Saturday, March 31, 2012

Celebrating 12 Days of Easter - Ideas for Crafts, Activities, and Snacks

Yes, this is my second Easter post in less than a week. I can't help it. I love this holiday!!! I mean, COME ON! What could be better to celebrate than the resurrection of our Savior!!! And just as I mentioned in my previous post (which is also full of craft ideas), I really think we should give Easter the same attention that we give to Christmas. After all, if the Resurrection had never happened, then Christmas would be meaningless!
At Christmas, we often do Jesse trees or other Advent activities that count down to Christmas day with stories about Jesus' lineage and His birth. Why not do that at Easter with stories about Jesus' life? So here's another GREAT idea to help you celebrate Easter for more than just one day:
The 12 Days of Easter Countdown!

Now, I am freely admitting that this was not my idea. I'm not that brilliant. But I am brilliant enough to search the web! ;) And that's where I found this idea. If you click the link above, it will take you to the original blog post that I found with activities or crafts for each day. But, being the hard worker that I am, I decided to do a little more digging and find even more activities, crafts, and snack ideas for the 12 days. - That way you have several to choose from. (I love having lots of choices!) This way, you can pick the activities that are best for you and your child. If you have any other ideas that you think would go along with these 12 Days of Easter PLEASE post them in the comments section! I would LOVE to see them!!!
So, without further ado, I will list the 12 Days below - along with all of the activities and crafts that I have thought of or found that could be appropriate.

Day 12 - "The Name of Jesus"

A.) Playdoh Activity - Read Luke 1:26-38 to your child. Talk about Jesus' name and what it means. Talk about the meaning of your child's name. How did they get their name? Who were they named after? What does their name mean? Then read Philippians 2:10 and talk about the power of Jesus' name. Use the playdoh so spell out J-E-S-U-S.

B.) Try this Optical Illusion Craft - all you need is 10 popsicle sticks and some glue!

C.) Make a Jesus Suncatcher - all you need is a clear sheet of transparency paper for each child, permanent markers in different colors, a hole punch, yarn and scissors.
Read Isaiah 7:14. Ask what "Immanuel" means. Discuss the meaning. Give each child a piece of transparency paper. Let them write "Immanuel" or "Jesus" on the paper with the markers and then decorate the rest of the sheet. Punch a hole at the top of the paper and tie a piece of yarn into a loop to hang your suncatcher in the window (or just tape it to the window).
Day 11 - "Jesus Feed the Five Thousand"
A.) Swedish Fish and Cracker Activity - Read Matthew 14, Luke 9 or John 6 to the kids. Give them 5 crackers and 2 fish and discuss the story.

B.) Make a Loaves and Fishes Necklace - All you need is a piece of yarn, some paper or cardstock (for the fish), and ziti or macaroni pasta!
C.) Make a Loaves and Fishes Snack - Back sugar cookies into squares or rectangles. Give each child a cookie, a spoon full of frosting, and 2 Swedish Fish or 2 goldfish crackers. Have them spread the frosting on the cookies and place the fish on top. Let them eat their snack while you read them the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand.

D.) Make this Loaves and Fishes Basket Craft - very cute and very simple! :)

E.) Try this Adorable Loaves and Fishes Activity! - Suitable for even the youngest kids!!! -
Gather a bunch of your child’s stuffed animals, a basket, a bag of croutons or crackers (for the loaves) and a bag of goldfish crackers (for the fishes). Pour all the croutons (except for 5) and all the fishes (except for 2) into the basket and then cover them up with a paper towel or napkin.Place the final 5 loaves and 2 fishes on top of the towel.Explain to your kids what you are going to do.Tell them the story, and as you tell it, begin “feeding” the stuffed animals. Remove the napkin without them seeing (if possible) or just reach under it and pull out more loaves ad fishes.About halfway through “feeding” the animals, stop and say, “Wait!Weren’t there just 5 loaves and 2 fishes?”Reiterate how Jesus performed a miracle and all the people were fed.J
Day 10 - "Jesus Calms the Storm"
A.) Toy Boat Activity - Read the story in Matthew 8, Mark 4 or Luke 8 and talk about why this is so amazing. Place your toy boat in the bathtub and try to calm it instantly, which can’t be done.

