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Celebrating Easter in Isolation from A-Z


Easter is two weeks from today, but it looks like we're still going to be in isolation on that day.  All around the United States and the world, governments are constraining their citizens to home with "shelter in place" orders and quarantines.  Our entire lives have changed in a very short amount of time as the entire world reacts to Covid-19.  Unfortunately, our Easter Sunday traditions are going to have to change as well.

A time of great change is also a time of new memories and traditions.  Many of the things you already do can be slightly modified to make them acceptable for quarantine time.  Other things can be different, but still amazing.  It's also a good time to talk about history and some of the challenging Easter Sundays throughout time.  Draw near to your family and make some great memories with this A-Z list!



In many churches, Easter morning service includes some sort of "Passion Play" (not affiliated with the church) or special drama for all the visitors.  I grew up in Catholic School, so my childhood springtime activities included participation in the Stations of the Cross.  Oftentimes, my siblings and I would put on other dramas for my grandparents when we saw them at Easter.  In today's technological age, you can do a "reader's theater" play for your own household or broadcast it around the world through Facebook Live or Youtube.



My favorite Easter treat is Resurrection Rolls, a twist on cinnamon rolls.  They're a great project for the whole family (kids love the process) and has good tie ins to the Easter story.  Basically, you take a yeast dough and wrap it around a marshmallow that has been dipped in butter and cinnamon.  As they bake, the marshmallow melts and creates a gooey hollow cave.  For more information, click the colored text.



Have you seen the cool church-style painted windows that people have been sharing on Facebook?  They use washable paint and dish soap to created a stain glass window effect.  This would be a great way to keep kids busy during the quarantine and would provide a beautiful decoration for people as they walk past your house.  Make several with different scenes to tell the whole story.



Just because we're all under house arrest doesn't mean our walls need to stay institutionally white.  Grad some colored paper, scraps of fabric, extra sheets, or whatever you have to brighten your confinement space.  This is also a great time for recycled crafts like this cute egg carton flowers that can be placed on a paper crown.



This activity might be a bit harder depending on how easy it is to find grass seed in your area, but building a Resurrection Garden is a great way to bring some green into your home.  If you don't have a flower pot to use for the empty tomb, you can use a recycled container, cup, or whatever you have around.  It's another great chance to talk with kids about the Easter story.



If you or your kids were worried about missing the Flannelgraph Easter Story this year, fear not!  This printable version will allow you to make a flannelgraph story of your own.  You can use the printables to decorate your window, too.



After you've hidden your plastic eggs all over your house a hundred times, pop finger lights into them  and have a night time hunt.  My kids love to turn off all the lights and play in the dark with glow sticks.  You could add an egg hunt to the night time play (maybe even outside in the yard) and



If you're not sick, getting outside can be very helpful for your immune system and morale.  Turn the outing into a colorful hunt by looking for wildflowers.  Rather than picking them, have kids use a camera or phone to take a picture of each variety, and then look them up when you get home.  Or make your own scavenger hunt before you go using a list of wildflowers that typically grow in your area.  Of course, you don't have to exclusively look for flowers, you could also be hunting for birds, slugs, butterflies, or whatever you have in your region.



Did the Resurrection really happen?  Was it all just a cover up for a body theft?  Why does the resurrection matter?  Give your kids some magnifying glasses and Bibles and have them hold an investigation.  A book like "A Case for Christ for Kids" might be a good place to start if you or the kids are unfamiliar with the arguments.  Older kids might enjoy a video like "Risen," which talks about the conspiracy a bit too.



Remember those painted windows from earlier?  After you paint your own window, you can go for a walk around your neighborhood (or a drive through your community) and look for more crosses in windows.  You can also look for rainbows of hope and bears as part of the "bear hunt game."  Have them keep tally marks to work on sneaky math skills, too!



Holy Week is the traditional name for the 7 days between Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday.  From foot-washings to observances of silence, there's many events of Jesus' life to focus on for each day.  Get some ideas by clicking this link.



Did you know that our modern pretzel is an ancient Lenten tradition?  They were first made by a monk, who rolled the dough into strips and arranged the dough to cross into a popular prayer position of crossing the arms over the chest.  Some religious traditions still pray with arms crossed during Lent.  It was also the bread of humility, since it is made with simple ingredients.  Make some homemade pretzels with your kids and talk about church history- cool!



