by Katie Julius

With the way Easter falls this year, the second half of March is filled with opportunities for learning about and celebrating special holidays, one of which is the most important holiday to our Christian faith. If you’re looking for some fun or meaningful ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), Palm Sunday (March 24), or Holy Week and Easter (March 31), we hope you’ll find some of these ideas are ones you can implement with your family this year.

St. Patrick’s Day – Sunday, March 17

  • Learn about St. Patrick (yes, he was a real person and served as a missionary to Ireland). You can also watch a video if you have younger kids. If you’re looking for some books (some educational, some just for fun), you can check out this list of picture books that incorporate St. Patrick’s Day and traditions that surround it.
  • Research shamrocks. Why are there three-leaf and four-leaf clovers? Try growing your own. Do a craft or art project (based on the age and interests of your children).
  • Make an Irish meal. Corned beef is a popular dish around this time of the year, but there are lots of other ideas, if you want some other options. You can also incorporate learning about the country, geography, and other aspects of the culture of Ireland while you’re at it.
  • Even though it doesn’t really tie into the original story of St. Patrick, you can use this day to also learn about rainbows – what the original meaning is (hint: see Genesis 6-9), the science behind rainbows, color theory for an art project, and more.

Palm Sunday – Sunday, March 24

  • Read the account of Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week
  • Make your own palm branches out of construction paper or poster board. Worship together as a family as you shout “Hosanna” and praise the King of kings. This tutorial is for a bit more advanced version than the usual cut-out ones.
  • Encourage each member of your family to create a palm branch for each way they can praise God. You could also learn about donkeys while doing a craft with your little ones (and even head to a local zoo or farm to see them up close).
  • Find out what Jerusalem would have been like in the early first century. 

Holy Week/Resurrection Sunday – Monday, March 25 – Sunday, March 31

  • There are so many options for families for devotions and activities for Holy Week. Of course, it’s always wise to start with the original source. You can use a reading plan like this one to guide you throughout the week.
  • If you do the “egg thing,” and have some older kids, consider a little bit of a different experience by trying out Ukrainian Pysanky Easter Eggs. You can purchase the materials through several different online stores like this one.
  • Participate in a Passover Seder meal. While often seen as a Jewish custom and tradition, this was the “last supper” that Jesus ate with his disciples before he was crucified. There is a lot of meaning in each of the elements that is applicable to our Christian faith. Using a guide that is written for Christians will help you as you lead your family through this important meal.
  • If you have teens, read the science of the crucifixion (this is a more recent version based on the Stations of the Cross) or watch and discuss the film, The Passion of the Christ.
  • Listen to a playlist of Easter hymns throughout your week to keep your focus on the sacrifice Christ made for us.
  • Participate in a Stations of the Cross experience. Many churches with a more liturgical leaning often host them during Holy Week, or you can even plan your own with your family.
  • Celebrate the Resurrection. While the death of Jesus was crucial to our faith, even more so is that He rose from the dead. However your family chooses to celebrate, let Resurrection Sunday (aka Easter) be a day filled with joy. It’s because of the Resurrection that we have hope for the future beyond this world.

We pray that as you make plans for any or all of these holidays in the next few weeks that these activities will bring you closer together as a family, provide you opportunities for discipleship, and strengthen your faith.