I absolutely LOVE this idea for celebrating Lent with the kids, although for my little ones I might shorten it to just the week before Easter. Here is the blogger's description: "We placed a styrofoam wreath on the table, to be kept during the 40 days of Lent, with a cup of toothpicks nearby. Each night at dinner, those at the table had the chance to confess sin from the day. When they did so, they placed a toothpick in the wreath, symbolizing the thorns in the crown of Jesus on the cross....on Easter morning, before the children awoke, I removed all of the thorns and replaced them with spring flowers!" She also has a delicious looking recipe for sweet potato biscuits you might want to check out!
-- A Resurrection garden -- On Good Friday, take a baking dish and fill it with dirt, rocks, sticks, etc and a hollowed out potato (as a tomb). It makes a great decoration to remind us of Christ's sacrifice. On Easter morning, remove the potato and fill the garden with flowers to demonstrate the life that Christ brought through his death. HERE is a good picture and description of what one family did.
-- Resurrection eggs -- you can easily make your own or buy them at a Christian bookstore or Amazon -- the children crack open an egg each day and a small token corresponds with a Bible passage that explains the resurrection story.
-- Here is a great download for a 12 days of Easter unit to do with little ones. It corresponds to the resurrection eggs.
Benjamin's Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs is a great resource to go along with the eggs. My girls have really enjoyed following the story of Benjamin as he learns about Jesus. He gathers the same objects that are contained in the resurrection eggs.
Rocks in the basket -- Fill Easter baskets with rocks to represent your sins... you can write specific sins on the rocks or just say them as you place the rocks in the basket. Then cover the rocks with a red cloth to represent the blood of Christ, talking about Christ's death on the cross and what it meant for us. On Sunday morning you can replace the rocks with flowers representing life or whatever gifts you might wish to give your children on Easter morning and/or place the rocks in a different basket with the name of Jesus written on it to show how Jesus took away their sins.
Color a red dot on your children's palms and write their name on it to remind them that Christ died specifically for them!
This Focus on the Family article gives a special activity for each day of the week leading up to Easter.
Easter In The Garden -- a touching retelling of Easter as seen through a child's eyes
The Legend of the Easter Egg -- teaches the deeper meaning behind the Easter eggs -- a boy learns that just as a chick breaks out of an egg, so had Jesus broken free of the tomb of death. Easter eggs remind us that Jesus conquered death and gives us eternal life.
And just for fun, here are some twists to the traditional egg hunt:
Cascarones -- I love this fun idea of filling real, empty eggs with confetti and allowing the children to race around, smashing them on each other. I suppose it could get out of hand, but I love the avoidance of ridiculous amounts of candy and I think it would make for some fun pictures!
or you could just play this fun Easter Egg Bashing Game :)