. (The play-doh tomb).
I can’t wait to see how she reacts Easter morning when Jesus is outside the tomb!