Painting rocks can be a great way to spend some time during this lock down.  Gather your rocks from your yard, paint them with acrylic paint, and set them around the yard as decoration.  Or find places to leave them along your walk for other people to find.  Here's a website with some Easter rock painting ideas.



It's probably a bit late for a complete Lenten countdown, but I wanted to include this activity as a meditation and bookmark for next year.  This printable paper chain has 40 names for Christ with their Scripture reference.  For your isolation service this year, you could pass out the papers to members of your family and have them look up the services and talk about the significance.  Next year, you can use these names as part of your decorations.



Any other year, Egging a House would mean hiding eggs filled with sweets in your neighbor's yard.  Since it's quarantine time, leave a basket of TP and Lysol in a basket by their door instead.  Or arrange to deliver a meal or groceries to them.  Or just cover their front door with encouraging notes.



We usually celebrate Passover in some way, whether it's just reading the Bible or doing a full Seder with other people.  Even while in self-isolation, your family can still remember the Exodus story and God's protection and provision of His people through their lives.  Make some matzah, drink some grape juice, and retell the ancient story.



When the quarantine is making your family crazy, it's time to break out the question games!  You could play an Easter version of "Family Feud" or a rousing game of "Would You Rather."  You could also play some silly "Minute to Win It" rounds.  Some of the games could even be played over Zoom with family or friends.



I remember making Resurrection Eggs with my mom when I was a child.  It really doesn't take any special craft supplies.  As the name implies, having one giant egg or 12 or so small eggs does make it more "Easter" themed, but you can use paper cups or whatever you have around the house.  The large egg is neat, because when you get to the end of the story, it's empty like the tomb!  Click the colored text to make your own.



Sunrise church services have been an Easter church tradition for hundreds of years.  I remember going to one when I was a child.  There's something so special about gathering outside in front of an empty cross in the early morning, when the dew is still on the flowers.  Even though we're not supposed to gather in groups of any size, you can still have a time of remembrance and worship in your yard or at an isolated outdoor place on Easter morning.



Amanda, the creator of a hands-on Easter curriculum called "A Sense of the Resurrection," offers the suggestion of trading rocks for presents.  She has her children go into the yard and find rocks to write their sins upon.  Then, they put the rocks in their Easter baskets and wake up to gifts the next day.  Get more information by clicking on the colored text.



I know that I've already talked about Passover, but I'm bringing it up again (wink).  Even if you don't want to do a full Seder (meal), it would still be a good idea to make some unleavened bread as a family.  The process of creating the bread has a lot of tie-in to Jesus, including the lack of leavening. Jesus called Himself the Bread of Life and making unleavened bread helps gives kids see why He is called that.



One of my favorite childhood Easters (actually it might have been Palm Sunday) was the year that we were late for church and drove around in the car instead.  We found some old cemeteries and talked about life, death, history, and resurrection.  All around the country, we're supposed to be isolating from each other, but we can still go on drives and walks.



As part of this isolation time, I've learned how to mirror my phone to the TV (through the Roku), so we can play our sermons through the bigger screen.  I recommend Googling your phone and your set up to learn exactly how to do it for your situation.  It took me a few hours to get it right, so play around with it long before Easter and you'll be all set by the time your service starts.  If your church isn't streaming a sermon, you could find another church's broadcast or even watch a Passion Play on Youtube.  Or, turn off the technology and sing worship songs as a family.  There are so many options for worshiping God on Easter Sunday and every day!

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Are you disappointed that no one will see your pretty, new Easter clothes?  Get all dressed up and then call your family to show off you outfits!  You can chat about how you're spending your time (new hair cuts you've learned to do), compare clothes, and make plans for after the quarantine.  After you get done chatting, you can go outside and use the timer on your phone to take a family picture.


This time of quarantine is very challenging and everything seems to be messed up, but we don't need to despair and feel like we're missing out.  Instead, this is a time to give our kids an Easter Sunday they'll remember their whole lives.  Let me know in the comments what you're planning on doing this year!


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