A dozen new ideas that'll capture everyone's
attention for Jesus--the real center of Easter.
"Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went
up on a mountainside and sat down. Great crowds came to him,
bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many
others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people
were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made
well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the
God of Israel"-Matthew 15:29-31.
So much of Jesus' earthly ministry was at the Sea of Galilee. It
was near this very sea that Jesus healed people, fed the
multitudes, preached to the masses, and called and trained the
disciples. Jesus chose the natural places where people of that time
gathered to interact with and minister to them. And he chose the
common, everyday things of their world to reveal who he was to them
-- God made flesh!
In this special Easter section, you'll find 12 new ideas that also
use everyday things to reveal Christ to the children God has called
you to disciple. Many of these ideas will make everyone in your
church want to "come and see" who this Jesus is.
Just as the sun rises every day over the Sea of Galilee, may the
Son rise in ever-increasing glory and power in the lives of your
volunteers, your children, and their families!
HEAVENLY ICE CREAM SOCIAL
For a volunteer appreciation dessert, we decorated our gym to look
like heaven. We set a large throne in front of a glitter rainbow
painted on a white flat sheet, and we set up tables like streets of
gold using rolls of gold tablecloths and gold balloons. We
decorated the walls with silver plastic tablecloths. We hung
clusters of white balloons from the ceiling and made pearly gates
from white balloons. We decorated all the tables with white
Our children's ministry staff dressed as angels and scooped ice
cream. Then our guests made sundaes. This was a great way to say
thank you and remind volunteers that their real reward is in
Greensboro, North Carolina
For this craft, you'll need red plastic film, scissors, a red
pencil, a lead pencil, and white paper.
Tell children to:
• Cut the film into the shape of a cross.
• On white paper, write the word "sin" with the red pencil. Then
write "forgiveness" in lead pencil. Make sure the words fit within
the borders of the cross.
• Cover "forgiveness" with red pencil dots or scribbles so the word
can't be easily read.
• Slide the red film over the paper and watch the "sin" disappear
and "forgiveness" shine through.
Explain to children how Jesus died to take our sin away and replace
it with God's forgiveness.
Transform your Palm Sunday parade with this idea.
Have children cut out two sets of their handprints on green
construction paper. Then have them write their grade on the thumb
of each hand.
On the first Sunday of March, pass out these "palms" to everyone in
your adult worship service. Have people write on each palm a name
or cause they'd like prayed for.
Collect the palms and distribute them to the children in the
appropriate grades. Then have children pray for these
Collect the palm prayers the week before Palm Sunday. Tape them to
thin dowel rod "branches."
On Palm Sunday, have children carry these palms as part of your
procession. They can place the palms in tall vases on either side
of the altar before they sit with their families.
This project will work best with older kids.
For this craft, you'll need scissors, green and white 1½ inch
wire-edged ribbon, and green and white floral wrapping tape. These
are available from craft stores.
Before class, cut the ribbon into 8-inch lengths. Cut one end of
each strip into a point so it looks like the shape of a ski.
Tell children to:
• Take six white strips (petals) and six green strips
• Beginning with three white strips, hold the pointed tips
• Hold the bottom halves together as you arrange the three petals
to point in different directions-in the 12 o'clock, 4 o'clock, and
8 o'clock positions. Then scrunch the bottom halves together in
your fist to form a stem. Wrap the stem with white floral wrapping
tape. Shape the petals by curling them outward and down with your
• Add the next three white strips to the stem of the previous
petals, arranging the new petals to alternate with the previous
petals-in the 2 o'clock, 6 o'clock, and 10 o'clock positions.
Scrunch the bottom halves to the stem. Wrap the stem with white
floral wrapping tape. Shape the petals by curling them outward and
down with your fingers.
• Take three green strips. Add each strip to the stem of the
petals, arranging the three leaves to point in different
directions. Bend the leaves outward, and wrap the stem with green
floral wrapping tape.
• Repeat this process with the three remaining leaves. Wrap the
stem tightly with green floral wrapping tape all the way to the end
of the ribbons.
BELIEVE IN GOD BULLETIN BOARD
We created a springtime bulletin board during our adult worship
service to bring children and adults together. Prior to our
service, we created the bulletin board background and titled it
"Jesus Brings New Life." We also cut out construction paper parts
for flowers and butterflies, such as wings, petals, and leaves. We
cut out one part for each person and inserted these construction
paper parts into our church bulletins.
