More Easter ideas… 🙂
7. Passion of the Christ – Within the holy week, preferably the night before Easter, our family (only including kids 12+) watches this movie every year. We do not allow any of our children (including teens) to watch R rated movies, but this is the exception. Once they are old enough to understand that it was for each of our sins that Christ was tortured and nailed to the cross, this movie is an excellent resource to attempt to capture the pain He endured, as well as Jesus’ endless love for us in that it was His choice to suffer physical, spiritual, emotional and mental agony so that we could be reconciled to God (John 10:17-18).
8. Egg Hunt Service Project – The whole family can help bring Easter to those in need. Find an organization (church, non-profit, etc.) that is hosting an Easter egg hunt for those less fortunate and help provide candy, stuff eggs, transport & set out eggs, or participate with others in the event.
9. Soup Kitchen – Choose this time of year to help provide a meal for those in need. Join forces with a church, non-profit, or food bank and spend part of Easter weekend (or any weekend!) helping cook, serve or clean-up. Or, volunteer with Meals On Wheels or another such organization and help deliver a meal to the elderly or shut-ins. It’s a beautiful way to get to know your community and demonstrate the hands and feet of Christ to your children.
10. Invite Someone To Easter Dinner – In addition to people regularly included in this day with you, invite a widow, neighbors, or someone without family in town or with whom to spend Easter day. This is a wonderful opportunity to build bridges, make new friends, and is exactly the kind of thing Jesus was drawn to.
11. Dying Easter eggs – The smell of vinegar any time of year always brings me back to dying Easter eggs. While many people love this tradition, what helped our family enjoy it more was to move the whole thing outdoors. Food dye can be tricky to get out of counters and clothes, so we set up an old cardboard table, throw some old t-shirts over our clothes and have a ball. No need to worry about spills, drips or eggs splashing down into the dye-filled cups. This is a great activity to get toddlers to grandparents involved in and just play! (I love watching the egg themes change over the years as our kids get older.) It also lets us get outside to enjoy the springtime beauty, and makes for a really nice photo op for all of us scrapbookers out there.
12. Easter baskets – This is one of our favorite Easter traditions, and no, our children have not outgrown them. 🙂 Rather than filling baskets with endless jelly beans and dollar-store toys that break in a day, we take this opportunity to intentionally bring the baskets back to the focus of the real reason for Easter:
* An Easter basket is a great time to give children of any age a yearly devotional. Our children’s devotionals are pretty worn out by the end of a year, so every year I spend time picking out a devotional that is right for their age and season of life. (They begin the new one on Easter, so for us, that day is our “new year.”) I would recommend some, but there is an abundance of devotionals out there, and it really depends on what fits your child the best. Simply go to Amazon.com and type in keywords: devotions for kids, devotions for teens, devotions for girls, devotions for boys, etc. A plethora will come up for ages from very young to graduates. To offset the stimulate overload, you may want to go to a Christian bookstore (some mainstream stores also have devotionals, but their selection is quite limited) and there you can thumb through the devotionals and find just the right one – local stores also have good coupons this time of year. Set aside a good hour for this, but it’s totally worth it. Here’s a couple to start your search: Random Thoughts, God’s Little Devotional for Boys, God’s Little Devotional for Girls and Josh McDowell’s Youth Devotions.
* To that, we add a couple of extra divinely inspired books (i.e., Stormie Omartian’ s prayer books for kids & teens, When Teens Pray, Hot Chocolate with God, God Girl & God Girl devotional, and the Chicken Soup Christian series for children, preteens & teens). Books are an investment for the soul and a great basket filler! This is something I see us continuing for their entire lives – giving our one-day grown children Bible studies, Christian fiction, biographies, etc. at Easter.
* A special bookmark or small piece of jewelry (cross necklace or earrings, etc.) are also nice touches and functional, too.
* With warmer weather approaching, we also include in their baskets a cool Christian t-shirt. Something fun and funky and fits their personalities. There are some really great ones out there and can be found online and in local Christian bookstores.
* We include one special item in the basket for each child. The gift changes year-to-year, but we keep it on a budget. As parents, we do not give our children toys, video games, etc. throughout the year (only on birthdays and certain holidays), so we take great delight in treating them with a total surprise in their basket.
* Minimizing candy, we pick out only our children’s very favorite treats and put a few of those in the basket. It’s easy to pass up the abundance of sugar when focusing only on their favorites…and not overbuying keeps the budget down, too.
More ideas to come in part 3…