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Monday, April 25, 2011

Family Home Evening - Easter style

The makeshift "tomb" for our Family Home Evening lesson
about Easter and the resurrection. I know, I know. It isn't
much to look at, but it was a great teaching tool.
We have Family Home Evening almost every Monday night. To those of you who aren't LDS, that means we have a little lesson about the gospel or family improvement and than do a fun family activity. This has been encouraged by our church for a lot of years and there's good reason for it.

Since the important side of Easter often gets swallowed up by the commercial side of Easter like, I don't know, Easter candy by ravenous orphans, we thought it fit to spend a little time on the resurrection for our FHE lesson tonight. (Self criticism: probably should have done this before  the Easter bunny came with barrels of goodies.) We use a nursery manual as the basic groundwork for most of our lessons, and it works really well.

But tonight, as I was reading over the lesson before delivering it, a brilliant thought struck me: Why not recreate the tomb somehow? The necessary tools came to my head quickly once the thought blasted into my gray matter. Sizable cardboard box. Dusty exercise ball in garage. Photo of Jesus. Paper Towel. That is all.

So when I started to explain the resurrection to my kids, I could give them a visual experience much less forgettable than the standard primary presentation. The box was the tomb. (“Daddy, why is the box going to be a tomb?” “You'll see, just wait.” “But why Daddy?” *exasperated grunt*) The newly dusted ball was the large stone. I think you can guess about the photo, and the paper towel were the sheets they wrapped his body in before laying him in his (not) final resting place.

So I carefully explained how they dressed him in sheets, laying the paper towel over the picture of Christ before setting it in the “tomb.” Then I explained how they rolled the stone in front of the tomb to keep Christ's body from being desecrated. This is the fun part – the kids got to roll the stone into place over the tomb's mouth.

Then I told them after Christ lay dead in the tomb for three days, angels rolled away the stone. The kids got to be the angels, and happily pushed the “stone” off to the side. Then I explained how Mary came to find the tomb empty of all but the folded sheets they had wrapped around the Savior's body. My children were hugely attentive as I worked up to how Christ approached Mary and asked her why she was crying.

It was amazing to me to see how large even small attention spans can be when treating subject matter in unique ways. And I think my children ought to have a better understanding of Easter and the resurrection than they ever have before.

How do you teach Easter to your young children?

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