At the beginning of our service, we had people anonymously complete
the sentence "I believe in God because..." on the construction
paper parts. We played soft music as they placed their pieces in
the offering plate. Once we collected the parts, we arranged them
on the bulletin board. While the answers all ranged in complexity,
the congregational faith statements pleased all who stopped to read
New Providence, New Jersey
EASTER ALL YEAR
Holy Week is packed full of special events that are vital for
children's spiritual growth. Sometimes, however, these events run
together with so much information to squeeze into too little Sunday
school time. So while setting your annual calendar of events, why
not plan to celebrate Easter once every two months?
Use down time when everyone could use a lift to throw a full-blown
Easter Celebration-complete with an Easter egg hunt, jelly bean
poems, and special skits. Send postcards so everyone can join the
celebration. Be creative with your special ideas.
Children need to understand the Easter story and share it with
others, so have children invite their friends to an Easter
celebration in June. When Easter rolls around the following year,
the children will better understand the complete and beautiful
story from Palm Sunday to Easter resurrection.
Salem, New Jersey
We had a Reverse It night in KIDS church one evening to help
illustrate that Jesus' resurrection turns everything around for
people who believe.
We did everything in reverse, beginning with our closing prayer and
altar time and ending with our upbeat songs that are usually at the
beginning. The children wore their clothes backwards.
It was amazing how this simple idea gave a new energy to our
service. Also, by having our prayer time at the beginning, we were
able to spend more time praying without feeling rushed. What a
beautiful way to begin a service. And we ended with a bang! This
was an easy way to add variety to a service without a lot of extra
time and money.
Try it. You'll see how simply going backward will move your service
forward toward understanding Easter better.
Siloam Springs, Arkansas
At Easter, I create an authentic-looking treasure map. Then I send
children outside with the map to find all the treasures I've hidden
for them. I use items from the Easter story, such as spikes like
those that were nailed in Jesus' hands and feet, real donkey fur,
and a cup from Passover. I try to make it as real as possible. Then
after all the treasures are found, we read Benjamin's Treasure Box:
A Resurrection Story by Melody Carlson (Zondervan) about the Easter
story. This is a great way to remind children of how real Easter is
and what Jesus did for them. The best thing is, though, that kids
Battle Ground, Washington
Tips on making a treasure map:
You'll need ½ cup of cold coffee or tea, a sheet of white paper, a
bowl, a hand-held hair dryer, colored pencils, and a little
First rip off all the outside edges of a white sheet of paper. Then
crumple the paper into a tight ball. Place the ball of paper in a
bowl, and pour coffee or tea over the paper. Let sit for about two
minutes to give it color. Squeeze the excess liquid from the ball
of paper; then carefully flatten out the paper on a table or
countertop. Blow-dry with a hand-held dryer. When the paper is dry,
draw your treasure map with colored pencils.
You'll need an even number of large pre-cut paper fish shapes (at
least one per child), a stapler, tissue paper, markers,
construction paper, glue, sticker name tags, yarn, and various
You'll also need these portions of the Easter story printed on
paper: Jesus' Arrest (Luke 22:47-54); Jesus before Pilate (Luke
23:1-7); Jesus before Herod (Luke 23:8-25); Simon bears the cross
(Luke 23:26-32); the Crucifixion (Luke 23:33-49); Jesus' burial
(Luke 23:50-56); the Resurrection (Luke 24:1-12); the road to
Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35); and the Ascension (Luke 24:50-53).
Have kids work with a partner. This can be another child or even a
Tell children to:
• Staple both sides of your fish together and leave an opening to
stuff the fish with tissue paper.
• Read your Bible passage and decide how you can decorate your fish
to illustrate this part of Easter.
• Use different kinds of craft materials to decorate your
• Sign the name tag and stick it on your fish so we'll know who did
your great artwork.
Afterward, hang the fish with yarn from your classroom ceiling for
everyone to enjoy.
ROSE OF SHARON PARTY
• Theme: Sacrifice
• Preparation: You'll need the book The Little Rose of Sharon by
Nancy Gurley (Chariot Victor Publications), one fresh rose, clear
Con-Tact paper, and card stock cut into bookmark shapes.