B.) Paper Plate Sail Boat - Create a sail boat to remind kids of the story of Jesus walking on the water. Cut a paper plate in half and ask the kids to color it. Tape a triangle to a straw and tape the straw to the paper plate to serve as a sail. Write "I trust Jesus" on the front of the boat.

C.) Make a Storm in a Bottle - You can make a large craft using a 2-liter bottle; you can also have the kids make their own individual crafts by using 16-ounce soda or water bottles. The bottles should be cleaned first. Print out one copy of a picture of Jesus calming the storm for each child to color with crayons or markers. Seal the picture in between two layers of clear contact paper so the paper will not be damaged. Insert the picture into the bottle; fill the bottle halfway with water and halfway with vegetable or baby oil. To make it really look like the ocean, you can add a drop or two of blue food coloring and let the children shake away to mix the ingredients and cause a storm.

D.) Make an Ocean in a Bag - Place a small amount of blue toothpaste in a ziploc bag, seal it, and let the child spread the toothpaste out by rubbing over the bag. Let them place fish stickers or boat stickers on the outside or even place something small on the inside.

Day 9 - "Jesus Heals the Blind Man"
A.) Blindfold Game - Lead the kids in a few activities with the blindfold on. Talk about how hard it would be to live life that way and how you’d feel if you were healed. Read about the healing in John 9. Note how the blind man reacted when Jesus told him who He was. How does God reveal Himself in our lives… how should we react.

B.) Before and After Puppet Craft - A simple paper plate stick puppet gives children a hands-on visual for retelling the story of Jesus healing the blind man. Draw faces on the back of two paper plates; or use craft materials such as wiggly eyes, yarn hair, and buttons to create the faces. One side should have closed eyes or flaps over the eyes to represent the blind man. The other side has open, seeing eyes to represent the healed man. Tape a large craft stick or paint stirrer to the inside of one plate and staple the two plates together around the rim with the faces facing out so they appear alternately by flipping the puppet on the stick.

C.) Mud Painting - Jesus instructed the blind man to put mud on his eyes and wash them in the river. When the man obeyed, his sight was restored. Children can finger paint with chocolate pudding to get a feel for the consistency of mud and act out the story as you read. Give them a picture of a face outline and tell them to spread "mud" on the eyes when you read that part. When the man washes in the river and receives his sight, ask the children to wipe the "mud" away and shout, "Thank you Jesus! I can see!"

Day 8 - "Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet"
A.) Paper Crown and Travel Soap Activity - Talk about the meaning of royalty and the things that kings are supposed to do. Explain how Jesus is the King of all Kings and what that means. Then read the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples in John 13 and how he came to serve and not be served. Is that what you’d expect the King of Kings to do? Take turns putting on the crown and washing each other’s feet talking about how we can serve the way Jesus did.

B.) Make a Foot-Washing Apron - Take a 12-by-18-inch piece of sturdy cotton cloth and attach 20-inch ties on either side of the widest length, or purchase solid-colored, inexpensive aprons at a craft store. Print the scripture reference along the top of the apron and “Jesus, wash me” on the bottom edge. Prepare pans of tempera paint and place the aprons on the floor on top of plastic dropcloths or layers of newspaper. Have the children step barefoot into the pans and then step on the apron to leave footprints on the apron. Wash the paint off the children's feet and explain why Jesus believed the disciples should serve one another. Let the aprons dry. Alternatively, draw around the child’s feet with a permanent marker and let him color the footprint with a marker or paint.

C.) Decorate a piece of construction or typing paper with footprint stickers.

D.) Make a Foot Washing Kit - Encourage the kids to remember Jesus' example by making foot washing kits. Provide the children with a small box or bag they can decorate with stickers, markers or crayons. One possibility includes drawing or stamping footprints on the box or bag. Give each child a washrag, a small bar of fragrant soup or a small bottle of liquid soap, a small bowl or a recycled margarine container for water and a child’s apron. Remind the children that Jesus said those who had bathed only needed to have their feet washed to be clean -- John 13:10.

