Holy Week House Party: Adaptable Easter Egg Hunt
By Kevin Johnson
Holy Week House Party: Instructions to Parents/Guardians
Again this year, families most likely will not be gathering with their church families to celebrate an Easter Egg Hunt or observe Holy Week activities together. The following is designed for families practicing physical distancing. While we applaud families for taking the opportunity to share the stories of Holy Week and Easter together, we long for the day when 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. Others might be able to join with a neighboring family (please use proper physical distancing measure appropriate to your area) for their hunt.
It is recommended to use this resource in lieu of Children’s Messages in the worship series, “Rend Your Hearts: Claiming the Promise,” for Palm Sunday and Holy Week worship services.
Due to certain restraints, you might not have plastic eggs to stuff and hide. There are a variety of options to still utilize this resource. For example, children can hunt for the objects around the house without using eggs at all. Obviously, the other activities are not required to have eggs. We would also recommend that you customize and adjust this resource for your use.
Whether done throughout Holy Week or on Easter Sunday, it is advised to dedicate a specific place in your house for this activity. This might mean setting up a dedicated area of a room or placing each egg and object within a single box. You might even set up a worship station or an altar during the week or even use an Easter basket.
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 in 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.
Materials needed (all things found around the house)
- Box with a lid (shoe box)
- Eggs (plastic Easter or hard-boiled)
- Palm branch template
- Paper and crayons/markers/colored pencils
- Glass jar or container
- Hand towel or washcloth
- Basin of bowl
- Paper towels
- Play-Doh or modeling clay (if available)
- Nail (don’t touch)
- Nail template
- Popsicle sticks/toothpicks/twigs from the yard
- Dark cloth
- Drum (or something to bang i.e. 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 are collected, have the children discuss and reinforce the true meaning of Easter. Have them share the story from the eggs as they open them 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 hard-boiled eggs and crayons.
Read Scripture: Mark 1:8-10
8 Many people spread out their clothes on the road while others spread branches cut from the fields. 9 Those in front of him and those following were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessings on the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest!”
Emotion: Blessed (to praise and honor as holy)
Object: Paper palm leaf
Activity: Cut out a palm leaf from template below. Each person takes a turn waving the branch and shouting “Hosanna.” Cut out a leaf for each person in the home if you want. Lay some blankets or clothes on the ground and shout “Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” Go out to the end of your driveway (with adult supervision) and wave your palms shouting “Hosanna” to people in your neighborhood. How loud can you shout?
Egg Art: Draw a palm leaf on a small piece of paper and place in your plastic egg. Draw a palm leaf on a hard-boiled egg.
Expectation: It’s Palm Sunday. The people cut down palms and cheered as Jesus entered Jerusalem.
Wonder: Talk about a time you have been to a parade. Remember how people crowd together to see the parade? Children are on the shoulders of adults and people crowding in on one another just to see. We can’t participate in parades like that this year because of physical distancing. 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 you as a family welcome Jesus into your home?
Prayer: Hosanna! God, we give you thanks for the blessing that you sent us in Jesus. Give us opportunities to be a blessing on others by welcoming Jesus into our house. Amen.
Read Scripture: Mark 12:41-44
41 Jesus sat across from the collection box for the temple treasury and observed how the crowd gave their money. Many rich people were throwing in lots of money. 42 One poor widow came forward and put in two small copper coins worth a penny.[a]43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than everyone who’s been putting money in the treasury. 44 All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had, even what she needed to live on.”
Emotion: Generosity (free in giving or sharing)
Activity: Collect several different types of coins (i.e. pennies, dimes, nickels, quarters). Hold the coin. Feel it. Whose face is on it? Are there any words written on it? What does it say? (SPOILER all coins have “In God we Trust” written on them). Find a jar and decorate the outside of it with a sign that reads “generosity jar.” Each day that you are required to stay at home think of creative ways to earn coins to place in the “generosity jar.” Continue to collect coins in the weeks to come.
Egg Art: Trace a coin on a piece of paper (or use a real coin) and place it in your egg. Draw a coin on the side of a hard-boiled egg.
