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Miscellaneous Ideas for Teaching or Celebrating Holy Week and Easter

Post your miscellaneous ideas for teaching or celebrating Holy Week and Easter here.

  • Please include a scripture reference, supply lists, sources, suggested age range. age modification, etc. 
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Including: Ash Wednesday, Lent, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Egg Hunt, celebrations, Stations of the cross, etc.


Did you see Heather Fogle's PEEP ART PIC?  It's a neat idea.

Last edited by Rotation.org Lesson Forma-teer
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Walk Through Holy Week

I saw this idea at a conference, so can't claim it as my own, but it was really neat. We created an experiential, self-guided "Walk through Holy Week" in an area outside our small chapel, hallway and prayer room. We invited families to participate anytime during Holy Week. There were six stations, each with a verse, some information and a quick hands-on activity. The stations:

  1. Desert Station
  2. Easter Lily Prayers
  3. Water and Stones
  4. Prayer Beads
  5. Communion 
  6. Holy Week Bookmark 

I've attached the supply list and instructions and a few photos.  

Jaymie 

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Click on one of the photos shown below to view a "slideshow" of all of Jaymie's photos.

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Last edited by Rotation.org Lesson Forma-teer

Nail Crosses

Jaymie....your Walk through Holy Week ("Stations of Holy Week") is a great idea for teaching the story. 

Similarly, member Nancy Eubanks made a video of "silhouettes" of Holy Week, --kids depicting the scenes by posing behind a backlit cloth. (Like "live shadow puppets" only not moving.)  The idea and her video clip is posted here at rotation.org. 

I posted my church's "Nail Cross" art project here at rotation.org. 

With advance prep, the making of the cross could be one of the "stations"  or part of your walk (took about 20 minutes to make a cross using nails we had prepared in advance). 

After a short Bible study and demonstration, the kids quietly concentrated on winding the wire around the cross, which was a good time for a few comments about the cross.  

Did this with both my youth and younger children, two different cross versions.

Last edited by Rotation.org Lesson Forma-teer

Games covering Holy Week

There's a great book to have in your Easter resource collection called,Easter-rific Book

"Easter-Ific: Teaching Kids...It's More Than Just One Day!", by Tina Houser, Warner Press, 2011, 9781593174040. 

It covers over 19 stories that took place around or during Holy Week with games, crafts, snacks, science experiments, storytelling ideas and/or object lessons.

In our Games Workshop we set-up 10 game stations (all games from the book), walking the kids through Holy Week.  The games were based on the following stories: Palm Sunday (2), Money Changers in the Temple (2), Last Supper (2), Judas' Betrayal, Peter's Denial, Resurrection, and The Great Commission.  The games are fun and she includes story in each game.  The only game I added to was one of the Last Supper games, on the sheet you photocopy I did two sets, one on plain paper and added a name on each, the other set I copied onto coloured paper, these also each had a name on it, but also character details.  The coloured sheets were for the teacher to use to help the kids make connections to all the characters at the last supper.

We had a blast!  We had two groups, six children in each group, multi-age (4-12).  Below are a few pictures from our Easter Games Workshop.

Note:  My group went second and we did run over, but the kids were all determined to finish and the parents were happy to wait for them to finish (we have coffee hour afterwards so it didn't present a problem and we did it on Palm Sunday, rather than on Easter when they may have needed to rush off to family gatherings.)

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Last edited by Luanne Payne

This was an activity for our Wednesday night children's program (of course on the week I planned painting, EVERYONE was there - 15 children, kindergarten through 5th grade). Time was limited, so we did not open the Bible and read any of the related Scripture.

Lesson adapted from an art workshop by Jamie Senyard, River Community Church, for the Passover story.

Passover/Seder/Last Supper Art Lesson Idea

Bible verse Banner

Summary:
The Wednesday children's community group continued to explore Exodus and Passover. We talked about how the best lambs were sacrificed to protect the Hebrew families in Egypt. And we talked about how "Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed for us." (1 Corinthians 5:7) We painted banners to help us remember how much we are loved and how we were delivered from sin by the Lamb.

