1 … 2 … 3 … Jesus loves m-e-e-e!

Sharing the Word with children

I have been blessed with a daughter who is one of a kind. Hadley is talkative, smart, beautiful and at times her constant chattiness, overly inquisitive nature and lack of patience wears on her mother’s patience. Last Easter, Hadley was two, soon to turn three, and very aware that Easter was around the corner. All she could talk about was decorating Easter eggs.
“When can we decorate Easter eggs, mom?”
“Can we decorate Easter eggs today?”
“Is today the day the Easter Bunny visits?”
With all the technology and advertising in our world it seems like holidays are being “pushed” sooner and sooner. Our summer tans have hardly faded and Christmas commercials are taking over the television. The same can be said for Easter. I am certain this is how Hadley knew the holiday was around the corner and the constant advertising was keeping it fresh in her mind. It bothered me that she was more excited about the Easter eggs and the bunny than the REAL meaning of Easter. (Plus, she was driving me crazy!)
As a kindergarten teacher, I know that any experience can be turned into a learning moment and playing is the best way to teach a child. While looking for Easter crafts and activities for my class, I came across a picture of an Easter Garden. Instantly I knew that this might be what I needed to teach Hadley the story of Easter and at the same time be something she can watch grow and change as she waits for Easter.
All I needed was some dirt, an empty soup can, rocks, grass seed, a few twigs and a shallow tray. I took Hadley with me as I collected the items and the more we collected the more it piqued her curiosity. I had her place the soup can on its side in the tray and spread the dirt around and on top of the can to form a hill with a tomb (the soup can). We planted grass seed in the dirt and placed small stones in front of the tomb. A large rock was placed in front of the opening of the tomb. With the twigs we fashioned three crosses and placed them in our ‘garden.’ We made this outside and Hadley was able to get as dirty and messy as she wanted. This sort of thing is right up her alley and she loved making it.
I noticed that as we made our garden and discussed the Easter story, there was no more talk about Easter eggs and bunnies but questions that showed she was interested and curious about what happened to Jesus and why this all happened. As we made the crosses she asked, “Why are we making crosses? I answered, “Because Jesus died on a cross.” I could see she was deep in thought and after a bit she asked, “Why did He die on a cross?” I will admit that my heart was filled with pride and my head was getting a bit big because I thought this simple little question proved that this activity was doing exactly what I wanted it to do. To answer her question, I told her He died to take away our sins. Her reply helped to deflate my ego and reminded me that she is only two, “But I want my sins!”
We set the Easter Garden on our table as a centrepiece and Hadley watered the grass and checked it every day to see if the grass had grown. She even got to cut the grass with a pair of scissors and she proudly showed off her garden to everyone that visited. On Easter morning we rolled away the large rock to see an empty tomb.
I think this will be a new tradition in our home and maybe next year we can tackle the concept of sin!

Lois Gariepy

Looking for some suitable Easter resources?

  • LWML–Canada has colouring pages of the Easter story for children. #CMS06-01, $1 per set. See page 24 for ordering from the LWML–Canada Resource Centre.
  • Lutheran Hour Ministries has a handy pocket-sized booklet filled with pictures and poetry detailing the Easter story. Check for details at www.LLL.ca. For other activities for children, check out JC Play Zone at www.jcplayzone.com.

 

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