• The Message: (Read the book to the children. Then have everyone
sit in a circle. Pass the rose around and have each person remove
one rose petal. Keep passing the rose around until all the petals
are gone. What's left will be the stem with the leaves making the
shape of a star.)
To sacrifice means to give up something. When we make sacrifices
for God, whether they're big or small, such as being nice to a
little brother or sister or picking up trash, we shine like
God sacrificed his only son for us. What sacrifices have you made
for God? What have you given up? (Kids may say watching television,
sleeping in on Sunday mornings, or giving their money.)
(After this devotion, kids can make bookmarks with the rose petals
and use clear Con-Tact paper to laminate the bookmarks. Or kids
could deliver roses to shut-ins from your church as an act of
sacrificing their time.)
Rock Hill, South Carolina
AN EASTER STORY
• The Scene: Three children with a Bible discussing the true
meaning of Easter.
• The Characters: Three children, the Easter Bunny, the Teacher,
Jesus on a stick pony, two children with palm branches, Jesus
carrying a large cross, a Roman soldier with a "whip," and a child
(Easter Bunny enters stage.)
Easter Bunny: Hey! It's me! Happy Easter!
Child 1: Yeah, whatever. (Continues talking to the others.)
Easter Bunny: (Jumps around excitedly to get their attention
again.) Hey! Hey! It's me! Aren't you excited?
Child 2: (sarcastically) Oh...yeah...sure. We're real
Easter Bunny: (Walks over and listens in on the conversation to see
what's going on for a few moments before speaking.) What are you
guys talking about anyway?
Child 3: We're talking about Easter!
Easter Bunny: Yeah! That's what I've been trying to tell you! I'm
all about Easter-and I'm here! (All the children laugh; the Easter
bunny looks confused.)
Easter Bunny: Why aren't you guys excited to see me?
Child 1: Oh! It's not that we're not excited to see you. Of course
we're excited to see you. It's just that you're not really what
Easter is all about.
Easter Bunny: (perplexed) I'm not?
Child 2: No! You're not! And that's what we were just talking
Child 3: (Shows the Easter Bunny an open Bible.) It's all right
here! And we were just reading about how the disciples got the
greatest surprise ever on that first Easter morning.
Easter Bunny: (excitedly) Let me guess! Let me guess! (Stops to
ponder.) I know! I know! A super-sized, giant, extravagant Easter
basket that's this high (holds hand up) and filled with all kinds
(Looks at kids and realizes he's way off.) No?
All Children: No!
Child 1: There's so much more!
Child 2: Now don't get us wrong...we like candy. It's just that if
that's all Easter is about, it's a pretty empty holiday.
Easter Bunny: If it's not about me and it's not about candy, then
Child 3: Exactly!
Child 2: And that's what Easter is all about!
Child 3: Easter is about Jesus rising from the dead! (Easter Bunny
looks surprised but intrigued.)
Child 3: And Jesus came to earth to "seek and save the lost."
Child 2: (Puts his arm around the Easter Bunny.) Let's go talk
about this some more while our teacher tells all these kids more
about the real meaning of Easter.
(Everyone exits the stage. Afterward, the Teacher tells children
about the biblical account of Easter. As each scene is mentioned,
characters pantomime the scene.)
Teacher: (Enters the stage. As the Teacher talks, two children
enter the stage and wave palm branches. They're followed by a child
dressed as Jesus and riding a stick pony.) It was really
incredible! On Palm Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a
donkey. Everyone went crazy, praising Jesus and waving palm
branches to honor him.
Teacher: (As the Teacher talks, two children enter the stage. One
is dressed as Jesus and carries the cross on his back. The other is
dressed as a Roman soldier and pretends to whip Jesus.) The
soldiers beat Jesus and put a crown of thorns on his head. The
soldiers made Jesus carry his cross to the place where he would
Teacher: (As the Teacher talks, the soldier mocks Jesus and
pretends to nail him to the cross. Jesus "dies.") Jesus hung on the
cross while the soldiers mocked him. Finally, he died on the cross
and was taken down to be buried.
Teacher: (As the Teacher talks, a child dressed in a robe enters
and lays Jesus on the floor. When the teacher says that he arose,
Jesus jumps up.) But that's not the end of the story! They buried
Jesus in a tomb, and three days later he arose! He came back to
life! (Everyone cheers!)