**Wanted to be sure to report back about the 2-year-old version of the Easter Story Basket Project (adapted from here)... It was both fun and funny! :) For reference and so you don't have to click back I will just copy last week's original "plan" (in small font) below and comment throughout.
First, I've been trying to think about a "one-liner" that we repeat about Easter, the one thing we want Reed to "get" this year about Easter. This Christmas we talked a lot about how Christmas is Jesus' birthday, when God sent us Jesus to rescue us. I am thinking we will recall Jesus' birthday together and then talk about how on Easter Jesus rescued the whole world-- He died, He rose, and He will come again. All part of the rescue mission!
Our Easter "one liner" became (with motions!) "Up from the grave He arose!" Reed loved this! He would bust out in song randomly throughout the week!
The biggest overall change in the plans below is that I briefly talked through each egg and its meaning/one-liner and then only read the accompanying story if Reed wanted to...
Give Reed his Easter Basket and tell him that it is a special Sunday--Palm Sunday.
Talk briefly about the triumphal entry and how people worshiped Jesus, their King, with branches.
Lay green Easter grass in his basket and speak praises to our King.
One liner: Jesus is our King
Reed was mostly interested in pulling all of the grass out of the basket :) But each day before we opened a new egg, we would revisit the main points of the Easter story (each previous day/egg), starting with the grass that reminds us that "Jesus is our King." This weekend, he would encounter pieces of Easter grass here and there and hold it up and ask, "for Jesus?" haha
Read/paraphrase story of Mary anointing Jesus' feet with perfume ("Washed with tears" in Jesus Storybook Bible).
"Discuss" Jesus, our King, is more valuable than all our treasures on earth.
Add gold egg to basket with money inside that Reed gets to take to church on Sunday as offering to the King.
One liner: A gift for our King
This day was particularly funny because we had purchased a Cadbury creme egg for Daddy's Easter basket, and that is what Reed thought he was getting when we added an egg to our basket. :) He opened the gold egg and exclaimed, "a dollar!!" I told him it was a gift for King Jesus, and that he could bring it to church on Sunday. For a couple of days he kept trying to put it in his monkey bank, but I would just remind him that it is a special gift for King Jesus. :)
Read/paraphrase story of the Last Supper ("The Servant King" in Jesus Storybook Bible).
"Discuss" Jesus telling His disciples about His rescue mission and teaching them to remember His great big love.
Add purple egg to basket with a heart sticker inside- to wear as a reminder of God's love for us.
Sing "Jesus Loves Me."
One liner: Jesus Loves me!
This was one of my favorite days. We read the story together, and Reed was so proud to wear his "Jesus loves me sticker." I ended up putting a new heart sticker in the egg each day following for when we reviewed. I would ask Reed what the sticker reminds him of ("Jesus loves me!"), and then he would say something like, "He eat dinner with his friends?" I would answer with "Yes, Jesus ate a special dinner with his friends and taught them to remember how much he loves them." I think he honed in on the dinner part because he thought the bread in the illustration looked like a cookie. :)
Read/paraphrase story of The Garden of Gethsemane ("A dark night in the garden" in Jesus Storybook Bible).
"Discuss" Jesus prays and surrenders to His Father- It is time for the plan. Talk about how sad Jesus felt about taking on all the sins of the whole world.
Add dark green egg to basket with tissue inside. Talk about how our disobedience (mommy and daddy too!) that makes Jesus sad should make us sad too. Model repentance.
One liner: We have all sinned, but Jesus rescues us from our sin
I didn't bother with the egg this day; I didn't think Reed would get it. We just talked again about Easter, Easter week, and looked at each of our other eggs...
Read/paraphrase last part of "A dark night in the garden," which includes a snippet of Jesus' trial.
"Discuss" how Jesus was going to be punished, but didn't do anything wrong. (Part of God's Rescue Plan!)
Add clear egg and emphasize that Jesus was perfect; He never sinned.
One liner: Jesus was our perfect sacrifice
Same thing this day...
Read/paraphrase first half of "The sun stops shining" (crucifixion story) in Jesus Storybook Bible.
"Discuss" Jesus died on the cross to rescue everyone from our sins.
Add red egg to basket with grimy pennies inside. Soak pennies in vinegar/salt to show how Jesus' rescue mission can wash away our sin and make us clean.
One liner: Jesus did it! He rescued the whole world!
On Friday, I told Reed that it was the day we remember that Jesus died on the cross for our sin, before "Up from the grave He arose!" I put a really grimy penny inside the egg and told him it is dirty like all of us are dirty on the inside. But Jesus died for our dirtiness and can make us clean and new. We put the penny in the solution and watched as it turned shiny. This was really fun! Friday night as we prayed at dinner, Matt said something like Thank you for Easter and for Jesus' death on the cross for us... and Reed chimed in "and thank you for pennies!" Matt and I both started laughing. And the next day, Saturday, we ate lunch at the square and Reed asked to throw his "Jesus penny" in the fountain. :) Reed kind of half listened as I read Friday's story passage and commented on the picture: "Jesus crying?" I told him yes, Jesus cried for us because He loves us so much.
Read/paraphrase second half of "The sun stops shining" (crucifixion story- the tomb) in Jesus Storybook Bible.
Add black egg to basket with a chocolate marshmallow inside to represent the stone (or maybe just a stone- is it weird to let Reed eat the "stone"??:) and reiterate that Jesus died to rescue us.
One liner: Jesus died and was buried... (but arose!)
I did let Reed eat the stone. :)
Read/paraphrase first half of the Resurrection story ("God's wonderful surprise" in Jesus Storybook Bible).
Add white egg- empty because He is risen!
Discuss the Easter story, briefly recalling each egg. Jesus rescued the whole world-- He died, He rose, and He will come again!
One liner: He arose! Jesus is alive!
We reviewed all of the days, and as I was about to hand him the last egg I realized he might be disappointed that it was empty even though that is the whole point. I just made a big deal out of it being empty and that was that.
Can't wait to see how God uses the seeds of His Truth and His story in Reed's little heart! :)