As a sequel to Easter Traditions … I present Easter Fun and Games!
I always start the Easter celebration the night before. I have my little kiddos come just before dusk and plant “PROMISE SEEDS” all over in my yard. I usually just use jelly beans as the seeds, but this year I found this crazy perfect candy:
I give each kid several little bags of this candy, and as they “plant” it all over my back yard, I tell them the Bible story about how God wants us to sow gospel seeds (tell people about Jesus and the Easter story). When we do, some of those seeds will fall on rocky soil, some on the wayside, some among thorns and thistles, and some on good soil (Matthew 13:3-8). We talk about how those soils are heart conditions and how willing people are to hear about Jesus. If the seed falls on good soil, the Bible says we will reap a harvest. We always have to be careful with our words, because some of our words are life-giving and some kill. If we sow the wind (which would be slander and gossip), the Bible says we shall reap the whirlwind (which is the same wind returning back on us with fury and without mercy). We shall always reap what we sow.
Once they’ve planted their seeds I let them take around a watering can and water each other’s seeds. This is a good object lesson for the scripture that says, “One plants, another waters, but God gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6-8).
The next day when the grandchildren arrive after church, this is what they find:
Their little promise seeds have grown into Easter eggs strewn everywhere. Eggs are a great object lesson for Easter, because just as little chicks burst forth from their eggs in the spring and leave an empty shell behind, so did Jesus burst forth from the grave, leaving it empty. Eggs are the perfect symbol to demonstrate the resurrection of Christ. (Of course grandma and grandpa transformed those eggs, and we’ll tell them this someday – but isn’t that just like what Jesus does? He transforms the seeds we sow into new souls for the kingdom).
After the kids have gathered up all the Easter eggs from the yard, we all go inside and sit down to Sunday dinner. The harvested plastic eggs have to sit and wait for us to eat before we get to see what’s in them. Perhaps that is the way it will be in heaven too? Perhaps we shall feast with our Lord first, and then we will get to go and do stuff?
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Just in case you are dying to know …. this is the meal we always eat at Easter (click here: Easter Traditions). I always make plenty so we can pull out leftovers for later in the day. And I always have snacks, like chips and dip, chicken salad and rolls, a veggie tray, and something sweet.
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As our meal sits steaming before us, the grandchildren say the blessing, they also sing it, and it is always precious to behold.
“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” Mark 10:15 KJV
After Dinner … Time for FUN!
Inside each of the plastic eggs are either little slips of paper, pictures, trinkets, puzzle pieces, or other objects, and each is part of a game/activity for the kids and grown-ups to participate in. It will take up most of the afternoon for the kids to do everything.
With all of us gathered outside on the patio (a luxury of living in south Texas) we let the youngest child draw out an egg from her basket to open. Whatever her little slip of paper inside instructs her to do, she/we do. And then it is the next kid’s turn to pick an egg from their basket and do what it says to do. The kids take turns back and forth opening eggs. Sometimes the slips instruct them to do an activity alone, other times it involves all the kids, and often times it involves the whole family.
I-SPY Token Hunt
These slips of paper are actually pictures that I’ve snapped around my house and yard. The pictures are close ups of things familiar to the children, but not immediately recognizable. The children have to think about them. It’s kind of a puzzle for them to figure out.
(The week before Easter I go around with my camera and take close-up shots of various items, kid’s eye level, and then arrange them into an 8 X 10″ collage that I send to Walgreens to have printed. I then cut the pictures apart and tuck each picture into a plastic egg.)
(First collage Left to right and top to bottom: Grandpa’s mud boots, fire pit, ziggle seat, wagon, garbage can, large plastic watering can, chicken coop fence, flower pots, small medal watering can, chiminea, sandbox, rock wishing well, large rock, hollow tree branch, knot in tree, outdoor box, property marker, garden bricks, welcome mat, trail to wood lot, V in tree, new sprout leaves, tree stump in yard, tree lot. Second collage l to r, t to b: Shower, bathroom dresser brush drawer, window sill, washing machine, cat food, chair cushion, another chair cushion, ash bucket, nut basket, old record player, tiny wagon, wood stove, long curtains, book basket, moonshine jug, blanket, shower mat, treddle, window sill, fan, wine rack, bed foot board, stepping stool, pillow on bed, kid’s book)
Once the child figures out what the picture is of, they dash off to find the token that’s hidden in that location. The child then gets to use that token like Monopoly money, to buy a prize from Grandma’s secret prize bin. (*My secret prize bin is a big blue tub filled with candy, small toys, small games, cookies, coloring books, story books, stuffed animals, jewelry, hair things, etc. Mostly things from the Easter isles at the stores).
These come in a set of twelve plastic colored eggs, with a little story book. Each egg contains a little trinket inside that corresponds to a part of the Easter story. They sell these egg sets at Christian stores, and you can find them online.
Whenever one of these eggs is opened, I read aloud the story from the book that corresponds to the trinket.
