Holy Week House Party 2022
By Kevin Johnson
We are hopeful that his Holy Week and Easter Season will be different from the previous two. This year, families will likely be gathering again with their church families to celebrate an Easter egg hunt or to observe Holy Week activities. The following is designed for families to provide a continuation of conversation around the events that led up to Easter morning. We applaud families that take the opportunity to share the stories of Holy Week and Easter together and are excited that we can do so again with our church family.
This Holy Week Scavenger Hunt/Easter Egg Hunt activity can be used in a variety of ways. The activities could be done throughout Holy Week or in its entirety on Easter Sunday. We recognize that, for some, this Holy Week/Easter Egg Hunt might take place entirely indoors due to weather conditions. Or families might be able to join with neighboring families. Others may want to use this resource for the entire church family.
It is recommended to use this resource in combination with Discipleship Ministries’ worship resources, “Gathered Up in Jesus,” for Palm Sunday and Holy Week and “We Are Witnesses” Easter Sunday worship.
Due to certain limitations, you might not have plastic eggs to stuff and hide. There are a variety of options to still use this resource. For example, you can still have children hunt for objects around the house without using eggs at all. Obviously, some activities are not required to have eggs. We would also recommend that you customize and adjust this resource to make it unique to your own situation.
Whether these activities are done throughout Holy Week or on Easter Sunday, dedicate a specific place in your house. This might mean setting up a dedicated area of a room to place each egg and object in a small box. You could set up a worship station or designate an altar area.
Be creative in how you use this resource. Create ways to share your Holy Week and Easter activities. For example, you might place the objects on a windowsill or write scripture verses or draw the objects in sidewalk chalk on your driveway. Participate together as a family by creating a new family ritual that celebrates the Risen Christ. This will remain a significant part of your family’s faith traditions.
Materials needed (all things found around the house)
- Box with a lid (shoebox)
- Eggs (plastic Easter or hardboiled)
- Coat/cloak template
- Paper and crayons/markers/colored pencils
- Bath and body (or foaming) soap
- Hand towel or washcloth
- Basin or bowl
- Paper towels
- Tealight or Christmas tree bulb
- Play-Doh or modeling clay (if available)
- Nail (careful!)
- Nail template
- Popsicle sticks/toothpicks/twigs from the yard
- Dark cloth
- Drum (or something to bang, such as pots and pans)
Daily Egg Art instructions
This Holy Week resource offers a daily egg art activity. Include the eggs you create during this week in your traditional Easter egg hunt on Sunday morning. After the eggs have been collected, have the children talk about the true meaning of Easter. As the eggs are opened, have the children share the story using the art as a guide. There are two different options regarding the egg art. One is to fill a plastic egg and the other is to use hardboiled eggs and crayons.
*You can incorporate these eggs into your churchwide egg hunt as well. If you do, spend time allowing multiple children to discuss and describe the significance of each egg and their understanding of how this is applied to the Easter message.
Luke 19:35-38. 35, NIRV
Then the disciples brought the colt to Jesus. They threw their coats on the young donkey and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their coats on the road.
Jesus came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives. There the whole crowd of disciples began to praise God with joy. In loud voices, they praised him for all the miracles they had seen. They shouted,
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Psalm 118:26)
“May there be peace and glory in the highest heaven!”
(This coincides with the worship series, “Gathered Up in Jesus” and the Lord’s Prayer): Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…
Coat/cloak paper template (Click here to download PDF template)
Cut out a coat from the template below. Place the cutout on the ground and take turns shouting, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” Cut out a coat for each person in the home if you want. Lay some blankets or clothes on the ground and shout, “May there be peace and glory in the highest heaven!”
Children are to go to the end of their driveway (with adult supervision) or church parking lot and place coats on the ground and shout the same saying to the people, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” How loud can you shout?
Draw a coat/cloak on a small piece of paper and place the drawing in your plastic egg. Draw an outline of a coat on a hardboiled egg.
It’s Palm Sunday. The people shouted and cheered as Jesus entered Jerusalem.
Talk about a time you have been to a parade. Do you remember how people crowded together to see the parade? Children are on the shoulders of adults just to see. This year, we may be able to participate in parades again. That is exciting news! How do you think the children felt trying to see Jesus during this parade? The crowd welcomed Jesus into the town. I wonder how you can welcome Jesus into your life this week. How can your family welcome Jesus into your home?
Hosanna! God, we give you thanks for the blessing that you sent us in Jesus. Give us opportunities to be a blessing to others by welcoming Jesus into our house. Amen.
John 12:3-8, NIRV
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard. It was an expensive perfume. She poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the sweet smell of the perfume.
