By: Hearts Alive Writer, Sara Buffington
To Prepare: If you plan to do this activity with very young children, you may wish to fold the white cardstock in advance.
Say: The apostle Paul reminds us of what the prophet Joel said--that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. We’re going to make a talking card that proclaims those words, “Jesus is Lord!” Give every child a white piece of cardstock, a colored piece of cardstock, scissors, markers, and a glue stick.
To Make a Talking Card:
To Prepare: Make copies of the printable, 1 per child. If you have white cardstock, make the copies on that. If you are doing this project with younger child, you may want to assemble the heart pockets for them.
Say: All people sin and need to repent. We should turn from our wrong behaviors. Then we will produce good fruit that shows others that Jesus lives in us. We are going to decorate some fruit. These are real fruits, like strawberries, apples, and pineapples, but remember that the kind of fruit Jesus is talking about is fruit from the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When people see those fruits in our lives, they will know that Jesus lives in us.
If you are using paint (instead of markers), give every child one paper plate. Pour a nickel-sized blob of paint in each color on each child’s plate (to give them a painter’s palette). Hold up a Q-tip and explain to the children that they will cover the fruits in dots of color. They will use the Q-tips like stamps, not paintbrushes. Use one Q-tip per color and dab very lightly (so the paint is thin and will dry). Encourage older children to add different color dots to create light and shade. Distribute the printable. Have the children cut out the fruit with scissors. Give each child another paper plate. They can lay the fruit on this paper plate and then start painting/stamping.
While the paint is drying, make the heart envelope. Fold the red construction paper in half. Cut a whole heart out of the paper, so you get two identical hearts. Staple or tape the edges of the heart but leave the top open. This creates a pocket for the fruits. When the fruits are dry, add them to the pocket. (See images above this article.)
To Prepare: Cut the ribbon in lengths. On cardstock, make a copy of the printable, 1 per child.
Say: Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume. We, too, should honor God with the best that we have. We don’t have to buy expensive perfume like Mary did, but we can offer God our money and our time by serving him and his people. Let’s make a craft to remind us to give of our best to God.
Hand out the printables and coloring supplies. The children may color their presents. Then cut out the cross of squares. Fold each line 90 degrees toward you to create a cube. Tape the sides of the cube, but leave the top open. Give every child a cotton ball. Let each child smell the essential oils or perfumes you brought in. If they like, they may put a drop on their cotton ball. (Some children are sensitive to odors and may not want to do this.) Once they have a scented cotton ball (or not), place the ball inside the cube. Secure the top with tape. Give each child a ribbon to gently tie around their cube. Assist in this step if necessary.
Say: This present reminds us to give of our best to God. Smell it--it reminds us of Mary’s beautiful gift of washing Jesus’ feet.
You will need the following assigned characters: two (or more) women, two angels (male or female), and Peter. Everyone else can be the apostles and those with them (male or female). If you have costumes or props, distribute them now to those who would like them.
Set up the tomb: Place two chairs side by side. Place the other two chair a little bit away from them, but in a symmetrical position. Drape the sheet over the chairs to create a tomb (it should be large enough for a child can crawl inside).
Say: We are going to act out the most surprising, amazing, wonderful day--the first Easter! Emphasize the words in italics to help cue the action. Some actions have been added to the story to make it more exciting to act out. The women went for a walk in the early morning. Walking, walking, walking, around and around and around. They were carrying spices to bring to the tomb of Jesus. When they got there, they gasped! The stone that had covered the tomb had been rolled away.
The women went inside the tomb. Where was Jesus? His body was not there. Then two angels appeared. They were bright as lightning. The women went over to the angels. The women were scared! Their knees were shaking. They fell face-down on the ground.
The angels said, “Why do you look here for Jesus? This is a place for dead people. Jesus is alive!” The angels smiled at the women. They helped them up.
The women were so happy! They clapped their hands! They hugged each other! They ran, ran, ran, around and around and around, to get back to their friends. Their friends all stood together, far from the tomb. They told their friends, the ones who had known Jesus. But the friends shook their heads no. They scratched their heads, but they could not understand. They turned their backs to the women.
But one of the friends, named Peter, jumped up and down. He had to know if this was true. Was the tomb empty? He ran, ran, ran, around and around and around, to get to the tomb. When he got there, he went inside the tomb. Sure enough, Jesus was not there. Peter came out of the tomb. He walked around slowly, scratching his head. He was walking, walking, walking--walking and wondering.
What could this mean? I know what this means, and so do you. It is just as the angels said. Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed!