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I want Easter to be a really big deal around here. Since we’re Christians, Easter is (or should be) our biggest holiday, and I want our family to really anticipate Easter together. In fact, every time we hang up our Advent calendar, I think to myself that I should do something similar for Lent (the time leading up to Easter), complete with daily Easter activities, just like we do for Christmas.
Now, this wades into some sort of tricky waters-I want our Easter preparations to reflect the more serious nature of the holiday. But I still want Easter to be the biggest celebration ever. And, more importantly, since Easter is all about grace, I don’t want to confuse Burke and Piper Jane by making all of our Easter activities ‘do nice things for others’ because the most important concept of the entire holiday is that we can’t ever be ‘good’ or ‘nice’ without Jesus’s sacrifice anyway. Tricky.
So this is what we’re doing this year- we made an Easter countdown, complete with activities (I strung baker’s twine through the holes already in the top of 20 plastic Easter eggs, numbered them with stickers, filled each one with a treat and an activity, and hung them on our metallic window).
It is festive, and includes ‘celebration-y’ treats like ‘watch Veggie Tales Easter movie’ and ‘open your Easter baskets.’ Honestly, Burke and Pi are beyond excited just to have the countdown of brightly colored eggs, which achieves part of my ‘make Easter a big deal’ hopes.
And then, the kids and I came up with some other activities as well. I asked them to think of ways we can thank God for everything He’s done for us and they came up with really great ideas. Some of it feels ‘be nice to people’-ish, but I am hoping that our conversations about grace can offset the just-work-hard-and-be-good mindset.
This is our final list (like I said, it is Burke and Piper-made, so some of the suggestions are funny-and-cute)-
-Watch the Veggie Tales Easter special.
-Make something for someone as a surprise.
-Make something for old people.
-Give a homeless person a snack.
-Give a homeless person real food, like a hamburger or one of our Saturday morning donuts.
-Have an Easter egg hunt.
-Have an Easter treat.
-Meet our neighbors across the street.
-Help someone who needs it (Burke added, “That’s called compassion, mom.” That kid cracks me up.)
-Give a toy to a kid who needs it.
-Meet some more neighbors.
-Dye Easter eggs.
-Make a special Easter dinner.
-Do something nice for a friend.
-Read the Good Friday story in the Jesus Storybook Bible.
-Read the Easter story in the Jesus Storybook Bible.
-Open our Easter baskets!
That’s only 18 things… we did a couple of them (‘share’ and ‘do something nice’) twice.
ps- If I do this again next year, I might make our countdown last for all of Lent. I didn’t have my act together this year, so we’re just counting down the twenty days before Easter. Better late than never…
Wow, I love your ideas and your commitment to teach grace, not just being nice! I hope when I have kids (well, and now! But especially when I am teaching little ones 🙂 ), that I am also able to make a big deal out of Easter and teach them about GRACE and what Jesus accomplished for us on that day. Thanks for sharing!
Rachel, what an encouraging comment- made my morning, thanks. 🙂
Great idea, I was planning something similar for lent but time gets away too quick! And just because we are vegetales fans here too…. “Up with bunnies,up,up,with bunnies,up,up,up….!”
“We don’t even have a baptismal, OR a youth pastor!?” Haha. Happy Easter!
Haha, I love the bunny veggietales too! We watch it all year, actually, but this seems like a great excuse to bust it out, right? 🙂
Leigh Anne says
That’s a great idea and I especially appreciate your focus on grace and Jesus! I want my kids to love Easter too but not for the bunny or the candy ;). Your ideas help a lot! And that compassion part from Burke….. Well that’s just so sweet 😉
Leigh Anne, I am right there with you, knowing we only have a limited amount that they soak in and wanting to focus on the most important things. 🙂 And you’re right, Burke is sweet (sometimes- ha!). 🙂
I love this idea! I’ve pinned it 🙂
I’d love for you to come join my linky party going on right now at smallfineprint.com
Thanks Mandy (for the invite and the pin!). 🙂
This is awesome!!!!
Thanks Leslie! 🙂 So fun to see your name on here… I feel like I’m at your blog every couple months for different recipes of yours that I know and love (red velvet whoopie pies, anyone?). 🙂
The witness says
It gladdens my heart to know that you are trying to inculcate a sense of God’s infinite mercy in your kids.The Lord is extremely forgiving and always merciful.And there is none like unto Him.So if Jesus ( May the Lord’s blessings be on him) walked the earth like a man , ate and drank like a man , then he cannot be the Lord, for he was a man like any other man. Oh, he was a great man , beloved of the Lord , a messenger just like messengers before him , sent down by the merciful Lord to guide mankind.He was a messenger like Abraham and Noah and Joseph and Jonas and Moses and David and Solomon before him.Oh yes , his was a miraculous birth , but so was Adam’s birth , who was created without both father and mother. The Lord said be and Jesus was – a true sign to people of the infinite power of the Creator. Jesus spoke from the cradle but never did he call on people to worship him. Worship the Lord , for He alone is worthy of worship. May the Lord guide you and your family.