But Judas Iscariot didn’t like what Mary did. He was one of Jesus’ disciples. Later he was going to hand Jesus over to his enemies. Judas said, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold? Why wasn’t the money given to poor people? It was worth a year’s pay.” He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor. He said it because he was a thief. Judas was in charge of the money bag. He used to help himself to what was in it.
“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “The perfume was meant for the day I am buried. You will always have the poor among you. But you won’t always have me.”
(This coincides with worship series “Gathered Up in Jesus” and the Lord’s Prayer): Thy kingdom come,
Wash another person’s hands or feet within your home. Use some fragranced soap. Use a washcloth and hand towel. Sing “Jesus Loves Me” while you wash.
“Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak, but he is strong
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes Jesus loves me
Yes Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so.”
Use the sweet-smelling soap (to remember Mary’s perfume) and warm water to cleanse hands or feet. Then dry them with a towel.
Cut a piece of paper towel into a small square to represent the towel that Jesus used to wash the disciples’ feet and place it in a plastic egg. Draw a towel on the side of a hardboiled egg.
Jesus’ attitude of servanthood was the direct opposite of Judas’ understanding. Judas questioned why the disciples didn’t sell the perfume and give money to the poor. Judas didn’t really care about the poor; he cared about money, for he would betray his friend, Jesus. Jesus demonstrated humility as he reminded his followers that Mary put others (Jesus) before herself.
I wonder how it feels to put someone else before yourself? How could serving (putting their needs before your own) help us feel humble?
God of joy, we are thankful that Jesus reminds us that being humble and putting others before ourselves is a joyous way to live and to remember him. Amen.
John 12:35-36, NIRV
Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light. Do this before darkness catches up with you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. While you have the light, believe in it. Then you can become children of light.” When Jesus had finished speaking, he left and hid from them.
(This coincides with worship series Gathered Up in Jesus, and the Lord’s Prayer): thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Find a space of about fifteen feet of distance between two points in your house or church. Walk from point “A” to point “B.” It seems easy to do so with the lights on. Return to point “A” and have someone turn off the lights. Does it become very dark? DO NOT ATTEMPT TO WALK THE DISTANCE WITH THE LIGHTS OFF. Does the darkness create fear? Are you afraid to try to walk in the dark? Use a flashlight to take steps toward point “B.” How helpful is the use of the light? Did the light remove fear?
Scatter some Easter eggs in a yard (one that is safe to navigate in the dark). Wait for darkness to fall and try to find the eggs without light. Take a few minutes to reflect. Did the darkness make it more difficult? Are you somewhat more scared because of the darkness? Are you afraid to take steps in the darkness?
Then try to retrieve eggs with the use of a flashlight. Was the light helpful in finding the eggs? Compare the experiences of hunting eggs in darkness and with help of a flashlight.
Find a small Christmas tree light or tealight that might fit into a plastic egg to remember that Jesus is the light. Draw a candle on the side of a hardboiled egg.
Jesus reminds us that we are scared and may be filled with fear when it’s dark. We must trust in him to remove the fear. He is the light that we need to help overcome those fears found in scary situations of life.
I wonder how it feels to be scared? How could relying on the comfort of Jesus help us feel safe?
God of comfort, we are thankful that Jesus is the light of the world that shows us the way, even in frightening and scary times. Amen.
John 13: 21- 32, NIRV
After he had said this, Jesus’ spirit was troubled. He said, “What I’m about to tell you is true. One of you is going to hand me over to my enemies.”
His disciples stared at one another. They had no idea which one of them he meant. he disciple Jesus loved was next to him at the table. Simon Peter motioned to that disciple. He said, “Ask Jesus which one he means.”
The disciple was leaning back against Jesus. He asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
Jesus answered, “It is the one I will give this piece of bread to. I will give it to him after I have dipped it in the dish.” He dipped the piece of bread. Then he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.
So, Jesus told him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Judas was in charge of the money. So, some of the disciples thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the feast. Others thought Jesus was talking about giving something to poor people. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
Peter Says He Does Not Know Jesus
After Judas was gone, Jesus spoke. He said, “Now the Son of Man receives glory. And he brings glory to God. f the Son brings glory to God, God himself will bring glory to the Son. God will do it at once.
(This coincides with worship series Gathered Up in Jesus, and the Lord’s Prayer): Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,
Bread and cup
Use the lid of the box to create a table for the Last Supper. On the lid of the box, draw an image of bread and a cup. If you have Play-Doh or modeling clay, you may create the bread and cup and place them on the lid (table).
Put either your clay molded bread and cup in the plastic egg or draw bread and cup on a piece of paper and place it into a plastic egg. Draw the bread and cup on the side of a hardboiled egg.
The Last Supper is more than just the last meal that Jesus had with his disciples. He had all his friends, the disciples, around him at this Passover meal (or as we call it, the Last Supper). Jesus told his disciples to do this act of drinking from the cup (juice) and eating the bread in remembrance of him.