Expectation: Jesus watched people in the temple giving money to God. Some made a big show of giving lots of money. But one person didn’t. Jesus pointed out her generous act of giving all she had.
Wonder: Is the “generosity jar” filling up quicker or slower than you expected? How do you feel knowing the woman gave Jesus everything she had? As a family, decide how you can make a generous act to someone with all the coins in the jar. When you can leave your home make that generous act happen!
Prayer: Gracious and loving God, thank you for the story of the woman who gave all in Your Name. Give us the same generous eyes to see others in need. Give us the same generous hearts to love others. Amen.
Read Scripture: John 13:4-5
4 So he got up from the table and took off his robes. Picking up a linen towel, he tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he was wearing.
Emotion: Humble (Not proud or boastful. Low in rank or status).
Object: Towel or washcloth
Activity: Wash another person’s hands/feet within your home. 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 soap and warm water to cleanse them. Then dry them off with a towel.
Egg Art: Cut a piece of paper towel in a small square to represent the towel that Jesus used to wash the disciples’ feet and place in plastic egg. Draw a towel on the side of a hard-boiled egg.
Expectation: Jesus’ attitude of servanthood was the direct opposite of the disciples’ understanding. They had recently been in an argument about who among them was the greatest. Since there was no servant present to wash their feet, it didn’t make sense for them to wash each other’s feet. When Jesus began to wash their feet, the disciples were stunned and silent. Jesus demonstrated humility and putting others needs before his own.
Wonder: I wonder how it feels to put someone else before yourself? How could serving (putting their needs before your own) help us feel humble?
Prayer: God of joy, we are thankful that Jesus shows us that being humble and putting others before ourselves is a joyous way to live. Amen.
Read Scripture: Mark 14:17-25
17 That evening, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 During the meal, Jesus said, “I assure you that one of you will betray me—someone eating with me.”
19 Deeply saddened, they asked him, one by one, “It’s not me, is it?”
20 Jesus answered, “It’s one of the Twelve, one who is dipping bread with me into this bowl. 21 The Human One[a] goes to his death just as it is written about him. But how terrible it is for that person who betrays the Human One![b] It would have been better for him if he had never been born.”
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 I assure you that I won’t drink wine again until that day when I drink it in a new way in God’s kingdom.”
Emotion: Trust (confident hope or trust in someone)
Object: Bread and cup
Activity: Make the lid to the box the table of the Last Supper. Draw an image of bread and a cup on the lid of the box. If you have Play-Doh or modeling clay, you may create the bread and cup and place them on the lid (table).
Egg Art: Place either your drawn or clay-molded bread/cup in a plastic egg. Draw the bread and cup on the side of a hard-boiled egg.
Expectation: The Last Supper is more than just the last meal that Jesus had with His disciples. He had all of 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.
Wonder: This scene is about trust between good friends and family members (remember disciples Andrew and Peter were brothers). Sometimes with friends’ disagreements or lack of trust happens. How did those at the meal respond when Jesus said that one of them will betray him? This is also a story about trust in Jesus. How have you celebrated this event at your church in the past?
Prayer: 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 each other. Amen.
Read Scripture: Matthew 26:39
39 Then he went a short distance farther and fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.”
Emotion: Anxiety (fear or nervousness about what might happen)
Object: Praying hands on paper
Activity: Trace your hand on 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.
Egg Art: Draw a smaller version of your praying hands and place into the plastic egg. Draw praying hands on the side of a hard-boiled egg.
Expectation: Jesus was very upset the night he was betrayed. When he was upset, he went into the garden and he prayed. God wants us to pray when we are anxious, afraid, or upset.
Wonder: When someone is 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, “not what I want but what you want.” Jesus was not in control but still trusted in God. What does it feel like to not be in control but still trust someone?
Prayer: God, we are sometimes asked to do things we don’t want to do. Thank you for removing those times in life that hurt and are painful. Comfort us, O God just like you comforted Jesus. Amen.
33 When they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Skull Place, 34 they gave Jesus wine mixed with vinegar to drink. But after tasting it, he didn’t want to drink it. 35 After they crucified him, they divided up his clothes among them by drawing lots.