E.) Make a Service Tray - Jesus washed the disciples’ feet as one example of serving others. Children can think of many ways to serve. Give kids a bamboo tray to use as a service tray. Allow them to decorate the tray with markers, paint, stickers or stamped footprints. Have them suggest ways to use the tray, such as to bring their mom a snack or carry their eating utensils and napkins to the table. Remind the class to think of something they can to do to serve someone with kindness each day.

Day 7 - "Mary Magdalene and the Perfume"

A.) Sample Perfume or Scented Lotion - Read the story of Mary pouring the perfume on Jesus’ feet from John 12. Talk about how expensive this was back then and what a big deal it was for her to do it. Discuss some other things are important to us now and how we can give them as an offering to God.... time, money etc.

B.) Make Clothespin Dolls - In this activity the children make small figurines of Jesus and Mary so they can act out the scene from the Bible in their own puppet show or diorama. Clothespins are used for the bodies of the puppets. The children can then glue scraps of material to the clothespins to make the clothing and use markers to draw the faces of the Jesus and Mary figures. If the children want to put the clothespin puppets in a diorama, they can paint the inside of an empty shoebox to create a setting for their scene.

C.) Make a Washing Bowl - Give each child a small ball of air-drying clay. Have them fashion a bowl Mary could use to hold the oil for anointing Jesus's feet. Depending on the children's age, they can roll the ball of clay till it turns into a long rope they can coil into a bowl shape or they can simply press their thumbs into the center of the ball of clay to make an indention. Once the clay has dried, the children can paint their bowls using acrylic paint.

Day 6 - "The Rich Young Ruler"

A.) Four Quarters Activity - Talk about what they’d like to do with the 4 quarters. Read the story Jesus tells of the rich young ruler from Matthew 19 or Luke 12 and then Acts 20:35 when Jesus says it is better to give than to receive. Now revisit the quarters and talk about what they’d like to do with the 4 quarters.

B.) Putting coins into a bank – This is a good grasping/pincher activity for toddlers

C.) Coin sorting activity - For older children, you could do a coin sorting game. Give them a handful of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies, and 4 bowls (one for each type of coin). Time them and see how fast they can sort all the coins into the right bowls.

Day 5 - "Jesus Visits Zacchaeus"

A.) Make a Pom Tree - Tell the story of Zacchaeus while making this tree.
B.) Make Binoculars - Create binoculars with two toilet paper rolls wrapped with tape. Tape an image of Jesus somewhere in the room out of immediate sight. Explain how Zacchaeus searched for Jesus, but couldn't find him so he climbed into the tree. Let the children use their binoculars to look for the picture of Jesus and wait for them to find it. Ask the children if they had difficulty finding the picture and explain how hard it was for Zacchaeus as well because of his sin. Explain how Jesus found Zacchaeus and forgave him.

C.) Make a Zacchaeus Tree Snack - All you need is some giant marshmallows, pretzel sticks, and some green marshmallow peeps! :)