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Supplies:

  • muslin square approximately 11x11" for each child - sew a pocket in the top for a dowel to hang it
  • 12' long dowel rod for each child
  • string, yarn, or twine for hanging banner
  • paint shirt for each child
  • newspaper or plastic tablecloths to cover tables
  • Bible verse printed on whiteboard or individual copies for children to use
  • Sharpies (various colors and black)
  • fabric paint
  • paper plates to put paint on
  • cross-shaped sponge (one for every 4 or so children - I cut the corners off a kitchen sponge to make a cross-shaped stamp)
  • lamb stencil (I found a package of animal stencils with a lamb in it, so I purchased 2 sets, and then used an exacto knife to cut 3 more stencils in a hard clear plastic box top - the kind of box greeting cards come in where you can see through the lid)
  • stencil brushes
  • scrap of fabric to demonstrate stencil and stamp techniques
  • paper towels and baby wipes for cleanup

Lesson:

Read from Jesus Storybook Bible “God to the Rescue!”

Say: God commanded the Jewish people to celebrate the Passover every year in a special way so they would remember that God had delivered them from slavery in Egypt in a very miraculous way. It is a special meal where they were to eat lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread.

In the Bible story today, we heard also that many years after the Jewish people left Egypt, God sent Jesus to be our Passover Lamb. God commanded us to remember that Jesus is our Passover Lamb with a special meal. Do you know what that special meal is called? [Communion.]

Say: We are going to make banners today to help us remember that Jesus is our Passover Lamb and that God wants us to tell other people. The banners will have a Bible verse on it: Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed for us. I Corinthians 5:7b [Distribute the copies of the verse.]

Ask: Name some symbols that remind you of Jesus when you see them. [Make sure they understand the definition of a symbol.]

Give each child a muslin square. Have them write their names on the upper back on the portion that is doubled for the dowel pocket. Instruct them to write the Bible verse on the fabric in their very best handwriting or printing.

Tell them that they are going to decorate their banner with symbols that will remind them of what Jesus did for them. Show them the materials available for them to decorate their banners. Demonstrate the technique for stenciling the lamb and sponge printing the cross. Emphasize that not much paint is needed.

After they have written the verse on their fabric, distribute the supplies for decorating the banner. Let them decorate their banners.

While they are working ask:
Who knows something about the day they were born?
How do you know these things? [My parents told me, or I saw a picture]
Why do your parents tell you stories about and show you pictures of the day you were born? [They love me, they want me to know how special it was to have me become a part of the family]
Tell the children that God commanded the Jewish people to remember the Passover because he loved them and wanted them to remember all he did because he loved them. Many years later God allowed his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross because he loved us so much. He commanded us to remember how much he loves us by participating in Communion.

Make sure each banner has the child’s name written on the upper back on the portion that is doubled for the dowel pocket. Leave them to dry on the tables. They will be displayed in the gathering area and returned to the children later. (I used tape to attach them to the window.)

Close with prayer.

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Last edited by Luanne Payne

Didn't use it this year, but came across this nice "cross art" project at ChristianityCove.com.

 

You buy the framed blank canvas, use masking tape to create the shape of the cross, then paint, then remove the tape.

 

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Newer "ROAD TO EMMAUS" Video (2012)

www.roadtoemmausmovie.com

They've posted the entire video in high resolution for free on Youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=310&v=vepBqHvZ0Xs

If you don't have an internet connection in your classroom, you can download the video using the free service at http://www.clipconverter.cc/ and play it on your laptop connected to a projector. [You may wish to check out this post How to Download Videos from YouTube and view them offline created at a later date.]

Jesus is portrayed by Bruce Marciano -of the visual Bible's "Matthew" video fame, but this is NEW content, not a rehash of the Matthew video. It is an extended new presentation about the Road to Emmaus. Jesus (Bruce) explains the variety of scriptures which the Bible story of Emmaus only alludes to.

Good "as is" for youth and adults. I'm a Bruce~Jesus fan, but this video's "Jesus explaining himself" content is too long for younger children.

