Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Spiritual Easter for Toddlers

I've been pondering and pondering how to make our Easter celebrations a little more spiritual and have had no major lightbulbs unfortunately.

Don't get me wrong.  I love the Easter egg hunts, the egg dying, and the candy (I really love the candy), but I want our children to understand the real reason behind Easter and that's proved to be rather difficult.

I've decided that Christmas is more accessible to toddlers on a spiritual level because the concept (a baby born) is a little easier for them to understand.  Atonement and resurrection?  Not so much.  So these ideas are very very basic (we all have to start somewhere right?) but they have helped my 3-year old.

Let me preface this by saying that I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Most of the resources I am using are published by the church.

The first is the Ensign and The Friend magazines.
Since the content of both of these is completely online at The Church website, I don't save the old ones anymore.  Instead, I cut out pictures and activities that I like and file them away for later.

There is a nice activity here that uses eggs filled with symbols of Easter and has the kids read the scriptures that correspond.  I'm definitely saving it for later, but a 3-year old?  

So this is my version:  I filled 11 eggs with pictures representing different parts of the ENTIRE story of Jesus Christ (I want her to connect all the parts of his life to the same person).  The parts are: birth, baptism, calling the apostles, teaching the people, miracles of healing, triumphant entry into Jerusalem, instituting the sacrament, atonement, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.

I folded the pictures up and put them in eggs and then "hid" the eggs (difficulty according to age so in this case, in plain sight).  When my daughter found all the eggs, the idea was to open them one at a time and tell the story.

She got a little excited and just opened them.  But afterwards, she did sit on my lap and let me tell her the story.  With all the pictures, it was kind've like reading a book -- and she loves books.

I know she doesn't understand it all yet (heck, I don't even understand it all!), but I feel better knowing that we have made a start.

My other ideas?  Well we haven't done them all yet but what I'm thinking is . . . 
1.  Watch the end of the Testaments movie, when Christ appears to the Nephites
2.  Maybe watch the short video His Sacred Name: An Easter Declaration, found here

And I actually have one more thing but I need to find it first to link to it -- it's a beautiful presentation about Christ that I used last year in a Primary activity that brought the Spirit so incredibly strongly and that was for children 3 to 12.

And if anyone out there has ideas for me -- please let me know!