So for those of you with children wanting to teach about Holy Week, what can you do? Obviously you can read the story from the Bible, but children often need activities to do to help the story come to life. Here are a few suggestions for activities you can do, all of which focus on the individual elements of the story to bring this to life for children.
1. Make a Holy Week banner or wreath (see photos). These would focus on the main elements of the story, so could include palm branches (for Palm Sunday), pictures of bread and wine (for the Last Supper), making a footprint on paper (to symbolise Jesus washing the disciples’ feet), a cross, an empty grave, a crown of thorns contrasting with a crown symbolising Jesus is the King of Kings and so on. Make the pictures based on the things you discuss with your children.
2. Bake your own bread on Maundy Thursday to share the Lord’s Supper together. It’s been quite hard to find yeast in the shops lately, which would add authenticity to this activity, as the Passover had to be celebrated with unleavened bread, symbolising the haste with which the Jews had to flee Israel. A recipe can be found here. (Click on the word ‘here’ in the previous sentence to find the recipe!) As you do this, you can teach about the Passover and about the Last Supper.
3. Make a Holy Week box. This is a little bit like a Nativity set, but telling the events of Holy Week and Easter. A shoe box is ideal for this. You can even use any toys you have to represent the characters or decorate wooden pegs or wooden sticks to make your own people. You can make palm branches to act out the events of Palm Sunday and use paper drawings to act out each event (washing the disciples’ feet, the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the journey to the cross, the crucifixion and so on.) You can either do this to be used each year or you can use things from your garden and real food just to do it for this year (e.g. stones and rocks from gardens, real bread for the Last Supper and so on.) Children often like to ‘act out’ stories.
4. Use Lego to tell the story! For those of you with children who love Lego, how about making a Lego version of the story as you read it? Imagining ourselves into the story is a very powerful way of making it come alive for us. Children have great imaginations, so it’s not hard to use Darth Vader as Herod or Pontius Pilate and other characters from films as the key characters in this story. Did you know there’s a Lego Bible? You can actually read the Easter story told using Lego here.
The pictures below are of the arrest of Jesus and His crucifixion to get your ideas going!
5. Make an Easter garden. If you’re fortunate enough to have a garden, you can probably find all you need to make your own Easter garden. For this, you need:
Grass seeds or moss
A large stone
A piece of small white cloth
A small flower pot
6 sticks to make into 3 crosses
We’d love to see photos if you make any of these things!