Spring is upon us, and it is a wonderful time to learn and explore the beauty of our world with our children as it becomes warmer and everything begins to bloom.
Easter, especially, is an exciting time for our little ones. They have been waiting to color Easter eggs, go on egg hunts, and receive a visit from the Easter Bunny.
But sometimes in all the commercial hype, we may forget the most important lesson to pass on to our children about this spring holiday.
“I am the Resurrection and the Life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” John 11:25
The Resurrection of our Savior is the foundation of our Christian faith. It is the single most important lesson we will ever teach our children, and one they will use to build their own faith and pass on to their own families.
This can, however, be a very difficult concept for children to grasp, and one that may have parents scratching their heads to try to come up with concrete ways to help little ones understand.
While we cannot exactly “show” our children the Resurrection, there are some fun and creative ways we can help them with this concept that is the tenant of our faith.
Most of our children will talk about the Easter Bunny, or eggs, or the Easter treats they look forward to eating – and this can be a good place to start. We can let them know that these symbols of Easter, although secular, can be applied to our understanding of Jesus.
Baby animals, like bunnies, eggs, and flowers are all signs of new life – the new life we have because Jesus died for us on the Cross. We need not overcomplicate it, especially for very young children, but it is important to teach this concept as early as possible – that we have life, and will have eternal life, with the Son of God.
Little ones will have a hard time understanding that someone would have to go through so much pain and sacrifice, like Jesus did, to do something for others. A great way to explain the depth of this kind of love is to offer your little one a cuddle and explain that the love and need to keep them safe is the same kind of love that Jesus has for us, and why He sacrificed so much for us.
There are many great books and resources online tailored for young children that will give little ones an idea of Jesus’ journey to the Cross. Toddler board books and children’s Bibles can help your child to learn about some of Jesus’ teachings and help them begin to recognize important symbols like the Cross.
It is also important to introduce little ones to some basic terms that they may hear in church, but not yet completely understand.
Explaining the Easter story to children in terms they understand requires clarifying the terms specific to the main points. The definitions should be short and easy to remember. Before proceeding to explain Jesus’ death and Resurrection, make sure the kids understand these basic words:
- Angel: God sends Angels to deliver messages to His people.
- Cross: Two pieces of wood made into a “T” that Jesus was hung on to die.
- Disciple: Jesus’ students who learned from him and shared the good news of Easter
- Savior: A person who protects and save people from danger — Jesus is our Savior.
- Tomb: Where dead people are buried.
The focus with preschoolers and young children should be on love and hope. Jesus loves us so much that he died on the cross for us. By dying and rising again, He saved us from our sins. Emphasize the fact that Jesus’ death and resurrection is not the end, but rather, it’s a new beginning for everybody who believes in God and Jesus Christ.
As the weather warms this Easter, there are several concrete ways to explain the Resurrection to young children by showing them the new life that is emerging all around us.
Butterflies are a great symbol of the Resurrection, and can often be found in your own backyard! In early spring, hunt for caterpillars in your yard and then, later, look for their cocoons on the branches of bushes or trees. A cocoon is a great symbol for the tomb of Jesus, and once a butterfly emerges, you can show your child that the cocoon is empty and that the caterpillar has begun a new life as a beautiful butterfly!
Or, if you have the opportunity to visit a farm, your children can see first-hand how baby chicks and ducks hatch from their eggs, leaving an empty shell behind as they begin their new lives!
And if your child loves to help you in the kitchen, try these fun and easy baking ideas to symbolize the empty tomb left behind when Jesus rose on Easter Sunday:
With refrigerated crescent roll dough and marshmallows, you can create “Resurrection Rolls” for dessert. Simply roll a marshmallow in butter and cinnamon sugar, roll up in the crescent roll dough, and pop into the oven according to package directions.
As the dough bakes, the marshmallow will melt, not only making for a sweet treat, but also for an empty middle when the roll is cut into – a great symbol of the empty tomb and the “sweet” promise of Jesus’ love.
Meringue cookies made with eggs and sugar are another fun treat. Kids can help make the cookies, or they can be store-bought. As these cookies dry out, they form a crisp outer shell and an empty middle!
Teaching our children about the Resurrection does not have to be intimidating for parents. If we begin introducing the lessons of Jesus’ love and sacrifice to them early and in an age-appropriate way, their faith will grow as quickly as they do!
We at Mommy Underground wish you and your family a blessed Easter, full of the promise of new life in the Resurrection of our Savior!
(h/t Mommy Underground)