Last minute Easter story ideas

There’s just a handful of days before Good Friday and the Easter weekend. For many parents with school-aged children, we’re often all geared up for the Easter celebrations in our churches and yet have little or no idea what to do to mark the the great news of Easter in our own families.

If that’s you, then here are three ideas to help make Easter a special time of remembrance and celebration in your family.

#1 Easter Story Egg Hunt

Ideal for…

Families with preschool and primary school-aged children. Can also be adapted to be a church/children’s group activity (I have also run this as a community/Gospel opportunity event as well).

The big idea…

To have an Easter egg hunt that includes an opportunity to remember and celebrate the Easter story from the Bible.

You’ll need…

  • 10 plastic eggs.
  • Some mini chocolate eggs (enough for a few per child, etc).
  • Either 10 small Easter story items or 10 Easter story pictures (on small pieces of card).
  • A full-text translation of the Bible (ie, not a children’s Bible).

The details…

Number the plastic eggs from 1 to 10. Put one Easter story item/picture in each of the plastic eggs, as per the list below. If you are using actual items, then you will need to find toys or items that will fit in the plastic eggs. Otherwise, you can download this sheet of Easter story images that I have made.

Here are the items/images you will need, plus the Bible reference to include on a slip of paper inside each egg as well…

  1. A donkey (Mark 11:1-10)
  2. Some silver coins (Matthew 26:14-16)
  3. A piece of bread (Mark 14:22-24)
  4. A farmyard rooster (Mark 14:66-72)
  5. A thorn/crown of thorns (Mark 15:16-20)
  6. A nail/some nails (Mark 15:25)
  7. Dice (John 19:23-24)
  8. A wooden cross (John 19:28-30)
  9. Nothing / an empty tomb (Luke 24:1-8)
  10. A piece of cloth/folded linen (John 20:1-8)

Hide the chocolate eggs and the plastic eggs around your garden (or house, if it is wet weather).

On Easter Sunday, invite your children to hunt for the eggs. When done, share out the chocolate eggs and collect in the plastic eggs. Take turns opening up each plastic egg in number order and use the item/picture in each egg to tell the Easter story as you read the Bible passage (you can get older siblings to find and read the Bible passages) and retell the events in your own words.

#2 Not-quite Empty Eggs

Ideal for…

Families with children of any age.

The big idea…

To highlight the main point of Easter Sunday, that Jesus had risen from the dead.

You’ll need…

  • Hollow chocolate Easter eggs, one per child (and a few spare, just in case they break!).
  • Slips of paper with the words of Luke 24:5-7 written/printed out.
  • Strips of white material (I used a bandage cut up into strips).

The details…

Carefully unwrap each chocolate egg (I’d suggest trying to unwrap them to their barest minimum to get the egg out, as this will help later on when you re-wrap them).

Using a thin knife, carefully cut/prise the eggs into two halves along the join/seam. Make sure you have some spare eggs, because chances are that at least one of them will crack, split or break! Besides, it means you have something to eat when you’re finished…!

Place the slip of paper with the Bible verse on it and a strip of white material inside the egg.

Gently heat a non-stick frying pan on a low heat. Carefully place the other half of the egg edge-down in the pan for a few seconds to begin melting the edge of the egg, then quickly place back on-top of the other half of the egg with the paper and material tucked in it. Smooth down any melted chocolate sticking out to ensure a good seal.

Hold in place until the chocolate has cooled in place, and then re-wrap the egg in its foil wrapping.

On Easter Sunday, as you give out the eggs to your family, ask them if Easter eggs are usually empty. Assuming they answer along the lines of ‘because the tomb was empty’, ask them if that is true – was it completely empty? Help your children to see that the tomb was not completely empty, as the burial cloths were still there. Before they open their egg, ask them this question: ‘So, if Easter eggs are a way to help us remember the Easter story, what should they have inside them?’ (cloth, etc).

Read John 20:1-9, and help your children to see that, for the Apostle John, it was only when he saw the burial linen without Jesus’ body laying there that he believed Jesus was the Son of God who gives us eternal life through faith in him (John 20:30-31).

#3 A simple Easter one-to-one

Ideal for…

Families with junior school aged children and/or teenagers (and even adult-age children!).

The big idea…

Read the events of Easter from the Bible and think about how crucially important the first Easter day is in the good news of Jesus.

You’ll need…

  • Bibles, one each.
  • Somewhere special to go (eg, a coffee shop, favourite cafe, etc).

The details…

While Easter story egg hunts and the like are an enjoyable and creative way to retell the Easter story, nothing beats simply sitting down with an open Bible, reading it together and talking through what it says, why it is important and what difference it should make to us now.

This is especially true for teenagers, who might need reminding of the certainty and facts of Easter or perhaps would benefit from a chance to air their questions or doubts.

So, on Easter Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday, plan to go somewhere special where you can sit down with your child/children and simply read the Bible together. John’s account of Jesus’ death and resurrection and appearances in John 19:28-20:31 is great for seeing the bigger picture of Jesus’ death and resurrection in terms of who Jesus is and what he has done (John makes this clear in John 20:30-31, which really hits home the application of the Easter story: believe Jesus is who he says he is and receive eternal life through faith in him!).

Easter is a memorial and a celebration

Whatever you do, make sure that you take time as a family to remember Easter and it’s significance for us as followers of Jesus, and take time to celebrate it.

It is extremely good news, after all!