With spring just around the corner, now is the time to start making plans for special time with the kids. Here are 3 great activities that celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ and teach important biblical concepts in fun, creative, and inspirational ways.
Activity #1: Make Resurrection Cookies
This recipe encourages the use of all of the senses as it teaches children about Christ’s death and resurrection. It is a recipe that I have used the evening before Easter that has become a tradition in our household. It is a recipe that was originally shared via the Teacher’s Network in 2000.
Recipe for Resurrection Cookies:
1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
A pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
A wooden spoon
A Ziploc bag
Scotch Tape (have a strip for each child)
Step 1: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Note: It is very important that you do this first before you proceed with the recipe as the temperature needs to come to the precise temperature for the recipe to work properly.
Step 2: Place the pecans in a plastic Ziploc bag and have your kids beat the pecans with a wooden spoon to break them into small pieces. As they beat the pecans, explain that after Jesus was arrested, he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3 together.
Step 3: To a mixing bowl, add the teaspoon of vinegar. Pass the bowl around to let the children smell it. Explain to them that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, they gave vinegar for him to drink. Read John 19:28-30 together.
Step 4: Add the egg whites to the vinegar in the mixing bowl. Eggs are a representation of life, hence the reason they are used in spring as part of the Easter Egg Hunt ritual. Explain that Jesus gave His life so that we would have life. Read John 10:10-11 together.
Step 5: Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste some of it, then have them brush the rest of it into the bowl. Explain that the salt represents the salty tears that Jesus’ followers shed, as well as the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27 together.
Step 6: To this point, the ingredients have not been very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar to the bowl. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us and wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16 together.
Step 7: Beat the ingredients with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3 together.
Step 8: Fold in the broken pecans. Drop by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60 together.
Step 9: Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape to seal the oven door shut. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66 together.
Step 10: GO TO BED. Explain to the kids that they might feel sad that they have to leave their cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were also in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.
Step 11: On Easter morning, have the kids remove a strip of tape from the oven door. Open the door, and give a cookie to everyone. Have the children take notice of the cracked surface of the cookie. Then, have them take a bite. Inside, they will find that the cookies are hollow! Explain to them that on the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were also amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matt 28:1-9.
HE HAS RISEN!
Activity #2: Make Stained Glass Cross Cookies.
Numerous stained glass cookie recipes abound in cookbooks and on the web. I chose one of my favorite recipes and adapted it to commemorate Christ’s rising from the dead. To mimic the beautiful stained glass found in churches, hard candies are crushed and melted to form a focal point of color in the cookie. When you hold the cookie up to the light, the stained glass effect is evident and beautiful, thereby reminding us of the reason for the season. This is also a fun activity for kids to get their aggression out and express their creativity at the same time.
These cookies are edible, but you can also make them ornamental by poking a hole at the top of the cookies just before you bake them, and stringing ribbon through the opening after the cookies have cooled.
Recipe for Stained Glass Cross Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup butter (1 stick)
¼ tsp salt
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs molasses
30-40 hard candies (such as Life Savers) in assorted colors
A meat mallet
Several Ziploc plastic bags
Parchment or Wax Paper
1 cross-shaped cookie cutter
1 smaller cross shaped cookie cutter that will fit inside the larger cookie cutter (or you can use any other shape(s) you desire).
Note: You can also use a sharp knife to cut out any shape you desire inside the cross if a smaller cutter is inconvenient, but for safety, you may want to do this step for younger children. Each hollowed-out area of the cookie should contain only one color of candy. In addition, I have found that this recipe lends itself well to bigger hollowed-out areas rather than smaller ones.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add the molasses, vanilla extract, and the egg, and mix until well incorporated (about 1 minute).
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then fold the mixture into the wet ingredients. Mix again, with an electric mixture until the ingredients are just incorporated. Do not over mix.
Remove the dough from the mixer and press into a rectangular shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Cut the dough into 2 equal halves. Place each halve of dough between two large sheets of wax paper and roll out into 1/4 inch thickness. Using the cookie cutter, have the children cut out as many cross shapes from the flattened dough as possible. Using your smaller cookie cutter, have them cut out an inner section from the dough. Or, you can help them hollow out any other shape(s) they desire within the cross by using the sharp edge of a knife.
Divide the hard candies by color into separate baggies. Cover the baggies with a dish towel and have the children crush the bags of candies with a meat mallet (be sure to do this step on a cutting board to protect your preparation surface).
Place the cookies on wax paper or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Using a spoon, have the children fill each hollowed-out portion of each cookie with a different colored candy, filling the hollowed-out portion to the edges of the cookie. Try to have them keep the candy from getting on the cookie itself because the candy will color it as well.
Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes, or until the candy in the center has melted, is bubbling, and the cookies are beginning to turn slightly brown in color.
Transfer the cookie sheets to a wire rack and allow the pan to cool for at least 10 minutes before attempting to remove the cookies. When the cookies have cooled completely, you may string them with ribbon if you desire to use them for Easter ornaments, or eat them right away. Any leftover cookies should be stored in an airtight container.
Read Mark 16 together and rejoice in the fact that Christ is alive and is no longer on the cross.
Activity #3: Stained Glass Card
Have your child make a beautiful stained glass card to send to grandparents, teachers, relatives, or friends on Easter. This activity is appropriate for children as young as 3 years of age, but can be enjoyed by children of all ages. The message of the empty cross celebrates the fact that Jesus has Risen! Read Mark 16:6 together.
Materials Needed (per child/card):
1- 8½” X 11″ piece of construction paper in a pastel color (such as pink, yellow, light green, or even white)
Colored tissue paper (in a variety of colors), cut into 1-inch squares
Watery glue OR liquid starch
1 cross-shaped stencil
A paint brush
Have your child fold the sheet of construction paper in half, width-wise to form a card. Have them trace the cross stencil on the front of the card, then cut out. The result should be a hollow cross on the front of the card.
Next, cut out a piece of wax paper large enough to cover the cross-shaped opening in the front of the card.
Have your child “paint” the back of several different colored tissue paper squares onto the piece of wax paper using the watery glue or liquid starch, thus creating a collage of colored paper.
Help your child glue the edges of the tissue paper collage to the back side of the cross so that the tissue paper peeks out, allowing the hollow cross to frame the collage. The smooth side of the waxed paper should face toward the inside of the card. Allow the card to dry completely.
Have your child write a personal message or sentiment inside and the stained glass card is ready to present to loved ones at Easter.
In addition to the materials above, you will need (or substitute) the following:
Instead of colored tissue paper, use *grated crayon chips.
A warm iron (not hot)
Regular glue (instead of watery glue or liquid starch), OR a stapler
A couple of sheets of newspaper
A cheese grater
*To make grated crayon chips: Use a regular cheese grater to grate a variety of colors of crayons into chips. You will need approximately 1 tbs of chips per card.
Cut out 2 sheets of wax paper, large enough to cover the cross opening on the front of the card.
Have the child place one sheet of wax paper onto one sheet of newspaper. Then, using a spoon, have them sprinkle the colored chips onto the wax paper.
Cover the chips with the second sheet of wax paper; then, cover the wax paper with a second sheet of newspaper.
You will then need to press the wax paper with a warm iron to melt the crayons. This will take a minute or so.
Remove the wax paper from the newspaper and allow the melted crayons to cool.
Once cooled, glue or staple the wax paper to the cross opening from the inside of the card. The result is a beautiful stained glass effect peering out from the cross opening on the front of the card.
Have the child write a personal sentiment on the inside of the card as described above.
Elise, Stained Glass Cookies, Simply Recipes.
Easter, Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.