Beyond the Easter Bunny: 10 Fun Family Traditions
by Darlene Franklin
How does your family celebrate Easter, beyond the traditional egg hunts and candy? Here are ten traditions meant to focus on the true meaning of Easter and extend the celebration beyond a single day.
- Art Project. Make a Resurrection Day poster or banner celebrating the holiday. Use whatever materials inspire your child’s inner artist: fabric, felt, poster board, crepe paper, paper, string. Talk with your children about what their symbols mean to them. As your children work, talk about how new life in spring time reminds us that Jesus died to bring us new life.
- Ancient Traditions. Early Christians often greeted each other by saying, “He is risen.” The response was, “He is risen indeed.” Practice this greeting in your family to generate a sense of excitement. Also, early Christians drew fish symbols on the ground because the first Greek letters for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior” resembled a fish. Assemble materials to create fish symbol jewelry while you talk about Jesus calling the fishermen or when they shared a meal of fish after the resurrection.
- Bible Verse Play. Have each family member look up Matthew 28:5-6 in their Bibles. Ask them to identify how many letters of the alphabet are used in the verse. Repeat verse six by itself until you can say it from memory. Hint: not all letters of the alphabet will be found.
- Treasure Hunt. As you plan your treasure hunt, whether you search for Easter eggs or something unique to your family, craft treasure box invitations. Make the lid to the treasure box removable from the design. Talk about the greatest Easter treasure—eternal life is available to all who believe in Jesus Christ, who rose from the dead. Explain how with both your treasure hunt and the treasure of eternal life, people must choose to accept it, or else the treasure goes unclaimed.
- Gift Eggs. Create egg banks from plastic eggs, egg cartons, cardboard or paper, and decorate. Be sure to leave an opening in the container. Draw names within your family. Each family member will fill the eggs with qualities he admires about the other, promises for him, and encouraging words. On Resurrection Day, exchange the eggs.
- Charades. Make a list of characters and events of the resurrection story. You may choose to include events from all of Passion Week, such as Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, the crucifixion and burial. Take turns acting out a charade for one of the characters or events. You could also do this as Pictionary or twenty questions.
- Easter Celebrations from around the World. Look into traditions from the world. You may want to reenact the Way of the Cross (Israel). Dress your children as angels to spread the good news (the Philippines). Wear green and white to symbolize peace, hope, and resurrection (the Abruzzo region of Italy). How about a kite as a resurrection symbol (Bermuda)?
- Easter Hymns. Learn the songs of the resurrection. Most hymnals have a section devoted to the seasons. You may also enjoy numbers from Easter pageants, contemporary music and choruses. Participate in musical events, make rebuses or illustrate hymns either with coloring pages or original drawings. Create a family hymnal of resurrection songs to use year after year. Add one or two new hymns every year until you can go Easter caroling.
- Family Easter Memories. There’s no better time of year for parents to share their testimony with their children. Family and church celebrations of Christmas and the resurrection were central to both my children coming to know the Lord. Keep a visual record of your family’s traditions. Revisit both the memories and the reason for the season as you look at your record of previous years. If you didn’t grow up in a Christian household, talk with your children about how different it is to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection as a believer.
- Movies/Pageants. Take your children’s age into account, but they don’t have to be sixteen to learn the details of Jesus’ death. Many churches and ministries give live reenactments of Jesus’ death and resurrection. You may even find a way to take part. On a smaller scale, join a sunrise service or create your own for Sunday morning.
Kids may expect candy, bunnies and eggs, but parents can offer them so much more—share the wonderful news of Jesus’ return from death to give us eternal life in as many ways as possible! Use these ten ideas as springboards for interactive, long-lasing holiday memories.
Darlene Franklin contributed the prayers to A 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women.
We’d like to hear from you. Please share your comments below or like us on your Facebook page. Be sure to check back each month for more articles and products available at your local Christian bookstore.