Yes it’s almost Easter time and a topic that seems to come around every year about this time is how much of the Easter story to share with preschoolers. Many people have opinions on what is the right way to share the Easter story with preschoolers. Some people avoid the story all together because they feel that telling about Jesus dying on the cross may be too much for little ones. They think it’s too violent. Others focus on Palm Sunday and the resurrection, choosing to simply tell preschoolers that Jesus is alive and leave it at that. Still others tell the whole story from start to finish. However you choose to tell the story to your preschooler is up to you. There isn’t a right or wrong way to share the story of Jesus crucifixion and you know your kids best. You know when your child is ready to hear the whole story. With that said, I wanted to give you a couple of hints of things that I have done in the past when sharing the Easter story.
1. Focus On the Positive. Be sure to emphasize that Jesus didn’t stay dead. He is alive! Yes, He did die on the cross, but He is alive and well and He doesn’t hurt any more. (I had one little girl who was afraid that Jesus hands and body still hurt even though He is alive. I reassured her that Jesus is alive and completely well. He doesn’t hurt any more.) I would recommend telling only the highlights and not all the graphic details with preschoolers.
2. Keep It Simple. Whether you choose to tell or not to tell about the crucifixion, keep it simple. I usually state that Jesus died in a matter-of-fact way, as simply something that happened. Jesus died because He loved us, but He didn’t stay dead, He rose from the dead and He is alive. He is with us everyday even though we can’t see Him. He wants to be our forever friend.
3. Let Kids Know It’s Okay To Be Sad. Yes, it was sad that Jesus died. His friend were sad when He died and we can feel sad when we hear about what happened to Jesus or when something sad happens to us But remember, Jesus didn’t stay dead did he? No way! Jesus is God and He can do anything. He is alive! He’s our forever friend and He can help us feel better when we feel sad.
4. Listen To Your Child. Watch and listen to your child as you tell the story of Jesus‘ death and resurrection. Is he/she looking worried? Does he/she have questions? Reassure, comfort, go over the story again, pray together. Take time to really understand where your child is coming from and ask God to help you tell your little one in such a way that he/she will be able to understand yet not become overwhelmed. Most of all, ask God to help you tell your child how much God loves and cares for him/her.
Whatever you decide your child is ready to hear, do let his/her know that Jesus wants to be his/her forever friend too. He is alive and He loves you.
- Use appropriate illustrations – nothing too graphic. I like the Bible Ap For Kids stories that you can download on your phone. They are very preschool appropriate. Resurrection Eggs are also fun to use. They are colorful plastic eggs with various objects inside that help tell the Easter story. For preschoolers, I like using just a few of the eggs instead of the whole dozen or making up my own with just a few objects or pictures inside.
- Use a simple Children’s Bible or Bible Storybook .
- Some online resources are “The Jelly Bean Prayer” and “Resurrection Rolls”
- Don’t Create Fear. Let your child know that Jesus did what He did because He loves us. He didn’t have to die for us, He chose to because He loves us so much and wants to be our forever friend.
- Don’t Stop With the Cross, It didn’t end there. Young children need to know that Jesus is alive. He didn’t stay dead, He is alive and He is totally okay. Never stop with the cross, but always end with the resurrection. Jesus is and forever will be alive and well! That is good news for any age.
I’m so thankful for what you did for me by dying on the cross. You forgave me and you love me so much. I want to help the little ones in my life understand that you loved them enough to die for them too. Help me to tell the story in such a way that they will understand and yet not be afraid. I want them to know that even though you died on the cross, you are now very much alive and that you are okay. I want them to know that you are alive forever. I also want them to know that because you died, but rose again, you can be their forever friend. Thank you for opportunities to share your story with kids. Help us all to understand what you did and the magnitude of your great love for us. Amen
A STORY TO SHARE WITH YOUR CHILD THIS WEEK: Praise Parade
REFERENCE: Matthew 21, John 19
Clip, clop, clip clop went the donkey, – (Pat knees with hands.)
That Jesus rode on that day.
Eagerly the children watched, – (Put hands by eyes as though watching.)
As Jesus rode their way.
They knew that Jesus loved them. – (Give self a hug.)
He was their special friend.
He said, “Let the children come to me.” – (Beckon come with hands.)
And He welcomed and blessed them.
A BIG crowd had gathered, – (Stand up.)
On both sides of the road,
Spreading their coats and palm branches, – (Wave palm branches)
They praised Jesus as He rode.
It was a special day,
Just like a big parade. – (March in place.)
The people shouted, “Hosanna!” – (Shout, “Hosanna!”)
What a happy sound they made!
Even the children shouted, – (Say Yeah, Jesus!)
“Hosanna!” to Jesus their friend.
Joining the happy celebration,
They shouted their praise to Him. – (Say Yeah, Jesus!)
Jesus wants us to praise Him.
You can praise Him too.
Praise Him by saying, “Thank you,
Yeah, Jesus! I really love you.”
A few days after all the people praised Jesus, He died for you and me. He died for us because He loves us and wants to forgive us. He didn’t stay dead though. He rose from the dead and is alive again. That’s why we celebrate Easter because Jesus is alive! He loves you so much and wants to be your forever friend. You can ask Him to be your friend by asking Him to forgive your sins (anything wrong that you have done) and help you to live for Him.
Dear God,Thank you for sending Jesus to the world to be my forever friend. Thank you, Jesus for loving me. I want you to forgive me and be my friend. Thank you that you are alive and that you will always be with me. Amen
MEMORIZE: (Please note: This verse can be sung to the tune of “London Bridge” if you repeat “Everywhere” three times.
Acts 10:38 ERV – (Hold hands as thought holding a book)
Jesus went – (Touch finger to palm of one hand and vice versa)
Everywhere – (Spread hands out to the sides.)
Doing good – (Doing -tap fists together, Good – touch fingers to mouth and bring down to other hand)
For people – (Point 2 fingers outwards with one hand and then the other rapidly)
KNOW: The people praised Jesus. I can praise Jesus.
TALK ABOUT: Jesus loves me.
ASK: Who wants to be your forever friend? Jesus wants to be my forever friend.
AND DO: I can love and praise Jesus.
* Put on some praise music and dance with your preschooler.
* Fill a few plastic Easter eggs with rice or beans to make a shaker. Shake the eggs as you say the verse together or dance together.
* Remember to say, “Thank you!” to Jesus for all that He has done for us.
WATCH FOR – Another post on a Story Eggs