*This year, just to change things up a bit, I substituted this book for the Resurrection Eggs. I divided it into three parts and hid three small tree-shapes in three eggs. Whenever one of these eggs was opened, I read a part of the story.
The kids love to play with grandma’s binoculars, so last year I made this game knowing they would have a lot of fun with it. Inside four eggs were tiny plastic binoculars and a sticker of an object (dove, cross, empty tomb, Jesus fish). When a child got one of these, they had to use grandma’s binoculars to find the match for that object somewhere in the far reaches of the yard. I had the large-sized matching objects tacked up around the yard – a cardboard dove was tacked to a tree trunk in the far end of the yard, a Jesus cross was pinned to the fence on the far other end of the yard, a tomb cut-out was sitting on top of a big stone I have around in my front yard, and a Jesus fish was dangling from a fishing pole down by the river. If they were having a tough time finding an item I gave them a hint: Where would you find a bird? Where would you find a fish? What was rolled away from the tomb? What was the cross made out of? They had so much fun with this. Once the child spotted the object, they had to run and get it. On the backside of each was a little message that told them what their special prize was for finding it. Two of them had coupons for lunch with granny at their school that week, and the other two had coupons for an ice cream treat to keep or give away.
This year I substituted this game for the following Pencil Puzzle Secret Code game.
Pencil puzzle Secret Code
Depending upon the ages of your children these can be easy to hard secret codes, word searches, Jr. Jumble, connect the dots, etc. I printed mine out on 8 1/2 X 11″ copy paper, folded the sheets in half and in half again, and then tucked them inside objects that I hid in the yard (an old hat, a tattered glove, a disposable drinking cup, and taped to the bottom of one of my bird feeders). Four of the plastic eggs had slips of paper that directed the children to look for these objects (hat, glove, cup, and bird feeder).
The secret code puzzles that I cam up with were perfect for my 2nd grade granddaughter to figure out on her own, and when her Kindergarten sister got one, she helped her do it.
FREE PRINTABLES>>>>click on photos below:
The solved puzzles led them to special surprises hidden in four different locations. In each location I had a wrapped gift for each child (new swimsuits, new bedtime story book, giant activity books, and a stuffed animal each.
Last year I made two, four-piece puzzles, and placed the eight pieces in the eggs. When a child opened one of these eggs, they set the pieces aside until they found all of them, and then when all the pieces were found, they taped the pieces together to complete a picture. On the other side of the picture was a clue about the picture and what might be hidden there. (For example, one puzzle was a photograph of the rear tire of my automobile, and the clue on the back of the completed puzzle told the kids they were looking for a key for a lock in that location. Sure enough hidden behind the tire of my car was a box, with a key inside. When they wondered what the key was for, I told them the other puzzle held that clue, and indeed the other puzzle when put together showed a treasure chest at the base of a tree. The kids had to hunt to find the tree with the treasure chest, and then use the key to undo the lock to find out what was inside.
The kids also LOVE grandma’s I-pad. They call it “my app thing.” I have some kid’s Bible apps downloaded onto it, Netflix, and some educational games. Inside some of the plastic eggs were slips of paper that directed the kids to use the tablet camera to take pictures of specific things. For example one slip asked them to take a picture of grandma and grandpa kissing one of the children on the cheeks. Another slip asked the child to take a picture of mom and dad making silly faces at each other. Another asked the child to take a picture of all the grownups blowing bubbles. Other photo poses included: trying to do the splits in the yard, making grass angels, showing our muscles, jumping really high all at once, taking a close up of someone’s eye, and so on. These pictures are treasured keepsakes of our day, and the girls love to look through them when they come stay the night.
These slips of paper instructed the kids, or often times the whole group, to do some silly task, like doing six somersaults in the yard, or patting our heads and rubbing our tummies at the same time, or breaking a confetti egg on someone’s head, or eating a cracker and trying to whistle, or singing a song in a circle with each person singing just one word of it – we did Jesus Loves Me one year, and Mary Had a Little Lamb another. Some of the other silly tasks were: doing a one-minute crazy dance in the yard, running around to the front to wave at a car passing by on the road, have a water spraying contest, having a rolling race with sister in the yard, laughing as loud as we could for 30 seconds and then all stopping suddenly, snapping our fingers as fast as we could, and so on.
Minute to Win It Games
In four of the plastic eggs were slips of paper that simply said, “Cookie Face,” “Penny Stack,” “Suck it Up,” and “Nut Stacker.” When a child got one of these we all participated. There were no prizes for these, except for the good feeling of winning. They each had to be done in under a minute.
Cookie Face: each contestant is given a cookie, which they place on their forehead, and then must move to their mouth using only their facial muscles – no hands!
Penny Stack: must stack 25 pennies, one at a time, on top of each other using only one hand.
Suck It Up: Use a smoothie straw to suck up transfer 25 Skittles from one paper plate to another. The paper plates are side by side.