39 When the centurion, who stood facing Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “This man was certainly God’s Son.”
Emotions: Grief (a sadness felt from the loss of someone or something that you love)
Object: Nail and cross
Activity: Have an adult find a nail in your house. Perhaps it is holding up a picture of your family on the wall. Take 30 seconds and look at the nail as a reminder of the pain that Jesus went through to bring us healing.
Make a cross out of pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, or toothpicks and place it in your worship box.
Egg Art: Draw a nail or cut from the template below and place it in a plastic egg. Draw a nail and a cross on the side of a hard-boiled egg.
Expectation: 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.
Wonder: 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? How important is the nail when describing Jesus and what he came to do?
What question would you like to ask Jesus about when he died?
Prayer: 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.
Read Scripture: Matthew 27:59-60
59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had carved out of the rock. After he rolled a large stone at the door of the tomb, he went away.
Emotion: Waiting (to remain in place in readiness or expectation of something). Hope (to desire something and expect that it will happen).
Object: Dark cloth to suggest the stillness of this day.
Activity: Play a game of Red Light/Green Light. This game is a favorite for children and 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 (waiting), 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.
- When the “caller” shouts “Green Light,” they should turn about face (away from) the children. When the light is green, the children move toward the caller by running, walking, or crawling depending on space and location of your game.
- When the “caller” shouts “Red Light,” they turn to face the children again. The children must stop or “freeze” immediately.
- The “caller” continues to shout “Red Light” and “Green Light” until a child reaches the “caller.” That child could then become the next “caller.”
- Certain variations of game suggest that if a child is pointed out as moving during “Red Light,” they return to the starting line. This version can become argumentative and distract from the object of game which is body control cognitive response.
- Once a child reaches the “caller,” select another “caller” and go back to starting line and begin the game again.
As you gather in the evening 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. Afterwards, sit in silence and concentrate on the black cloth covering what you are waiting for in anticipation.
Egg Art: Draw a watch or old-fashioned clock face and place in your plastic egg. You may place a watch in the egg. Draw a clock face on the side of a hard-boiled egg.
Expectation: On the Saturday, everything was so still you could hear every little sound. There was nothing that could be done. Holy Saturday is a day of waiting.
Wonder: How does it feel when you have a pet/favorite stuffed animal/friend/family nearby? Does it feel differently when they are gone? Is waiting difficult during these days of physical distancing? How does it feel to wait for something you’re hopeful for?
Prayer: 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.
Jesus and how his love can bring us out of these feelings of fear and sadness. We put our hope in your son Jesus. Amen.
Read Scripture: Mathew 28:5-6
5 But the angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here, because he’s been raised from the dead, just as he said. Come, see the place where they laid him.
Emotion: Joy (Joy is an emotion. Happiness is a feeling that goes away quicker than joy. Joy is a deeper sense of great pleasure and gladness.)
Object: Empty plastic egg.
Activity: Playing Easter Joy!
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? (Happy)
(Play it slowly and frown).
Say: What feeling did you hear? (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 a was wonderful time! (Keep playing happy).
Say: But then (start playing slowly and sad), some people did not love Jesus and they were afraid of his great love and they decided to crucify him. So, 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), and they hung him on the cross (crucified).
Say: Jesus died, and it was the saddest day ever. And 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) and 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 only had 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 someone else begin to make noise with their “instruments.” The noise will get louder and louder and they will laugh, and 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
Egg Art: Empty plastic egg. Leave one empty egg for this day to represent the tomb, just like the egg, is empty. An empty egg on Easter morning is better than one filled with candy, better than toys! It is the emptiness of the tomb. The empty egg holds the most wonderful gift ever – the empty tomb!
Expectation: 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!
Wonder: I wonder what difference it makes that God raised Jesus to life? 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 the happy sounds of Easter!
Prayer: God of Easter, we give you thanks for the gift of new life and for the Good News of the resurrection. Help us to experience newness and joy that comes from the Risen Jesus, Amen.
Picture the Bible: An image and activity-based portrayal of the last days of Jesus’ earthly life.
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.