Some ideas for celebrating Holy Week (the week before Easter) with your children. It’s not too hard, really. Read the story together and choose a detail or two to experience. If the text is too long for your kids, paraphrase or tell the story yourself. I chose Mark’s rendition as it is the most action-packed and swift moving. (It is also the earliest account).
Palm Sunday: Triumphal Entry
- Read the story. Mark 11:1-11.
- Stage a triumphal entry with your children as the characters. If you have a large dog, it can be the donkey.
- Wear biblical costumes (draping or tying material works well)
- Sing songs with “Hosanna” in them. Blessed is He by Steve Green is our personal favorite.
- Wave palm leaves (you can make them out of paper if needed or steal them from your neighbor’s tree)
- Play “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”. Hahahaha.
- Read the story. Mark 11:12-19.
- Read the story in Mark 11:27-13:37. Or just the story of the fig tree in Mark 11:20-25.
- Read the story in Mark 14:1-11
- Re-enact the story of the unnamed woman
- Get out mommy’s (or Grandma’s) strongest smelling perfume and take a whiff
Maundy Thursday: The Last Supper
- Read the story. Mark 14:12-25 before or during the meal and Mark 26-72 after the meal.
- Wash each other’s feet
- Have an informal Seder meal (pronounced “say-der”). That’s the Jewish passover meal that Jesus would have had as what we call “The Last Supper”.
- Have a more involved Seder meal
- Celebrate Communion instead of doing the whole meal (unleavened bread and grape juice)
- Re-enact the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Good Friday: The Crucifixion
- Read the story. You could even break it down and read it throughout the day.
Mark 15:1-21 (6-9am)
Mark 15:22-32 (9am-noon)
Mark 15:33 (noon-3pm)
Mark 15:34-41 (3pm-6pm)
Mark 15:42-47 (6pm and Burial)
- Make hot cross buns
- Dress in black
- Sing songs related to the crucifixion
- Keep the general mood sad
Holy Saturday: The Day of Rest*
- Wear black again today
- Imagine what it was like to not know about the Resurrection
- Pretend to be dead, holding as still as possible, like Jesus in the tomb.
- Observe a minute of silence (or 30 seconds, or 15 seconds, or 5 seconds, depending on the age and abilities of your children)
*Celebrating Holy Saturday is difficult in the Adventist tradition, which generally remembers and celebrates the entire Holy Week story in one morning at the church service on Sabbath. Jumping the gun, I’d call it. Hmmm… any ideas?
Easter Sunday: The Resurrection
- Wake your children up early by saying, “Christ (or Jesus) is Risen!”
- Wear new clothes, or white
- Attend a sunrise service, even if it’s not hosted by your own church
- Read the story (Mark 16). It is interesting to note that the earliest manuscripts of Mark did not contain an account of the resurrection. Apparently the idea was that the Good News would then have to be given in person. Interesting, huh?
- Re-enact the women going to the tomb and their surprise and joy
- Sing songs of joy!!
- Plan a happy, fun, active day!!
Let me know if you try any of these ideas, or made up your own. You can read more ideas (some involving Easter eggs) at these sites:
Liturgical Year for Little Ones