Unscrambling that Empty Egg

We often speak of emptiness as a bad thing but sometime “empty” is good.  That is the case of the empty tomb!

Many of us re-tell the resurrection story around Easter time.  I thought I would share my favourite teaching tool for telling the Easter story.   And, yes, it involves plastic eggs.

I did not come up with this teaching idea but I have to say I’ve used it over and over through the years.  Kids love it and teachers find it very easy to use.  I published a blog post about it in 2012 but I think it is worth posting again.

Here’s what you do:
(click here for printable instructions)

  1. Collect 12 plastic eggs and a used egg carton to store them in.
    Note that you don’t have to use plastic eggs if they are not available.  You can use 12 sacks or boxes or just cover the items with 12 cloths or paper.
  2. Use a permanent marker to number the eggs from one to twelve.
  3. Collect representative items (listed below) and put them inside the eggs.  Place the eggs inside the egg carton.
  4. Introduce the story by asking the children how they would feel if they went on an Easter egg hunt and every egg they found was empty.  Lead into the lesson by saying sometimes it is GOOD if an egg is empty.  Sometimes an empty egg is the best egg of all.
  5. Open the egg carton and begin the lesson by opening egg number one.
  6. As you open the eggs one at a time you re-tell the story to the children.  You might let them guess what each of the items might represent.
  7. After you tell the story distribute the eggs to the children and let them take turns re-telling the story.
  8. If you are able and have fewer children then you might help the children make one of these sets each to take home.

Here’s a list of items for inside the eggs:

 

As I said, this idea is not new with me.  I’ve listed some sites I have seen that explain some other variations.

25 Ideas for Teaching Children about the Resurrection of Jesus

25 Ideas for teaching Resurrection

Many teachers are making plans to tell the resurrection story on Easter Sunday.  Whether at Easter or any other time here are some ideas that will help you share what is the most important event in the Bible.

“For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.”
Romans 6:9, NIV

  1. Learn about the Burial and Resurrection of Jesus so you will understand the story and feel comfortable sharing it with a child.
  2. Sing songs together from the church hymnal about the resurrection:
  3. Visit a mature older Christian and ask them to share why the Resurrection is important to them.
  4. Black out the windows of your classroom to make it dark like the tomb.  Quietly tell the story of the resurrection by the light of a candle or by torch/flashlight
  5. Place a dark cloth over a small table to form a “tomb”. Ask someone to be the body inside. Place a cardboard rock at the entrance. Let the children see the body inside and then put the stone in place. “The body” crawls out the back and the children remove the stone to see an empty tomb. Young ones love this obvious re-enactment.
  6. Choose words related to the resurrection story and tape them onto stones.  Before class begins hide the stones so that children can hunt for them.  As the children collect the stone discuss the meaning of the words.  Here are some words you might use:
    • Death
    • Burial
    • Resurrection
    • Cross
    • Tomb
    • Forgiveness
  7. After telling about the Resurrection guide a child in praying thanks to God.
  8. 9-torn-cross-instructUse these instructions for The Story of the Cross to learn a simple way to tell the story using one sheet of paper.
  9. Responsive Drawing:  Guide older children in reading today’s scripture references.  Then have them draw about what they have read.  Use a blank piece of paper or print this worksheet: The Burial and Resurrection of Jesus_Drawing Response
  10. Responsive Writing:  Guide older children in reading today’s scripture references.  Then have them draw about what they have read.  Use a blank piece of paper or print this worksheet: The Burial and Resurrection of Jesus_Writing Response
  11. Ask younger children to draw the story of the resurrection.
  12. Make use of plastic eggs on sale at Easter time.  Use these instructions for “Resurrection Eggs” to re-tell the story of the resurrection.
  13. Burial and Resurrection CraftMake a tomb craft from a paper plate.  Cut a paper plate in half, paint if desired, and then staple the top rims together.  To make the body of Christ cut a simple body shape from cardboard, wrap with one layer of toilet paper and dampen with water from a spray bottle, repeat layers and let dry.  The stone is just crumpled brown paper.  In one class we had the children each make a tomb and then put the body inside.  During the week I moved the stones and removed the bodies.  The next week we were going to be studying about the resurrection.  When the children arrived that day they immediately went to the tombs they had made and were shocked to find the body missing.  I let them search and conjecture for awhile before leading into the story of how the women came to the tomb to find Jesus’ body missing.  The children could totally relate to how the women must have felt.  At the end of class I returned the “bodies” so that the children could take the craft home and recreate the event for their families.
  14. 2015 Verse scramble (2)Write the individual words of Romans 6:9  on a whiteboard or chalkboard.  Say the verse together. Erase one word or phrase and say the verse again. Say it over and over, eliminating one word or phrase each time.  Soon, the children will have it memorised.
  15. Write the individual words of Romans 6:9 on pieces of paper and then mix them up.  Children can unscramble the verse to and memorise it.
  16. Print and use a colouring page or puzzle from one of these online resources.
    1. Colouring page and puzzle worksheets (Resurrection) at http://calvarycurriculum.org/pdf/Curriculum/Original/Curriculum/CURR238.PDF
    2. Colouring page and puzzle worksheets (Peter and John visiting the tomb) at http://calvarycurriculum.org/pdf/Curriculum/Original/Curriculum/CURR239.PDF
    3. Colouring page at http://www.sermons4kids.com/easter-sunday-colorpg.htm
    4. Colouring page at http://www.christiananswers.net/kids/clrpg015.html
    5. Colouring page and Wordsearch at http://www.colormountain.com/print/placemat.php?id=584
  17. Cook rolls that share the story of the resurrection: Cooking craft: Short youtube video on how to make Resurrection Rolls to tell the story- from CullensABCs at http://youtu.be/louAYkJPETQ
  18. Make a mobile using these instructions at http://www.sundayschoolcrafts.net/jesus-rose-from-the-dead-moblie.php
  19. Make a miniature garden using instructions at http://www.sundayschoolcrafts.net/garden-with-tomb.php
  20. Make a salt dough tomb using instructions from one of these online resources:
  21.  Life of Christ_LateTry out some of the ideas on the Pinterest Board: Life of Christ (late ministry)
  22. More puzzles and worksheets to print:
  23. Try one of these interactive group games from http://www.sermons4kids.com/surprise_its_empty_group_activities.htm
  24. Try one of the online activities and games at http://gardenofpraise.com/bibl31s.htm
  25. Before, during, and after your teaching, be sure to praise God for the resurrection of Jesus!

