The five day mini series exploring holy week is one of my favourite traditions and I’ve loved introducing it to my toddler. However, many of the activities are not so toddler friendly so last year I went exploring practical alternatives. I kept with the same format, each day a small activity is linked to an event from the days leading up to Easter. Generally speaking, the days get more involved as you go.
As before, the days all have individual cards but these are modified for younger ears. Print them out (click on the image to get to the printout) and hang them up either as a ladder or string to show each day passing. The daily activity can take as little as 5 minutes but could easily be built upon if needed.
Today we look at the story of Jesus entering the temple.
Jesus went to his father house, God’s house, the temple. People were excited to see Jesus but he was angry to see the people playing with money in the special building. The temple should be a place for meeting with God, not a place to have a market and get rich selling things. Jesus got so angry turned over the tables. Jesus wanted to clean out and tidy up the building to keep it special.
Today we want to count coins. If you can make a special money pouch (LINK) and have your child count the coins in and out of the bag. Pile up coins to see how high you can make your tower. Throw some coins on the floor, is that naughty? Hunt for all the coins and gather them up to put them away.
IMAGE: child’s age 18 months.
Today we look at the story of the 10 bridesmaids
Jesus was telling his disciples stories and today we remeber one special one. It’s about 10 girls had oil lamps to take to a party. 5 girls were wise, they had brought extra oil, but 5 were silly didn’t. They all night the oil burned down and down. The 5 silly girls had to leave to get some more oil and missed the party. Jesus doesn’t want us to miss the party.
Today we want to light candles. Grab some play-dough and make a big tear shape, flatten it and push in an electric tealight. (if you have no electric tealights then use usual tealights but monitor closely). Have your child decorate the oil-lamp by pushing on extra play-dough or making marks. At the end light the candle and leave burning as long as it is safe to do so. When it gets dark light more candles around the house.
Today we look at the story of the woman with the alabaster jar.
Jesus and his friends were sitting in a house when a lady came in with a beautiful jar of perfume. She walked over to Jesus and poured all the perfume over his head. Everyone in the room could smell the beautiful aroma. The disciples were shocked but Jesus was smiling. Jesus knew that she had shown him great love by giving his something so precious.
Today we will can either make our own precious jars to store things in or explore the smell of perfumes. Dip an empty jar in watered down glue and let the child stick pieces of tissue paper or sequins onto it. Alternatively do the big kid activity with scented buttonholes (pictured).
Today we look at the story of the last supper
It was special day for Jesus and his friends, it was the day they remembered God saving his people, when they had escaped being slaves. Everybody sat down for the special meal of roast meat and flat bread. Bread takes a long time to make but this bread was made in a rush, super quick. Jesus did something new this year, he took this bread and broke it, he told his friends to remember him when they broke the bread.
Today we will eat flat bread. You can buy some or make your own. We choose to roast a piece of meat and some vegetables with our flat bread. We use this simple recipe – combine 2 cups of plain flour, 3/4 cup water, 1 tbsp oil and a pinch of salt. Kneed it all well then let it rest for 10 minutes. Divide into 8 balls then roll each paper thin and cook in a dry flat bottomed pan for a few minutes each side.
Today we look at the story of the crucifiction
Some of the people who didn’t like Jesus found him and took him away. Today we remember the Friday they took him to important men, they told lies, they paid the crowd to shout nasty things, they arranged for Jesus to die. Jesus died on a wooden cross, lots of churches have crosses, have you seen one? But death was not the end of Jesus’s story. On Sunday morning Jesus would come back, even death could not beat him.
Today we will consider the cross and prepare for Sunday. A traditional Good Friday food is the hot cross bun – a spiced bread with fruit inside and a cross atop. We make our own from recipes sourced online but bought would work too. The crosses we see everywhere are there to remind us of Jesus.
What Next : Once we have eaten we can start decorating the house for Easter, unlike the disciples we know Jesus is coming back so rather than mourning and darkness make this next 2 days about preparing for the celebration. Give your child craft foam shapes and a tray of water, dip the foam in and it sticks to smooth surfaces like windows as well as itself. Craft foam people can be used to make scenes or simple crosses and eggs are easy to cut.
IMAGE: child’s age 20 months.
Click on the foot for the daily bigger kids activity: most are simple enough to do with younger children.