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Stone Surprise

Let your kids discover the surprise of the empty tomb on Easter morning with these plaster rocks.

You'll need tissue paper, aluminum foil, plaster of Paris, paint, and paintbrushes. You'll also need a small plastic butterfly to hide inside the rock.

Wrap the butterfly in tissue paper, then wrap aluminum foil tightly around the covered butterfly. Mix plaster of Paris according to package instructions. Roll the foil packet in the plaster of Paris mixture until it's completely covered. Then place it on wax paper to dry. Once it's dry, paint it to make the rock look realistic.

On Easter morning let your child crack open the rock to reveal the butterfly toy. Remind your child about the new life we have because Jesus rose from the dead on Easter morning.

 

Prayer Eggs

During Easter week, use a basket of prayer eggs to encourage your family to spend time together in prayer.

Place slips of paper with prayer topics inside plastic eggs. Make enough eggs for each family member to open one per day during the week leading up to Easter. Include praise and gratitude and prayers for family members, your church, and the community. Open the prayer eggs at meals or bed time and pray as a family for the opened requests. Place special prayer eggs in the basket on Easter morning to celebrate Jesus' resurrection.

Funny Bunny

Spring is a reminder of new life -- fun things such as baby birds and bunnies abound this time of year. Help your child make a funny bunny out of an old sock.

1. Turn a white tube sock inside out and cut down the middle of the sock from the toe to two inches before the heel.

2. Demonstrate how to do a simple needle-and-thread sewing stitch and help your child sew the cut portions of the sock to create bunny ears.

3. Turn the sock right side out. Sew buttons for eyes on the heel portion of the sock, just below the ears.

4. Sew or glue a small pompom for a nose.

Make bunnies for your entire family and put on a sock puppet show about Easter.

RoseAnne Sather

Greeley, Colorado

Picture This

Young children often have to be away from their parents during the day. Ease your time apart by asking your child to tell about his or her day in pictures.

Ask your child to draw a picture of something he or she did or the best part of the day. Then ask your child to show you the picture at the end of the day. Try to guess what the picture is about, then let your child reveal the picture's story and talk about the day.

Hugs While You're Away

Many parents travel for business, and kids may have a hard time understanding how long it'll be until Mom or Dad returns home. The next time you travel, fill a jar with Hershey's Hugs candies -- one for each day you'll be away. Tell your child to get one "hug" each day while you're away, and when the jar is empty, you'll be home to give your child a hug in person.

Noteworthy

Surprise notes tucked in lunch boxes and school cubbies let your child know you're thinking about him or her during the day. Use these fun note ideas to connect with your child while you're apart.

• Secret Code -- Write a note in code with an attached key or a picture message such as:

(I love you).

• Interactive-Leave a note acknowledging how busy life is for your family. Then ask your child to choose from a list of options how he or she would like to spend time with you at the end of the day.

• Encouragement and Gratitude-Let your child know you're aware of what's going on in his or her life with a note highlighting something specific. Say, "I know you studied hard for today's math test. Good job!" or "Thanks for feeding the dog this morning. You really saved me time and I appreciate it!"

KidQuote: When asked how he liked the three-hour Passion play, Richard, 4, replied, "It was just like my Bible but it was way longer!"

-Jeannine Ward

West Des Moines, Iowa

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