by Katie Julius
Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, the remembrance of the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as the people waved palm branches and shouted “Hosanna!” (John 12:13), a stark contrast to the events that would occur later that week. This week, culminating in Resurrection Sunday, is the foundation of our Christian faith. There are a number of traditions and activities that families do to remember the events of this pivotal week. We’ve collected several ideas here for you to explore and try with your family!
This is probably one of the most well-known activities, especially for families with younger children. In short, plastic eggs are filled with items that represent different parts of the Easter story and a slip of paper with the corresponding Bible verse on it. You can go through the entire story in one sitting or do a few eggs each day. There are several versions that include different numbers of eggs and items, so a simple Google search will give you the opportunity to select the one that is the best fit for your family.
Easter Story Rocks
Like the Resurrection eggs, images are painted on rocks to tell the story of Holy Week. The one we’ve used in the past is just 8 rocks (one for each day starting with Palm Sunday through Resurrection Sunday), but there are some with 12 (as an alternative to the 12 egg version). Our favorite version of these can be found here.
Sight & Sound Theatres’ Production of “Jesus”
While we have not attended one of their productions in person, we have thoroughly enjoyed several of the recorded productions they have made available on their website. This Friday, April 2, they will be livestreaming their production of “Jesus” for a small fee, with encore presentations throughout the weekend. Editor’s Note: We have not previewed this and do not know how graphic it may be. We encourage you to either preview the play in advance or watch with your children.
Jesus’ life was filled with examples of service. While it’s important to have the attitude of service year-round, planning a special service project as a family as part of your Holy Week experience is one way to remember Jesus’ servant’s heart. It can be something as simple as picking up trash at a local neighborhood park, delivering flowers to neighbors (especially elderly ones who may not get out much), or volunteering for Easter services at your church.
The Passover event chronicled in Exodus is the precursor to the death and resurrection of Jesus. There are many parallels to Christ in the Passover and our family has treasured our participation in this celebration the last few years. Many churches now host Passover events. There are also some resources available online that can help you celebrate with your family. Our family has pieced together elements from different websites to create our own remembrance of this, but the most helpful one we found was this one from Jennifer Duckslee.
If you have a green thumb or just need to add some spring plants to your Easter decor, creating a resurrection garden is a great option. You can either create a large version with the whole family or smaller individual ones, depending on your kids’ ages and interest. As you build your garden, you can talk about the different parts of the Resurrection story. As you watch your grass grow, you can discuss the new life that Christ’s death and resurrection gives to us. Again, there are a number of places you can find instructions to create a Resurrection Garden.
Do you love to bake? Need a fun treat for Easter morning? Resurrection rolls could be the answer. While our family hasn’t tried these yet (baking isn’t my forte), we know several families who really enjoy this tradition. And it’s a great object lesson, especially for young children. There are lots of different recipes out there, so a quick internet search will yield a plethora that you can look through to find the one that sounds the yummiest to you!
Lent Art Journal
This is a favorite of mine (since I’m particularly keen on art, as is my daughter). This downloadable PDF includes 40 cards with Scriptures and a place to draw, sketch or paint (if you print on thick paper) your reflection on the verse. Since we are almost to Easter now, this may be one you want to tuck away for next year or you can pull out verses for Holy Week and focus on just those few.
Read “The Tale of the Three Trees”
Our family typically reads this book at Christmas and Easter. As an adult, I still love this book. It’s a great reminder to trust that God’s plans are better than we could ever hope or imagine and that we need to be willing to be used by Him and follow His leading. You can find this book at most any bookstore, including here on Amazon.
Act Out the Easter Story
This is not something that our family has tried before, but is a really neat resource that I came across while finding the other links for this article. Since my daughter is into theater, it’s one I plan to use this week. You can use this paper theater to act out the story or create your own full-size production with your family or friends.
Our family has used a variety of devotions created specifically for families over the years. While this is not an exhaustive list by any means, these are some we have enjoyed or others have recommended to us. There are often family-friendly activities incorporated into the devotions, making a memorable and relatable experience for everyone.
- Focus On The Family: Walking Through the Holy Week
- A Sense of the Resurrection
- Gather Round Easter Curriculum
- Our Out of Sync Life: Take Me To The Cross (great for preschool or early elementary)
- We are KidMin: Easter Activity Book (available as hard copy and downloadable PDF)
- Campfire Curriculum: In the Season of: Resurrection Day
Does your family have any special traditions to celebrate Holy Week? Share in the comments below.
Katie is a homeschool mom to one energetic, full-of-life, pedal-to-the-metal, insanely creative third grader. She holds degrees in Art and Education and is a self-proclaimed crafter and artist, both traits inherited by her daughter. When she’s not teaching phonics, practicing math facts, or elbow-deep in craft supplies, she also serves as the Communications Manager for CHEA. Katie is married to husband, John, and lives in Southern California.