The opening and closing is particularly good. The long middle section of Jesus "explaining the scriptures" needs condensed. In my OUTLINE to the ROAD TO EMMAUS MOVIE, I suggest a 7 minute section to skip if you are short on time or have younger students.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

It seems the movie producers have depicted the two travelers on the road to Emmaus as two men, just as countless other writers of biblical teaching materials have done through the years.  Nowhere in the Bible are we told that these followers are both male.  One has a man's name, Cleopas.  The other is unnamed.  It seems more likely that it was Cleopas and his wife, daughter, sister, or mother, since the two invited Jesus in to eat and spend the night in their home with them.  I know this might seem irrelevant to the main point; but I think it's helpful for us to sometimes question whether we default according to biases.  Jesus did not treat women according to cultural standards of the day.  He taught them and valued their contribution to spreading his message.  Every time I teach this story, I depict the other traveler as female, because it seems more logical... and because it's inspirational to girls to have role models who were Jesus's friends.  Therefore the movie would not work for me.

Darlena posted:

It seems the movie producers have depicted the two travelers on the road to Emmaus as two men, .... Nowhere in the Bible are we told that these followers are both male.  ....Every time I teach this story, I depict the other traveler as female, because it seems more logical... and because it's inspirational to girls to have role models who were Jesus's friends.  Therefore the movie would not work for me.

You bring up an excellent point, Darlena. In the Disciples of Jesus 'card' set we just put together for the Writing Team's Bible Games workshop, we included Mary of Magdala.  She's another interesting case. Clearly a close disciple, but mis-identified in the early church as a sinful woman, where the Gospels say no such thing.

There's a lot written out there about who the "other" disciple might have been. It's a discussion that began almost immediately in the Early Church, in part, due to discrepancies in the Gospels regarding the names of Jesus' disciples, close followers, women's names, and familial connections. It's really too bad we can't be sure.

Tradition and various ancient texts suggest that Cleopas was related to Jesus, perhaps his uncle --i.e. Mary's brother. Tradition and texts also indicate that several of the disciples, like "James the Lesser" were his sons or related in some fashion. This means some of the disciples were Jesus' cousins.    

What this also means, is that there are several candidates for who the "other" disciple was. Cleopas likely had several family members present in Jerusalem with him, not just his wife. Which one walked to Emmaus with him?   We simply don't know, and maybe that's a God thing: the unnamed disciple.

One of the problems with EVERY Jesus video is that they don't adequately reflect these familial connections, and the presence of "other" disciples, such as the women who were traveling with Jesus. I suppose that they, like most of us, are conditioned by 2000 years of the painting, frescoes, and statuary.  I grew up thinking of Jesus as "a man walking around with 12 men" and no one else.  

The only question left, then, is "can we still teach with such limited depictions?"  I would say "yes," as long as we raise the issues, as you do, of how such portrayals only tell part of the story.  

Neil

Hi

A couple of thoughts.  If you do happen to find a video that portrays the second follower as a woman, then please share that information here. 

If you don't find such a video--and still want to show a video to your students--then perhaps you could show this one.  And then have a conversation about it.  You could say that the video shows the second follower as a man.  Perhaps this was so OR perhaps it was a woman (and then follow-up with some of the points that you made). 

Blessings on your ministry,

Cathy

Hold a Passover-Seder-Last Supper meal

I helped write the script for the Writing Team's Passover-Seder-Last Supper lesson which can fit in a 45 minute class period. It has an abbreviated and kid-friendly version of a Seder.

The Team's set also has a great listing of "Last Supper" resources, ideas, videos, etc.

Note: The Team's sets are only open to Supporting Members.




Build a salt map of Holy Week events in Jerusalem. 

Decorate/add cardboard cut-out buildings, walls, trees, etc.
Create movable signs/labels/location "props" which student learn to place in the right location and tell the story about what happened there.


See blog link below.

Click map to enlarge:

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Check out this excellent blog detailing how to teach with the Jerusalem salt map...  http://veniteavedere.blogspot....for-good-friday.html

"On Good Friday each year, the catechesis I offer to children (and their parents) of the parish concerns biblical geography. What does biblical geography have to do with Good Friday? I'm glad you asked..."  -from a lesson developed by the Catechetical Center in Rome.

Map used under wiki commons license

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Invite everyone in the church to create a diorama exploring the Easter story

St Paul's Church (Auckland, New Zealand) encouraged everyone in the congregation to "tell our biggest story in a creative way:"

 

Everyone was to meditate on what Easter means to us as Christians. Here is a video showing the finished projects:

 

(I am cross-posting this as an art workshop suggestion, too.)

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