This scene is about trust between good friends and family members (remember disciples Andrew and Peter were brothers). Sometimes disagreements or lack of trust happens among friends. How did those at the meal respond when Jesus said that one of them would betray him? This is a story about relationship with Jesus. How have you celebrated this event at your church in the past?
God, we are thankful that we can always trust you. We are faithful to you and trust in you. Thank you for the bread and the juice as a reminder of how Jesus offers his love and forgiveness, even if we disagree with one another. Amen.
Matthew 26:39, NIRV
He went a little farther. Then he fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. But let what you want be done, not what I want.”
(This coincides with worship series “Gathered Up in Jesus” and the Lord’s Prayer): And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Praying hands on paper
Trace your hand on a piece of paper and write the name of someone you can pray for on each of the four fingers and thumb. Then spend time daily praying for the people you named. Place the hand tracing by your bed and pray for those five people each night before you go to sleep.
Draw a smaller version of your praying hands artwork and place it into the plastic egg. Draw praying hands on the side of a hardboiled egg.
Jesus was very upset the night he was betrayed. When he was upset, he went into the garden and prayed. God wants us to pray when we are anxious, afraid, or upset. God meets us in these times.
When people are anxious, they are scared and nervous about what might happen. We all feel anxious lately as we watch the news around us. It’s good to know that Jesus felt the same way at times in his life. Jesus said, “Let what you want be done, not what I want.” Jesus was not in control, but he still trusted in God. What does it feel like to not be in control but still trust someone?
God, we are sometimes asked to do things we don’t want to do. Thank you for removing those times in life that hurtful and are painful. Comfort us, O God, just as you comforted Jesus. Amen.
Matthew 27:33-35, NIRV
33They came to a place called Golgotha. The word Golgotha means the Place of the Skull. There they mixed wine with bitter spices and gave it to Jesus to drink. After tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had nailed him to the cross, they divided up his clothes by casting lots..
Mark 15:39, NIRV
A Roman commander was standing there in front of Jesus. He saw how Jesus died. Then he said, “This man was surely the Son of God!”
(This coincides with worship series Gathered Up in Jesus, and the Lord’s Prayer): For thine is the kingdom,
Nail and cross
Have an adult find a nail in your house. Perhaps there is one holding up a picture of your family on the wall. Take thirty seconds and look at the nail as a reminder of the pain that Jesus went through to bring us healing and display God’s love that overcomes the worst evil.
Make a cross out of pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, or toothpicks and place it in your worship box.
Draw a nail or cut one from the template below and place it in a plastic egg. Draw a nail and a cross on the side of a hardboiled egg.
This can be a sensitive and scary concept for younger children. Even so, it’s important to know what Jesus went through to offer forgiveness for everyone, and display God’s love in the face of evil.
The American Sign Language “sign” for the name Jesus is pointing to the palm of each hand as a reminder of the nails that were placed into each of his hands. I wonder why the nail is the sign used to name Jesus? This ‘sign’ for Jesus reminds us of the nails that were used to put him on the cross. Where have you seen crosses in your life? How important is the cross when describing Jesus and what he came to do?
What question would you like to ask Jesus about when he died?
God, every time I see a nail, remind me of the pain and sorrow that Jesus had to go through to save us and offer hope for eternal life in heaven. Amen.
John 19:40-42, NIRV
The two men took Jesus’ body. They wrapped it in strips of linen cloth, along with the spices. That was the way the Jews buried people. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden. A new tomb was there. No one had ever been put in it before. That day was the Jewish Preparation Day, and the tomb was nearby. So, they placed Jesus there.
(This coincides with worship series “Gathered Up in Jesus” and the Lord’s Prayer): and the power, and the glory, forever.
Dark cloth to suggest the stillness of this day.
Play a game of Red Light-Green Light. This game is a favorite for children, and it is easy to play with no props needed. This game also is a great way to build executive function (decision and motor control skills) through play. Executive function develops better emotion regulation and impulse control by helping children pause, (wait), think, and then decide before reacting. Here are the rules:
- The children line up, side-by side at one end of yard (if outside) or large room (if inside) facing the “caller.” For safety reasons, if playing inside, have children walk, crawl, or crab crawl to slow down the movements.
- The caller stands opposite the children, facing them.
- The caller shouts, “Green Light,” and turns about face (away from) the children. When the light is green, the children move toward the caller by running, walking, or crawling—depending on the space and location of your game.
- The caller shouts, “Red Light,” and turns facing the children again. The children must stop or “freeze” immediately.
- The caller continues to shout, “Red Light” or “Green Light” until a child reaches the caller. That child could then become the next caller.
