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home > Blog > Easter Activities for Toddler Groups

You see, Christmas has it all. The cute baby Jesus, the singing choir of angels, the range of animals happily gathering around the manger... all this together makes for a very happy and accessible story for toddlers! Easter on the other hand is so, so much harder. The pain and suffering of the cross, the darkness, Jesus dying, the tomb... all this has to come before the glorious Easter Sunday morning and Jesus rising from the dead. But we can't just skip over all this. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the most essential story to be told, it's the core of our salvation and hope!

It's been a real challenge for me this Easter on what activities to do with our toddler group. I don't want to 'water down' the message of Easter, I want to make the message understandable to the children and relational to the adults who may even be hearing it for the very first time. So we split the story into four, the first two activities help focus on and unpack the key moments of Palm Sunday and the Cross. The third activity is a great way to help everyone understand how all the parts of the story fit together before finishing with a final activity to celebrate the hope we have!

Activity One - Palm Sunday Tuff Tray

We start our journey to Easter with a Palm Sunday Tuff Tray. First, fill the tray with sand, then using any sort of building blocks you have available, make the town either side of the wide path down the middle of the tray. Earlier on, we decorated some little wooden people together to make the crowd and used a brick donkey/horse for Jesus to ride on. We used bay leaves for the 'palm leaves' (make sure you check which leaves you use, as some may be toxic) and the children just loved acting out Palm Sunday as I read the story from a children's Bible (I tend to use 'The Big Bible Storybook' by Mark Carpenter), moving the donkey along the path and the crowd waving their palm leaves and making as much noise as possible!

Activity Two - The Cross

Children just love getting messy - and the parents too when it's not in their house! We cut out a simple cross shape and laid out the table with a variety of colour paints and those all important wet wipes too! Encourage the children to use the tip of their finger dipped into the paint to make a dot on the cross and keep building it up adding more and more colours. They make a fantastic take home craft or wall display item too! Naturally, we want to protect the hearts of our children, but it’s also a great opportunity to remind them that there is nothing wrong in feeling sad about what happened to Jesus, it makes adults sad too. But be careful with the wording you use here, saying 'Jesus died for your sins' may come across that it was because of them and what they do that killed Jesus. As with any conversation around the cross, I always make sure that we straight away continue the story! It doesn't end with Jesus dying, but it's all part of God's incredible rescue plan because of how much he loves us, on Easter Sunday He rose and that Jesus is alive and with us today!

Activity Three - Easter Story Hunt

Here is a fantastic way of telling the whole story of Easter but adding in some movement, interaction and fun at the same time! Using an egg carton I made up a set of six plastic eggs using some sticky back felt letters and placed an item into each egg as outlined below:
'E' - A small fabric heart to represent how God's love is for everyone
'A' - A plaster to represent the world is broken and not how God made it to be
'S' - A small wooden cross to show what Jesus did for us
'T' - A stone to represent the rock that was placed in front of the tomb
'E' - A piece of cloth or linen for the empty clothes they had wrapped Jesus in
'R' - EMPTY, Jesus didn't stay dead, He is alive!

I hide the eggs around the room and as each child finds one they can bring it back to the middle and we spell out 'Easter' and discover what's inside of each egg and share the Easter story this way. Don't quite have time to gather plastic eggs, find foam letters, an egg carton and props? One Way UK's bestselling Easter resource is their 'Easter Story Eggs' which can be used in exactly the same way but they are delivered to you completely ready to go, including what to read out for each part of the story too. They also have the option to personalise eggs with either your toddler group name or individuals too.

Activity Four - Easter Garden

To finish our Easter activities, what better way than by making an Easter Garden together? You could use individual trays or one big tuff tray. Bring together some soil, stones, grass/leaves, flowers, three crosses and some plant pots (plus any other decorations you feel would be good to include). The plant pots can be placed on their side to create the tomb and then covered in the soil/grass/leaves before placing a stone alongside it to show how it is now empty!

I hope these ideas have helped, please don't hesitate to contact me by emailing or calling 01472 362810 and I would love to help further.

Have a blessed Easter,

Jenny Jones

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