Our family likes to make regular contact with our neighbors to let them know we are thinking about them. Here is an idea we tried several years ago.
Make springtime shapes such as flowers or butterflies from colored paper. With fine-tip markers, letter a friendly greeting, such as “Jesus is Alive! Hallelujah! Happy Easter from....” Sign your names. Then deliver these to your neighbors with some cookies or muffins and a Gospel of John booklet. (You can get these free at www.pocketpower.org) If your church is having special services for Good Friday or Easter, be sure to tuck an invitation in with your card! You never know who may come, or what conversations this may open up.
Another way to make butterfly decorations is to use coffee filters and either paint or colored water. Take a coffee filter, hold it with the small end at the bottom, and cut off the two sides. Open it up, then put small blobs of washable tempera style paint in between the two layers. Close it back up again so that the paint spreads symmetrically on both sides. Open it up and let it dry, then cut around the edges to give it a butterfly shape. OR use medicine droppers to dribble colored water on an opened coffee filter. For either kind, make a black body and antennas for it and attach it to the middle.
THE JESUS GAME
by Virginia Knowles
My neighbor Marie used to bring over day old baked goods that she picked up for free at a local grocery store. One year, just before Easter, she brought over a huge sheet cake. We knew we couldn't eat it all ourselves, so we decided to have an Easter party for about 10 neighbor children, ages 4 to 11. I decided not to plan anything fancy, just cake, soda pop and the following game.
I gathered up several objects from around the house and hid them in a pillowcase. I blindfolded each child in turn, and had them try to figure out what I put in their hands. Each item represented some facet of the story of Christ. When they said what the "thing" was, I asked everyone, "Why did I choose this item?" I was pleasantly surprised that even the children who don't usually attend a church knew many of the answers. They also thought up some extra ones that I hadn't.
- apple -- the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden which has been passed down to all of us
- 3 lb hand weight -- the burden of sin feels heavy on us -- we need someone to lift it away
- toy lamb -- Passover lamb, sacrifice for sin
- baby doll -- Jesus came as a baby
- Band-Aid in wrapper -- Jesus healed people
- flash light -- Jesus is the light of the world
- hand towel -- King Jesus washed his disciples feet and set the example as a servant -- this can also represent his burial shroud
- cross -- Jesus died for us
- nail -- the nails went through his hands and feet
- dice -- the soldiers gambled for his clothing
- rock -- the angel rolled the stone away from the tomb
- soap -- Jesus washes our sins away
- heart -- Jesus loves us
- small house -- he is preparing a home for us in Heaven
- G, O, and D letter shapes (from a wooden puzzle) -- we can't see God, but he is there!
The game went over very well with our neighbor kids, some of whom had no church background at all. One 2nd grader commented that it helped him think about Jesus and God, so I know it was worth the small effort on my part! Another year, I used the same game in the four year old Sunday School class, and they enjoyed it as well. The class was big, so we split them into three groups, and had the other two groups do other activities.
This reminds me of the Resurrection Egg sets that you can buy, which have tiny little symbols inside of plastic eggs. We used to do these each year at our former church's Good Friday picnic, and there are instructions for this in one of the following articles. The benefit of using large objects, though, is that the children can see and handle them more easily, and it lets them guess what each thing is.