As much as I love simply reading to our four-year-old daughter from the Bible, there’s something about giving her the opportunity to use her hands and imagination to further help the Word sink into her little heart. I love to find and create interactive ways that teach God’s Word, whether that is through crafts, artwork, or imaginary play.
A quick Internet search on the importance of hands-on learning will give you an overwhelming amount of research to back up what seems to come naturally for little ones. What seems like just playing to us grown-ups is really a complex way for our children to learn by using their creativity and senses.
Finding interactive ways to teach biblical truth also takes a bit of pressure off because teaching can become more conversational. With Easter around the corner, my husband and I brainstormed on three ways we could engage with our daughter while also teaching her the importance of what Jesus did for us on the cross.
My husband’s favorite hobby is Lego! He still has all of his childhood Legos, and it’s typically what he receives as gifts still today. Now it is something that he enjoys doing with our daughter. He loves to build various sets, and she loves to use her imagination with the little Lego characters, also called Minifigures. I knew I had to recruit him to build a couple of scenes to talk about the story of Easter with her. Playing with Legos gives kids the opportunity to work on fine motor skills, spatial awareness, experimentation, patience, perseverance, problem-solving, the list could go on. When you pair these skills with a Bible story, then you’re really helping God’s Word sink in on a completely different level.
Last year our daughter became really fascinated with fairy gardens. She could spend hours exploring the little garden we created for her with her fairies. I loved the idea of creating something similar but for her to be able to act out the story of Jesus on the cross and then His burial and resurrection. Building a resurrection garden for your child to play with helps them to explore imaginary play. Imaginary play is great for language and emotional development and social and thinking skills, and again great for inviting them to act out the Bible story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
How to build your own: 1 terra cotta plate, 1 small terra cotta pot, rocks or marbles, a birds nest turned upside down (for Golgotha), two sticks tied together in a cross, peg dolls, and a little imagination!
I added a little color to the terra cotta and peg dolls because we love color, but it’s certainly not necessary to the story!
Both the Lego idea and the Resurrection Garden can be played with together as a family, while also reading from God’s Word. Then let them have fun using their imagination!
Observe Communion Together as a Family
A fun (and yummy) way to give your child the opportunity to use other senses like smell and taste is to create a family communion time. This creates a great atmosphere to teach the importance of communion, as well as Jesus’ time with His disciples prior to being sent to the cross.
Depending on the age of your child(ren) you can really go in-depth with explaining the first Passover when the Israelites were protected and passed over by the angel when all the firstborn Egyptians were killed. Or you can simply focus on the Last Supper and the meaning of the new covenant that Jesus ushered in with His sacrifice on the cross by reading from Luke 22:19-20.
You can keep it light while also teaching that when you observe communion you want to ensure your heart is in the right place. I place a high value on using biblical words in our home, and its simple to do while still keeping it age-appropriate. Simply ask them if they have anything they need to confess, like disobedience or unkindness. Then in one or two sentences explain that being a part of communion is very serious and is to be a time to remember what Jesus did for us on the cross so it is important to do so with a humble heart. Read 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 about the importance of participating in communion without unconfessed sin.
You could even invite your child to help with making unleavened bread for an added sensory exploration. Then pick a fancy glass to share grape juice as a family just like Jesus and His disciples. Tear and pass the unleavened bread to each other while reading scripture together. (Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, or Luke 22:7-23)
How to make unleaved bread:
2 cups of flour (potentially more)
1 teaspoon (or more if needed)
½ cup of cold water
Mix together flour and salt then add water, mix together until dough forms. Add more flour if needed. Then on a hot griddle or pan, melt butter, coconut oil or olive oil. Take some dough, roll it out to about ¼ inch thick, and then place it on the hot pan or griddle for a few minutes until it bubbles. Flip over for another few minutes. Remove and enjoy with grape juice and time in God’s Word!
I pray these ideas encourage you to be intentional with your time as you prepare your own hearts and the hearts of your children as we approach Easter!
In Him, Tamara
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