 D.) Hiding Zacchaeus Craft - Print out images of Zacchaeus and Jesus, and cut them out for toddlers. Print an outline of a tree as well. Have young children color in the figures and the tree. Help them tape a green piece of construction paper to the tree as a flap for Zacchaeus to hide underneath. Talk about the height of Zacchaeus, and place him under the flap. Bring the figure of Jesus to the tree and explain that Jesus could see Zacchaeus even though he was hiding. Tell the children that Jesus wanted him to come down to have dinner as friends because he loved Zacchaeus.
Day 4 - "Jesus Loved the Children"
A.) Make a Time Coupon - Read the story in Mark 10 . Talk about adults in our lives that obviously love children. How do you know and what do they do to show it? How do we think Jesus showed it? How would you like me to show you that I love you and value spending time with you? Fill out the time coupon together. (Example - Your child may write on their time coupon that you play barbies with them for 30 minutes, etc.)
B.) Play a version of Red Light Green Light - to illustrate Jesus letting the children come to Him. All you need is a piece of red construction paper, a piece of green construction paper, and a popsicle stick, a paint stirrer, or some other kind of stick. Glue the red paper to one side of the the stick and the green to the other. Stand at one end of the hall holding the sign and have your kids stand at the other end and play the game. 
C.) Make heart-shaped cookies and write your child's name on them. Talk about how Jesus loved those little children in the Bible story and He loves your child too!
D.) Older children can create heart-shaped pillows to remember God's love. Trace and cut out enough heart shapes from felt or fabric so that each child can have two hearts. Place the two hearts together and have the children thread a needle and make simple stitches around the border of the hearts. When about three quarters of the heart border has been sewn, stuff the heart with fiber fill. Complete the stitches around the borders of the heart.
E.) Make a Heart Suncatcher - All you need is a few supplies to make this adorable suncatcher!
Day 3 - "Jesus Wept"
A.) Tearjerker Gum - While chewing the gum, read the story of Jesus healing Lazarus in John 11. Talk about how Jesus was a real person with real emotions like us. Note how he was sad, but never lost hope. He knew God was going to use Lazarus’ story for His glory. Talk about times when we feel sad, hurt, scared at times and how awesome it is to have hope like Jesus did in this situation because God is behind us and hears our prayers.
B.) Make Lazarus Cookies - Bake gingerbread cookies ahead of time. Cut a fruit roll up into strips or use a Fruit by the Foot candy for the burial clothes. As the story is told have the children wrap their Lazarus gingerbread cookie. When they get to the part where Jesus calls Lazarus out of the tomb, have the children unwrap Lazarus. Once the story is over, the children can enjoy a fun snack.
C.) Sympathy Cards - The biblical account of Lazarus includes the shortest verse in the Bible: "Jesus wept." This may have been evidence of Jesus' compassion for Lazarus' sisters, who were grieving deeply the loss of their brother. Talk about how people can show sympathy and compassion to one another during hard times. Create homemade sympathy cards using card stock and markers, crayons or paints. Encourage your students to write or draw a simple message that will cheer up someone who is going through a difficult time.
D.) Make Friendship Bracelets - Point out that Jesus was friends with Mary, Martha and Lazarus and that he had spent time with them before Lazarus' death. Talk about the importance of having friends and how friends should treat each other. Give each student a piece of leather lace about 8 to 10 inches long. Give them letter beads that spell the word "friend" and help them to string the beads onto the leather. Tie the ends of the leather laces in a knot and cut off excess if necessary. Tell your students to give the bracelet to a special friend.
Day 2 - "Jesus Died for Us"
A.) Bury an Easter Egg - Read the story of the crucifixion in Matthew 27, Luke 23 or John 19 and talk about how must have felt to love Jesus and be there that day... and how it might have felt for those who didn’t love Jesus but saw what happened. Write the word that you feel on the piece of paper and put it inside a plastic Easter egg for the next day. Bury the egg somewhere nearby. (This activity will be fihished on Day 1 Activity A.)
B.) Coin Covered Cross Craft - Make this beautiful cross covered with coins. Discuss how our debt has been "Paid In Full." :)
C.) Make this beautiful Stained Glass Cross Craft - all you need is 2 sheets of contact paper per person, black paper, and different colors of tissue paper! No glue! No paint! No mess!

D.) Make this pretty Colorful Light Ray Cross - All you need is white cardstock, painters tape, and oil pastels!
E.) Make this beautiful Tissue Paper Cross - Just a few supplies and you can make this beautiful project!
F.) Don't have lots of supplies? Wanna make something with your little one? Have some cereal? Make a cross out of Fruit Loops!

Day 1 - "He is Risen!"
A.) (Continuation of Day 2, Idea A) - The Empty Egg! - Go find the egg (which has now been unearthed, broken open and is empty.) Read the story in Matthew 28, Mark 16 or John 20. Talk about how God gave us the most special gift ever when he gave us Jesus: Himself in a body to love us and show us how to live and to ultimately give his own life so that we could have an eternal relationship with him.... not because we deserved it at all... but because He loves us that much.
B.) Jesus coming out of graveclothes – make a “Jesus doll” out of a clothespin. Wrap the doll in a THIN layer of toilet paper or tissue paper. Squeeze the bottom of the clothespin (like you are opening it up) (this would be the legs) and watch Jesus burst out of the graveclothes!
C.) Jesus coming out of grave clothes – wrap Daddy or a child in toilet paper. Talk about how Jesus was wrapped in grave clothes. Let them “break out” of the "grave clothes."
For more Easter crafts, activities and snacks, check out my other Easter post HERE.

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