Thursday, May 5, 2011

Easter for Toddlers without Bunnies and Eggs

Jesus Loves Little T

I grew up celebrating Easter Sunday with a dawn mass on a crowded street in my small town. Recollections, confessions and other religious activities led up to it. I believe I only encountered the Easter Bunny and Easter Eggs in adulthood and have never really given them any thought. As Holy Week approached, I knew I wanted a meaningful introduction for Little T, and bunnies and eggs are definitely out. But how does one teach a three-year-old about death and coming back to life?

THE BOOK The picture book Toddlers Bible Easter Story made it easy for me! I found it my sister’s attic where I usually go when I’m looking for books and toys for Little T, but that’s another story. The Toddlers Bible Easter Story is a much simplified version of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem up to the Resurrection. I set to work using the technique I learned from Before Five in a Row: make the details the jumping point!

PALM SUNDAY Reading the book together as well as reading some of the Bible verses everyday helped Little T learn the story. When we went to mass on Palm Sunday, she was ready to wave the palm branch we bought outside the church. At home, we sang Hosanna with egg shakers and tambourines while Wonderful G accompanied us with his guitar for some music time. It was special as it reminded me and Wonderful G of our days of worship with Youth for Christ.

Palm Sunday celebration
LAST SUPPER The Last Supper was about Jesus eating with his friends. So we had Little T’s friends over for a play date and served them “Last Snack Supper”, as Little T puts it.

JESUS PRAYS Jesus prayed that He would be able to follow God. Little T has another word for follow – obey. It was a good reminder to obey her parents, especially now that she is really testing her limits… and my patience! We talked about that when we read Corduroy, which I will write about next time.

CRUCIFIXION How to deal with the crucifixion? I was saved by the nails and hammer in our picture book. We inspected nails on wood and compared them against screws and played I Spy a Crucifix – we found six, including one in my rosary. The simple craft of a cross with a heart inside, an idea from the Toddlers Bible Easter Book, was the perfect way to bring the message of Easter to our family: Jesus died because He loves Papa, Mama, Little T, and Baby Boy.

EASTER SUNDAY I was really out of ideas on how to approach Easter. Little T asked what a tomb was, so that’s vocabulary right there. Other than that, I had nothing but a special memory of Easter Sundays past. Wonderful G and I roused ourselves up at 4:30 in the morning and brought Little T and (feverish) Baby Boy to the dawn mass in our parish. It was simple compared to the one I grew up with in my small town, but with just a few parishioners, Little T got a good view of Jesus and the Virgin Mary meeting and having the veil taken off.

I think all in all it was a good introduction for a three-year-old to the holiest of holy days. How did you prepare your child for Easter?

Have a fun, magical week!

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renski said...

Nice post! I would love to read an entry about how you and the kids are handling the unbearable summer heat. I sure hope baby boy isn't having a difficult time dealing with his first summer. :)

thelearningbasket said...

Hello renski! Baby Boy is still very much the happy baby despite the heat. :) Ad I'm writing something about the heat and summer activities, actually! Keep posted. :)