Nut Stacker: place 5 nuts onto a wooden skewer, and slip the nuts off the skewer one at a time into a stack without touching them
I also had a couple of other competition games. One was “Cup Shoot.” The kid that drew that egg picked someone to go against them. I had disposable drinking cups on strings between trees, and at the sound of the whistle they had to use a squirty bottle to move the cups along the strings from the start to the finish. Whoever won got to choose a new opponent and compete. We played until everyone was ready to quit.
Another game was to use smoothie straws to putt marshmallows across the lawn from a starting point to a finishing line. Of course, the lowest putts won.
And another game was to use one foot with a pencil between toes to draw an outline of the other foot on paper. To make it even more fun have partners face each other and draw each other’s foot with their foot.
Other game options to add next year: Rodeo games: broom pole bending, rake barrels, shovel bucking bronc… Dart throwing, around the world basketball, bean bag toss, ladder ball, tire run, hula hoop contest, could even to make an obstable course of several of these.
Here are the 2017 FREE PRINTABLE paper slips that go inside of the eggs. Just print them out and cut them apart:.
These are my 2018 paper slips:
Below are the pictures I took for the Guess the Picture game 2017. They are of objects around my house, so of course they wont work for you, but I thought you might like to see them to give you ideas of what you could photograph around your house. Some, you’ll notice, were indoors, some were outdoors, and some were in my garage. I got the page of them printed at Walgreens for sharp, clear, best quality.
(L to R starting at top left: shower wall, bath mat, cow rug, wood stove, ash bucket by fireplace, inside dryer, bedside table, elliptical step, houseplant, water dispenser, fire pit, truck bumper, car wheel, garbage can, mailbox, spitoon, outside rock wishing well, target pallet, big rock, outside hosebib faucet, rock pile, oak tree, fig tree, flower-pot, and chiminea).
GREAT IDEA: My neighbor shared with me a neat idea of something she did with her boys when they were young. She gave them each a basket of eggs. The eggs had slips of paper inside each that gave them chores to do (they lived in the country on a farm). When the boys went to do their chores, they found she had hidden little surprises for them at each place.
After we were all done with the plastic eggs and all those little activities, we refilled our beverages and the kids had their choice of either doing crafts or watching a movie. They opted for the movie, which was nice. It gave us grown-ups a chance to relax for a bit. Let me clean up the kitchen and get a beverage. The movie choice for the kids was Lion of Judah animated movie (I’ve included the trailer below, in case you’ve never seen it).
It was my son-in-law’s childhood tradition to watch Charlton Heston’s Moses – The Ten Commandments every year at Easter, and since it is always on the TV at Easter, I think it’s a great choice! Of course there are others, like, The Passion of the Christ, Son of God, and Ben Hur.
Marshmallows & Toothpicks: After our movie last year, I dumped a big bag of colored miniature marshmallows and a box of toothpicks out on the dining room table and just let the kids create whatever they wanted. We made crosses, and houses, and weird little hooked together things. Ha! We got more snacks and beverages, and this kept us entertained for a good long time. This is also a great craft for large school groups.
Decorating Eggs: We pushed the marshmallows aside and pulled out the eggs. Wal-Mart had faux eggs in their Easter section that were perfect for decorating. They were white and felt just like real eggs, without being real. They even sold them by the dozen in paper egg cartons. All the egg decorating kits worked perfectly on them, and colored Sharpie markers are an awesome, non-messy alternative.
Nail Cross Necklaces: This craft was a little too difficult for the little kids to do by themselves, but their mother and I helped, and we had a lot of fun with it. Using regular construction nails and thin colored jute, we made “God’s Eye” crosses, and then attached a long string for a decoration to hang in the window or on a wall.
This is another fun craft we did, cactus and succulent terrariums, that we hung on strings in the window:
These are the things you will need to purchase for this celebration:
Large bag of Jelly Beans
2 dozen Colorful Confetti Eggs (these are colored eggs shells with confetti inside)
1 or 2 dozen faux eggs, plus some decorating kits of your choice
About 50 plastic Easter Eggs (unless you have them leftover from a previous year)
1 Resurrection Eggs kit with booklet
Prizes, approximately 25 small somethings per child (candy, toys, games, cookies, story books, stuffed animals, kid jewelry, hair clips, nail polish, lip balm, etc.) and then four bigger somethings for the grand prizes per child
Nails (one longer type and two shorter type for each cross)
Yarn or colored string/jute
colored mini marshmallows (1 or 2 large bags)
toothpicks (a couple boxes)
Bubbles for each adult
groceries for the feast
movies (if you don’t already have them)
These are the things you will probably find around the house, to use for this celebration:
An I-pad or other Tablet that can take pictures with
Skittles or M&Ms
large nuts (not the kind you eat, but the kind that go on bolts)
a tool or tackle box to use as a treasure chest
a pad lock or combination lock, and chain
And these are the things you will need to make:
Cardboard cutouts of a dove, a cross, a tomb, and a fish
I hope you have as much fun with this celebration as I and my family did.
The Lord liveth, and blessed be the Rock, and let the God of our Salvation be exhaulted!!!