25 Ideas for teaching Resurrection

Curiosity that Leads to God

Photo by Mikhail Kryshin downloaded via Flickr. Use licensed by Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/When was the last time you were curious about something?  I mean really curious; the kind of curiosity that compelled you to get off the couch, or out of the office to go and earnestly seek out the answer; the burning desire to “know” that enticed you to look around the corner or walk down the untravelled path.

How energising is that quest!  How thrilling and satisfying is the answer once found!

I never want to deny a child the chance to feel that energy, thrill and satisfaction.  In my rush to GIVE information I must first allow children an opportunity to actually WANT it.

 

An Expectation of Curiosity

God draws children to himself through their curiosity.  I love how he prepares the Israelites leaving Egypt for future questions their children will ask.

In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.  Deuteronomy 6:20-21, NIV

Notice he says “when” your son asks you and not “if” your son asks you.  God knows children will be curious.

 

Curiosity Comes from God and Leads to God

God does not want us to feel the satisfaction before we have answers because he is the answer.  Only God can satisfy the curiosity and longing children (and adults) feel.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.  Psalms 63:1, NIV

 

Keep Them Guessing

PIC_0061The Bible is filled with interesting and attention-grabbing stories that children can easily relate to.  Before sharing a Bible story I will often share one small part of it as a “teaser”.  Here’s a fun and effective activity to try next time you teach children.  Keep Them Guessing is a simple activity where children are provided with items as clues to guess what comes next.

The photo at the top of the page is by Mikhail Kryshin downloaded via Flickr. Use licensed by Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

I Have Skeletons in My Closet

flickr CC cookiejan_2939715465I have to be honest, Halloween is not exactly my favourite holiday.  But one thing I really like about it is what happens afterwards.  After the big rush (and sometimes even before) there are all sorts of skeletons on sale!

Why is this a good thing, you might ask?  Why would I need to stock up on skeletons and stow them away in my closet?

It’s simple…I’m a Bible teacher!

Ezekiel and the Valley of Dry Bones

Bones and skeletons are great visual aids and conversation starters for the story of Ezekiel and the Valley of Dry Bones from Ezekiel 37:1-14.

I love to tell this story of hope.  This vision has the vital elements needed for a dramatic story.  The kids love the “creepy” image of dry bones lying all over a valley.  They can relate to how Ezekiel must have felt when the bones began rattling and coming together.  Tendons and flesh formed on them and finally God breathed his spirit into them.  If Ezekiel was hopeless because his people were in captivity he could finally understand how God had the power to bring a nation back to life.

