Thursday, April 28, 2011

An Easter Holiday Adventure at Home

It started when my twin girls brought home yet another colouring in picture of the Easter bunny - this time from Sunday school of all places. It was time for 'counter action' and I started to plan a week of fun filled and Christ centred Easter activities that did not exclude chocolate but made it clear that Easter eggs would not be getting dropped off by a furry creature and that dad would not be donning pink rabbit ears either! For which he was very grateful!

In the week before Easter we made Easter lapbooks. I found a wonderful website called ' which has a wonderful array of resources for teaching the Bible to children. I downloaded and printed off their Easter adventure lap book activities for free. The girls were so excited about making 'Easter books' and we were soon looking up Bible verses and talking about the Easter story and the death and resurrection of Jesus. Simple flip books to colour in and cut out and not a bunny in sight! We found some colourful flowery gift wrap to cover the outside of our lap books and one girl chose red and the other blue.

Here's a peek at what is on the inside. Simple and sweet - all that you need are cardboard folders, scissors, glue and colouring pencils and of course your Bible - it is a Scripture adventure after all. The bright Easter card is a folder within the folder to hold Easter egg memory verses - one of the printout activities from the sheets. Will show you shortly how we presented these. We had short but sweet discussions about Easter - and why eggs and rabbits are associated with this time of the year and how it is easy to forget about Jesus when all the colouring pictures being given out to children are of the Easter bunny. We also talked about the different seasons which can be confusing for a 5 year old when so much of what is available including the cards and the crafts, reinforces that Easter is in springtime, whereas down under it is the opposite season - no tulips or daffodils to pop into vases!

The next activity we enjoyed was making an Easter egg garland. This hung in our window for a few days and then I used it to decorate a basket for a special surprise on Easter day - more on that soon. Can you guess where I found the stripey card for making the eggs?

One trip to my husband's favourite store - he goes there at least once a week and I skipped into the paint aisle to pick up an assortment of paint sample cards (then spent half an hour trying to find my husband again - any other wives have this problem in the hardware store?!) He was relieved I was not planning on painting something in the house 'desert spice' I think!

Found the perfect stencil to trace for an egg shape

Cut out the egg shape then on the back write out an Easter memory verse or use the printout of the verses that come with the lap book sheets. On Easter morning at breakfast time we looked up the verses on each card. I must let you know that I am not taking any credit for these two activities. I found the links to both of these at the blog of a very creative mum called Kristen - the pajama mama. She is always sharing ideas of her own and links to other activities by wonderfully creative people. I am most grateful to those who take the time to do this - it saved me lots of time in planning for our week of Easter activities.

The alternative to an Easter egg hunt is my idea though and was partly inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the search for the golden ticket. It was also a very economical Easter activity. A pack of 5 Cadbury chocolate bars were $5.95. Total cost for our family under $12 which gave us a total of one kilo of chocolate. Compare this to buying separate Easter eggs in packaging which you are paying for and/or packs of eggs for Easter egg hunts which are usually small and not always the best tasting chocolate if you opt for economy brands.

After dinner on Easter Sunday we gathered the family - apart from big brother who was in Toowoomba at Easterfest (a Christian music festival) in knee deep water and rescuing his tent and belongings from one very soggy camp site after a torrential down pour. In the basket were ten chocolate bars wrapped in newspaper (including one for the big brother - consolation for missing seeing Switchfoot on account of having to evacuate!) I explained that in one of the bars was a golden ticket which held some very good news (hence the newspaper!) - an extra prize for the person that found it! As it was raining the bars would be hidden around the house. When it was time to go searching, dad and the children went racing round the house at top speed - looking in cupboards, under pillows, in the folds of towels and in every other conceivable nook and cranny. I actually had to try and remember where I had hidden them all when we had found all but two of the bars. It was so much fun - the laughter and the cries of 'I found one!' filled the house. But who had found the golden ticket?

Here's hoping!

It was found by one of the twins much to her delight. The golden ticket represented royalty - Jesus the King of Kings and the best news of Easter which is.... I asked her. 'Jesus is alive!' they proclaimed in unison! As she had found the Jesus ticket she could choose to share the tenth chocolate bar with her sister or receive a mystery prize. She had no hesitation in opting for the mystery prize which disproved my theory that the younger ones would go for instant gratification!` I announced that on dad's next day off (which is tomorrow) that she and her twin sister would be going out for lunch at MacDonalds - just dad and the twins - no one else. It was their special treat and they would be able to choose anything off the menu. This really is a treat in this house - we don't go out for burgers that often. Her reaction was to scream with excitement and I think it is the fact that the others don't get to go - it is her special prize. She hasn't stopped talking about going out with dad for lunch all week!

There were other treats and special moments. Baking rocky road brownie bars for morning tea and Anzac biscuits for another special day of remembrance on the Monday. I will try and remember to share these recipes as they were both yummy! Jubilant praise and worship at the morning service on Easter day. Returning home and smelling the aroma of lamb infused with garlic that had been slowly roasting in the oven. A special chocolate cake for dessert. Setting the table and using our special green glasses. Gathering leaves and flowers from the garden to make an Easter garden tray centrepiece. Twigs for a cross and a scooped out passion fruit for an empty tomb.

Lots of excitement, family chatter and most of all a celebration of the abundant life that we have in Christ because of His sacrifice. The twins did not stop talking most of that weekend. They kept announcing that 'Jesus died on the cross but rose again on the third day.' Now that's more like it girls! They were even proclaiming this as we walked up the street as stuffed rabbit toys smiled at them from shop windows. A little sense of warm relief flooded my soul and I was so glad that we had chosen to have a family Easter holiday adventure at home.

With Love and Joy,


A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

What a fun and family based Ester1 Just sounds wonderful! We celebrate the Real meaning of easter but our Families do not go for Chocolate buying or anything so It is always simple for us.....Though I do buy one big bag of Cadbury eggs to do a Hunt with my kids.

primitive ole frugal mumma said...

OH what a wounderful way to spend Easter the real meaning.... i think i'll be trying something like this in our home in the future , thanks so much for shareing!!

Blessings Heidi :-)

Suzanne said...

Love the ideas Ann! I am bookmarking that site's Easter section for next year, thanks.

Farming On Faith said...

You are such a clever Momma~ what wonderful memories you made!
Hope you are having a wonderful week!

Pam said...

I loved reading and going through the pictures. It was really sweet. Such great ideas, and snagged the little sight that you listed. She had some fun ideas too. I am going to direct my girls over here to see all that you did. I know as their families are growing up, they will be looking for some of inspiring ideas and I think they will love these.
Many Blessings,

Finding Joy said...

You have certainly been busy.

I was walking into the shopping centre just before Easter and I heard a mum say to her teeange son, do you want chocolate eggs for Easter or money - the teenager replied "money of course". I wonder how many parents buy gifts or give their kids money - just another holiday of handing out money and have no idea why we have Easter at all.

Katy said...

Beautiful, wonderful memories! thank you for the link to the site, as well! I am new to your site and wanted to say a big, merry **HELLO**!


Kristen, pajama mama said...

great job on the lapbooks (i love the floral paper) and the paint chip eggs! :)

Renata said...

I love your ideas Ann - thank you for sharing. My Mum always bought us chocolate bars instead of eggs as well - we were quite excited about it when we worked out how much more chocolate we were getting! Dave & I still get a chocolate bar instead of eggs!
We also try & teach our children about Jesus' death & resurrection (all year around , but definitely at easter) - it's a shame what the world has made of it.
This last easter Sunday was also our twin birthday so it was pure chaos - but fun!
Thanks for some great ideas


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