Check out the activities below for fun ways to make the events of Holy Week interactive for your family.
SPY WEDNESDAY - "dON'T WINK AT ME" (gAME)
Use this game of strategy to get kids talking about how Jesus willingly gave himself up for us.
Supplies: Bible, index cards, pen, tasty snack
Ahead of time, prepare your game cards. You’ll need enough index cards for each child to have one. For every 5 participants, draw an eye on one index card. Draw a stick figure on the rest of the cards.
Read aloud Matthew 26:17-20.
Say: Let’s pretend to sit around a table like the disciples did for the Last Supper. (Have the kids sit in a circle on the floor.) During the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples that he knew one of them would betray him. Let’s play a game to help us think about betrayal.
Give each person an index card. Have them privately look at the pictures on their cards, and tell them to keep the pictures on their cards a secret.
Say: In our game, you’re either a betrayer or you’re one of the other disciples. Either way, remember to keep who you are a secret.
If you have an eye on your index card, then you’re a betrayer and you’ll try to get other players out of the game by winking at them. You’ll want to be sneaky about winking at others in the group so you don’t get caught.
If you have a stick figure on your index card, then you’re one of the other disciples and you’ll try to figure out who the betrayer is by looking for a player who is winking at others. If someone winks at you, you’ll silently count to 10 before you lay down your card. Remember not to reveal to the others who the betrayer is.
Serve a snack and start the game. (The snack gives kids something to do while they play and serves as a distracter to help the betrayers get going with winking.) Play until all the betrayers are found out or all of the non-betrayers are “winked” out of the game. If time allows, play several times, each time switching who the betrayers are.
Ask: Did you feel betrayed by someone in this game? Encourage kids to explain what they feel and think about when they feel like someone has betrayed them.
Read aloud Matthew 26:21-25. Then ask: Why do you think Jesus let himself be betrayed? How does what Jesus did show his love for us?
SNACK PREP FOR THURSDAY: hOT CROSS BUNS
MAUNDY THURSDAY - FAMILY THREEFOLD COMMUNION
Check out our Holy Week Worship guide for instructions on leading a 3-Fold communion service with your family to re-enact the Last Supper.
For an additional layer of meaning, you can hold a traditional Jewish seder meal for your dinner portion. See the guide below for instructions on how to hold your own family Threefold Communion Service + Seder Meal.
GOOD FRIDAY - INTERACTIVE PRAYER WALK
Use this interactive prayer walk to help kids reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice.
Supplies: Bible, paper towel tubes, packing paper, string, soil, seeds, “Coin” handout, pens, scissors, glue sticks, red fabric/paper, fabric pens
Set up the following destinations ahead of time, and dim the lights before kids arrive.
Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane. Read aloud Matthew 26:36-39, 42-44. Have kids cut two-inch sections from the paper towel tubes and then wrap packing paper around them using string so they’re open on one side and closed on the other. Have them stuff soil into the tubes and plant one seed for each fear or worry they currently have. They’ll offer these things up in prayer to Jesus as they learn to trust and wait on Jesus, knowing Jesus understands them.
Jesus is betrayed and arrested, and then denied by Peter. Read aloud Matthew 26:47-50. Have kids write or draw regrets on the back of paper coins after they’ve cut them out. Say: Even Jesus’ good friend did something he regretted. Read aloud Matthew 26:69-75. Have kids write “forgiven” on an equal number of coins. Have them confess to Jesus as they glue the “forgiven” coins over the other coins, covering up the regrets. Invite them to commit to follow Jesus as they hold the “forgiven” coins in their hands.
Jesus is tried, mocked, crucified, and buried. Paraphrase what happened to Jesus after he was arrested and until he was buried (from Matthew 26:57-67; 27:11-61). Have kids cut out red fabric hearts as they think of ways they’ve received grace from Jesus. Ask kids to think of specific people they can show grace and love to and pass it along. Have them write the names on the hearts with fabric pens and keep the hearts with them throughout the upcoming week. Encourage kids to take out the hearts when they’re struggling to show grace or love to those people and pray, asking Jesus for help.
HOLY SATURDAY - "lOOK AT THE LIGHT" (cRAFT)
SNACK PREP FOR SATURDAY/SUNDAY: RESURRECTION COOKIES
EASTER SUNDAY - SCAVENGER HUNT + JELLY BEAN SNACK POEM
You likely have many traditions for Easter Sunday, but check out the PDF below if you're looking for a few more creative ideas to engage your kiddos in scripture (with some fun along the way). Included is a scavenger hunt, including items you likely have laying around your house, and a jelly bean snack with poem to explain the Gospel story.
It Takes a Village
Faith formation in children is a massive undertaking. While parents are the primary disciple-makers of their kiddos, we're here to let you know you're not alone.