Teaching Items in Post-Holiday Sales Bins

As a teacher I am always on the lookout for items that will help me share God’s Word in ways children can best relate to.  No one has to spend a lot of money or buy new things to teach children about God.  But if you live in a place where after-holiday sales provide extremely cheap items then this may be a great opportunity.  What are the holidays where you live?

After Christmas

  • Creche and manger scenes (angels, wise men, animals, Joseph, Mary, Jesus, the manger itself), pictures of Jesus as a baby, stars and spices like the wise men brought.  The obvious uses are for stories such as The Birth of Jesus and Wise Men and a Star.
  • Gaudy plastic strings of gold and silver garland can make great “treasure” when you later tell the Parable of a Treasure & a Pearl.
  • Greenery, artificial trees, candles and even twinkling lights bought in after-Christmas clearance sales really come in handy for costumes and acting out Bible stories later on.
  • You’re going to enjoy pulling twinkling lights out of storage when you tell the story of  Jesus Teaches about Salt and Light.

After Valentines Day

After Easter

  • This is the obvious time to find things like books and figurines to help you later tell the story of the Burial and the Resurrection of Jesus.
  • Since I teach infants and toddlers I sometimes use the little wind-up bunnies when I teach about Day 6-God Created Animals & People.
  • And I like to have a few plastic eggs on hand throughout the year so I can put verses or pictures inside and let the children hunt for them.  They are also great for telling the story of death, burial and resurrection of Jesus with Resurrection Eggs.

 After Halloween

After Thanksgiving

  • We can give thanks throughout the year so I’ve sometimes used items on sale after this holiday to teach stories such as Jesus Heals Ten Lepers.
  • And all of plastic fruit comes in handy for teaching about The Fruit of the Spirit.

Happy Teaching!

Who Took My Jesus?

Burial and Resurrection Craft

In two Wednesday evening bible classes I taught a group of children about the Burial and Resurrection of Jesus.

The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important story a child will ever hear because it is the core of the Gospel.  If it was not for the sacrificial death of Jesus and his resurrection from the dead none of us could receive forgiveness of sins and a relationship with God.  (see I Corinthians 15:1-5)

To help the children experience this story I chose a craft as an activity.  If a teacher chooses an appropriate and meaningful craft then the time spent making it can be used the time to “chat” or talk about what the bible says happened.

The children were given paper plates, paper and toilet tissue to make their own tomb, body and stone to re-enact the story.

The Tomb:

We cut a paper plate in half and cut out a “door” on one of the halves.  We painted one side of the plate black and the other grey to resemble the stone tomb.  Then we used staples to attach the edges together (see photo above).
As we made the tombs we talked about how Joseph of Arimathea arranged for the burial (John 19:38-42)

The Body:

We cut a simple outline of a body from cardboard.  Then we wrapped the body with a couple of layers of toilet paper.  After this first layer of toilet paper we then sprayed it lightly with water to dampen it.  (I supplied a spray bottle filled with water to make this easy)  Then we added a second layer of toilet paper and sprayed it. To add a scent like the spices we dapped on a little perfume.  We repeated this with a few layers until the damp (but not soggy) shape resembled a linen-wrapped body.  When this dried all of toilet paper remained stuck together.
Again, we continued the discussion (from the Scripture above) about burial customs and how they wrapped bodies in linen and placed spices in between the cloths.

The Stone:

This was simple to make by crumpling up paper into a ball.
As we made the stones we talked about how this big stone was put in place and guards placed over it (see Matthew 27:57-66)

At this point each child placed their tomb on a table and put the body inside.  Each carefully rolled the stone in place.  Because everything was still a bit damp we decided to leave them in the classroom until the next week.

The Resurrection!

Just before class the next week I went into the room and removed the “body” from each tomb and put it away.  Then I waited.  Just as I predicted, one by one the children arrived and went straight to the tomb they had created and moved the stone to look inside.  Each one found the tomb empty.  One child said, “Oh, no!  Who took my Jesus?”

Of course I told returned the bodies I had hidden but their reaction to an empty tomb was the perfect way to begin the class and talk about the resurrection.  The children got to experience the same emotions as the soldiers, the women and the apostles as they each found the tomb empty.  Mary Magdelene used almost the same words (verse 13) as the children when she said, “They have taken my Lord away…and I don’t know where they have put him.” (John 20:1-18).

This was a great class!

Note: You could teach this story in one lesson but you will need to distract the children while a helper removes the bodies from the tombs.