The best thing I read recently about teaching young kids the true meaning of Easter is this: Similar to a fairytale, the Easter story has a wonderful beginning, a scary middle, and a happy ending.
When talking about Easter, it’s impossible to remove the death of Jesus on Good Friday. Without the death, there would not be a resurrection on Sunday, or Easter at all. However, since death is a critical part of the Easter story, you may find yourself feeling unsure of how to share the true meaning of Easter with your young kids. I’ve put together a few of my own suggestions based on how we’ve broached the subject of Jesus’s death and resurrection with our 2 and 4 year olds.
1. Read age appropriate books about Easter. We like the Jesus Storybook Bible and the Easter Story Egg (bonus points – this comes with wooden nesting eggs to play with), and the Beginner’s Bible.
2. Keep it simple. You don’t need to go into gruesome detail but you can limit what you share. Don’t skip parts and let your kids ask questions.
3. Remember the basics. Our sin separates us from God. God sent Jesus to take our sins away. He lived a perfect life but had to take the punishment of our sins so that we can be with God again. You can keep it this basic when you’re first teaching the story. This is not the whole story but it’s a foundation you can build on when you feel like you want to share more.
4. Go to church and let the Sunday School teachers help you out! This sounds like a cop-out, but you could also think of it as leveraging your resources. They likely have prepared age-appropriate lessons for kids to discuss Easter.
5. Prepare activities that help make the story come to life. Resurrection rolls (see my previous Reel about how to do this), Resurrection eggs (search Pinterest for toddler friendly suggestions), and the Easter Story Eggs (mentioned above) are some good ways to tell the whole Easter story in a fun, hands-on way.
Remember: parts of the Easter story are hard and sad. You can’t take that away. Without the pain and death, there would be no resurrection or forgiveness of our sins. It’s ok for your kids to experience the sadness but focus on the love and joy that comes out of the sadness. And most importantly, celebrate the love Jesus has for us.
Do you have any other resources you use with your kids? I’d love to hear!