this is so perfect! i was just telling matt a few weeks ago how i wanted to celebrate the coming of Easter like we do Christmas/Advent but i wasn’t sure how to do that – i ended up downloading ann voskamp’s Easter study but it’s tailored more for older kids/adults – your idea is great for the kiddos!! i’ll definitely be putting one of these together tomorrow (while we’re “snowed in” perhaps??) 🙂
angie, great minds must think alike- I was looking at ann voskamp’s too (can’t wait to do it with them when they’re a little older- it looks awesome!). 🙂 this was our ‘until we get there’ option- haha. 🙂
Great idea, Kirsten. We don’t have an Easter countdown, but we have a set of Resurrection eggs. Have you seen them? You do it the 12 days leading up to Easter and each egg contains something symbolizing a part of the Easter story and a Scripture to go with it. I hear you on trying not to confuse the kids with the “try harder” or “be nice to people” thing. We ARE supposed to be kind, but not to earn God’s favor or love. Such a hard balance to strike, even for me as an adult!
I just realized I spelled your name wrong. Sorry, friend. That is one of my biggest pet peeves…
I love the resurrection eggs, Nicole! And I totally hear you on balancing ‘trying to be good’ and ‘worship in response to God’s goodness.’ Burke has explained our countdown to a couple of people and it is hit or miss whether he includes that our ‘nice’ actions are just us saying thanks to God. However, just making the calendar has brought up some really terrific conversations with Burke, which is half of the goal. 🙂
Thanks for the resurrection egg reminder- I’ll have to get/find a set. 🙂
ps- No problem on the name. It’s so common that I don’t even notice anymore- haha. 🙂
I couldn’t be more thrilled to echo your sentiments on Easter AND to copy shamelessly all of your activities. Easter really should be as big a deal as Christmas because it’s the “happily ever after” ending for Christmas. Thanks for a well-thought out approach and fun activities!
Beth, I love this. My activities around here are mostly other people’s ideas as well… why reinvent the wheel when someone else is already doing something that resonates, right?
Loving keeping in touch with you through your blog, by the way. You have the best writer’s voice, and since our kids are similar ages, it is fun to see my life in your writing. I love the internet for things like this. 🙂
this is so cute, such a great idea kirstin!
I think this is awesome! I love how you strung the eggs up. Way to teach your children the true meaning of Easter and how important it is in the history of humankind! 🙂
Thanks Delia! 🙂
Hey Kristin, I love this idea! I am always trying to talk to Jayce about why Easter is important, and admittedly, 3 year old J got “andthenJesusdied but then he was ALIVE again!” version. 4 year old J is going to have to get a little more of the real deal. Anyway, love the countdown, and I laughed at the different “meet the neighbors” suggestions. Not at you, but with you. Why is that so hard sometimes? We’re in the same boat, maybe we’ll get on that.
It’s interesting to try to figure this stuff out year by year, right? Esp since it keeps changing.
And we have been disasterous as neighbors… but at least we’re going to rectify the situation with two neighbors this month- haha. 🙂
Happy weekend to you too friend!
I love the egg countdown! It’s such a great idea! I think having the munchkins come up with ideas will only add to their memories. 🙂
We are doing a food drive at my son’s kindergarten, so we talk a lot about how God has given us so much and now we can give to others. Maybe you can remind them that the kind acts are because of God’s kindness?
Burke’s line about compassion totally cracks me up! he’s getting so tall! 🙁
Aww, what a wonderful idea!! Thank you so much for sharing. I would love to do something like this with my family. + How did you punch the holes in the top of the egg? Thanks so much!!
Hey Robyn- the eggs had holes in the tops. Convenient, right?
Leslie Ann Jones says
This is such a great idea! Thank you so much for sharing. I’m constantly looking for ways to teach my children about Easter, and the resurrection and point them toward Jesus and his ways. When they get a bit older, we’ll definitely be incorporating this into our traditions.
I love this idea so much that I included it in a roundup of 7 Simple Activities to Teach Kids About Easter. You can read it here: http://leslieannjones.com/blog/2014/04/08/7-ways-to-teach-kids-about-easter/
Thanks again for sharing!
Leslie Ann, thanks for the feature! I am totally with you- trying to always point back to the cross. It’s tricky, but worth muddling through, right? 🙂
Leslie Ann Jones says
Totally worth it, Kirstin 🙂
Smelling Coffee says
This is WONDERFUL! I am planning on linking a post to this post within the next week. I agree with your desire to make Easter all about Jesus and grace. Resurrection blessings to you~
Jennifer, resurrection blessings to you too! 🙂
I have a blog that tells all about our Easter Countdown, and I’ve shared all of my ideas there. We did this last year for the first time, and LOVED it! I have a 13 year old daughter and a 7 year old son, so I have tried to make it appeal to both of them! https://aleasalbums.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/a-countdown-to-easter/img_9106/
I love this Alea!