Yesterday we gathered ourselves together with for simple church, kids’ edition. That is to say, our regular gathering of simple church fo adults now has a corollary for kids, meeting on different days and times, less regularly, with just those of us who have kids under 10.
Last year as Easter approached, I expanded the idea of the “Resurrection Eggs” Easter craft, which exists in a variety of versions. Go on, Google it, you’ll find you can even buy them as a set. But please don’t. Basically the craft idea is that you get a dozen plastic eggs that you can put little trinkets into and an egg carton, and you fill the eggs with items that together tell the Easter story. Then you make a little booklet that tells the story, and the kids can open the eggs as you go through the story together. In my version, I just have a whole pile of these little trinkets, more than twelve, and the kids take the items from the pile in order (more or less) and tell us the story. We did the crafty-version with the eggs yesterday, with a printed story book and everything. Of the many variations of this craft or activity, I think no two have the same list of items, but a relatively common one is an empty 12th egg to signify the empty tomb. Evidently the idea is transferrable to older ages, as one of the group yesterday teaches grade 11 in a christian school, and seriously remarked that he thought he’d use it with his class (albeit with some minor age-specific modification).
For those inclined to attempt this at home (and go right ahead, no professional qualifications are necessary), here’s a list of some ideas and some potential sources:
- perfume or cologne sample (if you start with the anointing at Bethany)
- donkey (from a kid’s farmyard animals set)
- palm branches (snipping up a little tree from a kid’s zoo animal set)
- dimes (as silver pieces)
- basin (from a miniature dollhouse) and snip of cloth
- cup and miniature loaf of bread (miniature wooden cup from a craft store)
- praying hands
- Roman soldier (good luck, rare but minatures are available)
- swords and torches (cocktail “swords” and toothpicks with yellow or red foil on the end, trimmed for length)
- leather strip or 2-3″ of brown shoelace (as whip)
- rooster (farmyard animals set)
- purple cloth and crown of thorns (I fashioned a crown with 14gauge copper wire)
- basin or tiny piece of soap (Pilate washing hands)
- three small finishing nails, miniature hammer (hammer from a minature dollhouse)
- miniature sign
- piece of sponge (perhaps with a few drops of vinegar)
- dice (minature if possible)
- black cloth (temple curtain or darkness)
- spear (toothpick with a bit of tinfoil glued on one end, one point cut off)
- linen cloth (wrapping the body)
- whole cloves or spices
- small rock
- angel (Christmas ornament)
- bunny rabbit (from kid’s animals set)
With a bit of thought, there are actually several additional ideas one could toss in to complete the details of the story. We’ve tossed in the bunny rabbit so that it gets used in such a way that it obviously doesn’t fit the story, usually simply as a leftover item, kind of as a reminder to the kids that this is not really about the Easter bunny. Sourcing some of this is harder than others. Sometimes a discount or “dollar store” will have the little animals and such, and for the miniatures and some of the other items it helps if you have an outstanding toy store in your neck of the woods, like Winnipeg’s Toad Hall Toys. On the other hand, I paid about $3.25 each for a basin and a wee little hammer. If you go with the whole plastic egg thing, you can double up some of the items to make the numbers work out if you need to.
I’m amazed how well our kids took to this last year, and how eager they were to get out the set this year — we have a few items to add to it as they add more detail into their telling of the story. As we usually don’t use the numbered eggs for the telling of the story, sometimes I have to assist with a bit of the chronology, but they really latch onto the whole thing, internalizing the story and telling it mostly in their own words. Noting the importance of story, I’m very pleased with how they’re learning to tell an important story instead of just memorizing a couple of important verses about it.