How do you celebrate Easter with your children? Ever since my boys were small, I have prepared a trail for them to follow on Easter morning. It involves finding clues which lead to chocolate treats but, as Christians, our Easter celebrations focus on the resurrection of Jesus, so I have always included activities along the way, which tell the boys the Christian story. When they were younger, I would draw sketches of pieces of furniture around our home and hide them with chocolate eggs to make a treasure hunt. On the way, they would find clues leading to myself, my husband or a grandparent who would read them the story or help them to make or draw something in response. The boys have pretended to be disciples and 'interviewed' each other about the events they have witnessed. We have made a news report, made Easter gardens, written prayers. We have looked at how the different gospels present slightly different viewpoints, and discussed why this is so. As the tasks are completed, they find the next clue. One of the things we do is to watch some, or all, of The Miracle Maker, which I love.
As they have grown older, I have looked around for more challenging activities and, with less time on my hands, scanned the Internet for pre-prepared clues to make laying the trail easier. This year, I came across this site and used the "Cryptic Clues" but I wanted to add a Christian element to the hunt, and I wanted to give the boys a bit of a challenge. I adapted the ideas I found on this website to make the task a little more difficult, and to make the hunt last a bit longer!
I hid the trail clues around the house and garden with some small chocolate treats. With some I also hid the symbols:
1. a small bottle of perfume
2. some small silver coins
3. a piece of bread
4. a piece of string with knots in it
5. a piece of red cloth
6. a small piece of branch with thorns
7. a cross made with match sticks or tooth picks
8. two dice
9. some small rocks
10. a piece of white cloth
11. a stone
12. an empty egg
The empty egg was only hidden with the next clue, no chocolate with it, nothing. When the boys were ready to start their hunt, in addition to their chocolate collecting bags, I gave them a small box and told them that, as they did the trail, they would find some special symbols which they needed to collect. I always ask them to work together as a team, and to take turns reading the clues to make sure each brother is included. The hunt took a while and the symbols, and chocolate, were duly collected.
Then they gathered round the table. My husband took the youngest boy and read our Easter story picture book to him. The older three were given the following portions of the Bible story on slips of paper:
I asked them to read the scripture verses in the Bible together, and then choose the symbol they thought best matched that part of the story.
When they had paired each symbol with a scripture verse, I came back to the table, and they recounted the story to me using the symbols. Then we handed out a larger chocolate Easter treat each - to celebrate the sweetness of new life in Jesus. (And we watched the Miracle Maker with Grandpa in the afternoon!)