It has long been known that most children retain lessons more thoroughly when they are reinforced with a hands-on activity. Because of this, arts and crafts that illustrate concepts or stories that are learned in Sunday School are a valuable resource for Sunday School teachers and children’s church ministries.
Traditionally Christian holidays have been largely co-opted by secular marketing, and Easter is no exception. While Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the world at large is pushing eggs, bunnies, and cute little chicks. Using craft projects that illustrate Jesus’ death and resurrection, children can be reminded of the real reason for the holiday.
Easter season includes Pascha, Lent for those who follow it, Passover, and Easter, which includes Holy Week (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday). All of these have unique aspects that can be shown through projects with the children.
Ideas for Lent
The forty days of Lent end on Easter Sunday, and are a time when believers choose one or more things to sacrifice for God, and often includes fasting and self-denial, in honor of the sacrifice of Jesus when He gave Himself for the world.
- A diorama of Jesus in the garden can be made with a few rocks, a picture of one or more trees for the background, some moss, and a printout of Jesus praying, put together into a shoe box.
- Lent is a time when helping others is a primary focus. One way to keep this in the forefront is to have a jar or bucket with ideas for random acts of kindness inside. Each person can choose one thing from the container each day and complete the task. Some ideas include offering a compliment, helping a friend, doing a chore, picking up trash, or any number of other possibilities. Be creative!
Ideas for Holy Week
The triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem is commemorated the Sunday prior to Easter. Jesus rode a donkey and its colt into the city, where people lined the road with palm branches and clothing.
- Paper palm leaves for children to wave can be embellished with the verses pertinent to the triumphal entry.
- Trace children’s hands on white paper to make “palm” lilies, using a yellow pipe cleaner for the stamen, or trace them on green paper and combine them to make palm leaves.
Traditionally commemorating when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, this day is when some groups wash each others’ feet. It is also traditionally the day of the Last Supper.
- Trace children’s feet onto paper and use damp (but not wet) bits of washcloth to add color using watercolors.
This is traditionally the day when Jesus was nailed to the cross and gave up His earthly life.
- Trace a cross or crucifix on a sheet of thick paper, surround it by bright watercolors and fill in the cross with black ink or paint. Another option is to use masking tape or other removable tape to make a cross, so it can be removed after painting the paper, leaving an uncolored cross shape.
- A cross can be made from foil, using yarn under one layer to make it into a necklace.
- Using wire, loosely braid a bracelet, making a closeable opening. Using small pieces of brown cording, tie “thorns” along the bracelet. This will remind children of what Jesus went through on His way to the cross.
Resurrection morning, on the first day of the week, Easter is the day when Jesus arose from the grave, claiming victory over death.
- Use the common egg theme to make Resurrection Eggs. Fill a carton with plastic eggs, placing inside each egg a component of the Easter story, including a slip of paper with a verse. A small token or toy can help to reinforce the concepts. A suggestion of twelve items and associated verses:
- Donkey – Jesus rode on a donkey, Matthew 21:1-11
- Perfume – Jesus had His feet anointed by Mary, John 12:2-8
- Bread – the Last Supper, Matthew 26:17-19
- Coins – Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, Matthew 27:3
- Cross – Jesus carried His cross, John 19:17
- Thorns – the crown of thorns, John 19:2-4 or Mark 15:17
- Dice – Soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ garment, John 19:23
- Nail – Jesus’ hands and feet were nailed to the cross, John 19:18, 37, John 20:25-29
- Sponge – Jesus was offered vinegar on a sponge when He was thirsty, John 19:28-30
- Spices – bodies were covered in spices before burial, including Jesus, John 19:40
- Stone – the mouth of the tomb was covered with a stone, Matthew 27:59-60
- Empty egg – because the tomb is empty – He has risen! Matthew 28:6
- “Paid in Full” cross – make a cross of wooden craft sticks, then use adhesive to attach pennies or other small coins, as a reminder that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross paid in full for the sins of the world.
- Resurrection rolls – use biscuit dough or crescent rolls dough, wrap large marshmallows in the dough, then bake. The marshmallow soaks in to the dough, leaving the finished thing empty, like the tomb.
Where to Buy
Unfinished Wood Cutout - 25-Pack Cross Shaped Wood Pieces for Wooden Craft DIY Projects, Sunday School, Church, Home Decoration, 2.7 x 4.2 inches
Religious Easter Wreath Craft Kit by Fun Express (12 Per Order) - 12 Inch - Sunday School Crafts - Home Decor
50-Pack Cross Keychains - 1.2 x 1.75-Inch Wooden Cross Key Chain, Religious Key Chains for Party Favors, Sunday School DIY Craft
There are also ready-made kits available for simplicity.
The rainbow-colored background of these crosses shows through when the black coating is scratched off.
Use colored sand to fill the crosses. Each color has an associated meaning, which is printed on an included paper.
Paint comes with these plastic suncatchers, which can be painted and hung in a window after they dry.
Use these wooden cross cutouts for projects including the “Paid in Full” project. Painting or coloring these is also an option, and verses can be painted, printed, or glued on these.
These plastic suncatchers can be painted (paint not included) or colored with markers (not included).
These foam stickers include 120 puffy stickers that represent many different aspects of the Easter story. Use them in baskets or to create Easter crafts.
These kits make wreaths about 12 inches in diameter, using a foam circle and foam pieces to represent each part of the story.
50 cross keychains come in a package. The crosses are 1.75 inches tall and hang from a small chain. These come unfinished and can be used as they are, or they can be stained or painted.
A picture frame magnet kit, a stand-up cross, and a “What a Friend we have in Jesus” themed kit come together. Pieces are included to finish the projects.