What do your children think of when you ask them why we celebrate Easter? If their first thoughts are of bunnies and eggs, it might be time to include some of these Christ-centered activities in your family's Easter traditions.
Hide an empty egg
As part of your Easter egg hunt this year, consider hiding an empty egg (or one for each of your children to find). When your kids sort through their baskets, they'll find the empty egg and remember the empty tomb that showed Jesus Christ was risen.
Make "empty tomb rolls"
Another great way of reminding your family of the empty tomb is to make "empty tomb rolls." They're very simple — all it takes is a roll of refrigerator biscuits and some marshmallows. Flatten a roll slightly, place a marshmallow in the center, then enclose the marshmallow within the roll, making sure to pinch the sides together. When the rolls are baked, the marshmallows will melt, leaving hollow spaces inside the rolls.
Use jelly bean colors as symbols
Fill Easter eggs with jelly beans. As your kids sort through the different colors, read "The Jelly Bean Prayer" which explains how each color is symbolic of Easter. For instance, red represents the blood Christ shed as part of his Atonement.
Hide numbered eggs with scripture references
As part of a larger hunt or as a separate activity, prepare 12 eggs containing items that represent the events leading up to Christ's resurrection. The Frugal Gals suggest scripture references and symbolic objects like leaves to symbolize the palm branches that lined the streets when Jesus entered the city on Palm Sunday.
Wash each other's feet
Jesus served others through his example. One iconic example of his selfless service was when he washed his apostles' feet. Have your kids take turns washing each other's feet, and talk about why this is such an important example of Jesus' love.
Make the Easter story personal
Younger kids will understand the Easter story better if they can relate it to their own lives. As you tell stories of Christ, try using personal examples of things your children deal with or experience. For instance, ask them how they would feel if one of their best friends lied about them to a teacher (as an example of Judas' betrayal).
Go for a nature walk and look for all the things that are born or reborn anew in spring. Point out how the grass is getting greener, the leaves are reappearing in the trees, the flowers are blooming, and babies are being born. Explain that, when Jesus died for us, he gave us the chance to repent of our sins and become clean and innocent — like new again.
Create "sin rocks"
This powerful activity, suggested by godcenteredmom.com, reminds kids how Jesus' sacrifice affects each of them. The night before Easter, give each child a handful of rocks and invite them to write on the rocks — with sharpie — any sins they struggle with. Some examples might include fighting, not sharing, hitting or complaining. They should each put the rocks in their Easter baskets before going to bed.
Overnight, transfer all the rocks to a basket labeled "Jesus." When the kids get up in the morning, they'll see all their "sins" have been taken by Jesus, leaving them free to fill their baskets with candy and eggs.
Include Jesus in your decorations
As part of your annual Easter decorating, consider setting aside a table or countertop to display depictions of Christ. Put the display somewhere the kids pass by frequently, and allow your children to choose their favorite figures or pictures of Christ to add to it.
Sing Easter hymns
On Easter Sunday, set aside time before any Easter egg hunts to sing Easter hymns that celebrate Christ's life, reminding your children of Jesus' death and resurrection. Starting the day in this sacred way will set the tone for all other activities. Consider ending the day in a similar way.