- Certain variations of the game suggest that when the caller turns around when calling “Red Light,” if a child is pointed out as moving, he or she returns to the starting line. This version can become argumentative and may distract from the object of game, which is body control and cognitive response.
- Once a child reaches the caller, select another caller and go back to starting line and begin the game again.
In the evening of this day, as you gather for family worship time, place a dark cloth over the entire worship space and cover it in darkness. Or cover your egg art eggs with the dark cloth. As a family, sit quietly and discuss the waiting that took place on this day in the Easter story. You are waiting in the same way for your Easter egg hunt tomorrow. While you wait, sit in silence, even if it is only a few seconds, concentrate on the black cloth.
Draw a watch or old-fashioned clockface and place in your plastic egg; or you may place a watch in the egg. Draw a clockface on the side of a hard-boiled egg.
On Saturday, everything was so still, people could hear every little sound. There was nothing that could be done. Holy Saturday is a day of waiting.
How does it feel when you have a pet/favorite stuffed animal/friend/family nearby? Does it feel different when they are gone? When you’re hoping for something, how does it feel?
God, it is hard for us to sit still and wait. On this day, we are reminded of the waiting and the hope that we have in Jesus. In our sadness and waiting, we trust in Jesus for a new day of joy and think about how his love can bring us out of these feelings of fear and sadness. We put our hope in your son, Jesus. Amen.
Mathew 28:5-6, NIRV
But the angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified He is not here! He has risen, just as he said he would! Come and see the place where he was lying.
(This coincides with the worship series “Gathered Up in Jesus” and the Lord’s Prayer). Today, recite the entire Lord’s Prayer:
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
Empty plastic egg.
Playing Easter Joy!
Supplies: Drum, pot, pan.
Provide something for each child that makes noise. Rhythm instruments are great, but so are homemade things like two spoons to hit together and baby rattles to shake.
Say: I am going to beat my drum, and as I do, I want you to guess what I am feeling.
(Play it happily and quickly and smile)
Say: What feeling did you hear? (They will say, “happy.”.
(Play the drum slowly and frown).
Say: What feeling did you hear? (They will say, “sad.”.
Say: You are good at this. I am going to tell you the story of Easter now and I want you to hear it in the music I make.
(Begin to hit the drum happily and continue it while you speak).
Say: Jesus was the light of the world, God’s love walking with people, teaching them, healing them… it was wonderful time! (Keep playing happy).
Say: But then, (start playing slowly and sadly), some people did not love Jesus, and they were afraid of his great love, so they decided to crucify him. They arrested him (one beat), and they hurt him (one beat), and they made him wear a crown of thorns (one beat) and carry his cross (one beat); they hung him on the cross (crucified).
Say: Jesus died, and it was the saddest day ever. The people were so sad. (Silence.)
Say: On the third day, after Jesus had been taken from the cross and laid in the tomb, they went there to take care of his body (start beating slowly and get faster and faster as you talk). When they got there, they found out the best news ever! (Beat faster.) Jesus was alive again… he was raised, and his love was still with them!!! And that was the happiest day ever!!! (Beat harder and faster!)
Say: You know, that is our happy Easter story… but it just had one problem… I had only one drum and there is no way I could play the happiness of that first Easter by myself on that one drum. It was happy. (Start playing the drum and have others begin to make noise with their “instruments.” The noise will get louder and louder, and the children will laugh. You may have to shout):
Say: That is how happiness sounds… Easter is the happiest day ever!!! HAPPY EASTER!
Adapted with permission from Leanne-Hadley.com
Leave one empty egg for this day to represent the tomb. An empty egg on Easter morning is better than one filled with candy, better than toys! The empty egg holds the most wonderful gift ever – the empty tomb!
After Jesus died, everyone thought that God would not be with us anymore . . . that God’s love died with Jesus on the cross, but then God did something surprising. God raised Jesus from the dead and proved that nothing, not even death on the cross, could stop God from loving us!
What does it mean to you that God will not let death come between us? The disciples and the others shared the good news of Easter that Jesus was alive. How can you share with others that good news? Take your instruments from earlier outside (with supervision) and get even louder. Let the world around you hear the happy sounds of Easter!
God of Easter, we give you thanks for the gift of new life and of the good news of the Resurrection. Help us to experience newness and joy that comes from the Risen Jesus. Amen.
Rev. Kevin Johnson is the Director, Children’s Ministries for Congregational Vitality & Intentional Discipleship at Discipleship Ministries. Kevin’s hero Fred Rogers suggests that we, “listen to the children, learn about them, learn from them. Think of the children first.” This quote defines Rev. Kev’s approach to ministry. Kevin, an ordained elder of the Kentucky Annual Conference, has over fifteen years of ministry experience in which he has thought of the children first. Prior to ministry, Kevin worked with children in the hospital setting and in group homes for emotionally and physically abused children.