Easter Sunday is approaching quickly. If you are looking for a tangible way to involve your kids in so great a celebration, plant a Resurrection Garden. Its about 3 weeks before the holiday, so this is a great time to get it started. I try to start mine each year about a month before, but if you started yours in the next couple of days, you would be in good shape.
Supplies you need to get started:
A large terra cotta plant saucer (plastic is too light in weight)
Small to midsized terra cotta pot
6 smallish but sturdy sticks (searching around your yard makes them look more natural)
3 skinny rubber bands
A rock large enough to cover the opening of the pot (its your tomb)
Optional, smaller rocks for a pathway to the tomb (I don't always use them as you will see below in the pics)
First off, make your crosses. I take 2 of the small sticks you gathered, form them into the cross and very carefully wrap the rubber band around the center. You have to keep twisting the rubber band around each stick till it sits just right. I hope in the pic above, you can see how it is done. Make a total of 3 crosses.
Next, plant your garden. Place the potting soil in the bottom. Add your crosses, terra cotta tomb, and large rock over the opening of the tomb. You can arrange however you like. I personally like the way I have it arranged because, as you will see, it gives us plenty of room to add our special items during holy week. And, it makes the tomb the center of attention. After all, the empty tomb is what Easter is all about, right?
Plant your grass seed all around the dirt. I sprinkle the seed generously around, then press into the soil lightly brushing the soil over the top of the seed. Then, water. We used a squirt bottle to keep from overwatering. Plus, then little hands can help water. YOU WILL NEED TO WATER EVERY DAY! Terra cotta sucks water big time, so watering every day is a must!!!! But, within 5 days, you will see the little grass sprouts popping up. Keep watering, watering, watering, and letting your grass grow. Yes, you will need to "mow your lawn" after it becomes quite lush because it will be too tall. To mow, just trim with regular scissors.
(ready for its first mowing)
While you are waiting for your grass to grow, you will need to be gathering the supplies you need for Palm Sunday and Holy Week. This is my kids favorite part of our garden.
Supplies you need for Holy Week:
For Palm Sunday:
2 construction paper palm leaves (see pic for easy cut outs) or you can print a couple off the web
A little plastic donkey (never fear if you can't find one; if you have even a Lego or small plastic horse, that will work. I found our donkey at our local Tractor Supply)
One wooden doll peg (this is our Jesus all week) - another option, Lego (we've done both)
For Holy Week:
Little wooden table (I found ours in the toy section at Dollar Tree; its a dollhouse table)
2 inch piece of leather ribbon
12 small wooden clothespins for the disciples (see pic for style) - again, another option, Lego
A wine glass and a loaf of bread made out of Sculpey clay (again, see pics below; my son made ours - the wine glass is supposed to look like a challis :) )
Small purple robe (just cut a rectangle piece of purple felt and hot glue a bit of elastic to it)
"Crown of thorns" (this is just a bit of brown moss that I cut off and formed into a circlet; you can get bags of brown moss at the craft store)
A small bit of Sculpey clay (for hanging Jesus on the cross)
2 small pieces of white cloth - cut one long enough to wrap Jesus, one into a square for his face
Small fake flowers
Find works of art that you can display each day throughout the week. There are a plethora of works of art that you can use. I googled for the images and printed them off. It made it come more to life and we studied some lovely art at the same time. There is something to go with each day without a problem. I used 2 clothespins to hold them up. You could whatever picture holder you choose.
As Palm Sunday and Holy Week approaches, be ready to add something new every day. My kids love getting up each morning to see what will be placed in there that day. (Good Friday has 2 displays, see below.) Be sure to remove the previous days stuff, or it will be too crowded. If you choose to do the art, add the fresh art each time as well.
Palm Sunday - add your two palm leaves, peg or Lego that represents Jesus, and donkey
Monday - the whipping of the money changers at the temple - add the small table, 4 pennies, and the leather whip
Tuesday - the teaching on the mountain - add the 12 disciples with Jesus at the center "teaching"
Wednesday - the betrayal of Judas - add the 3 dimes and just one disciple (he's Judas)
Thursday - the Last Supper (yes I know the betrayal and the last supper were on the same day; I chose to do two different days for emphasis on the events of the week) - add your small table, bread, and challis
Good Friday A.M. - the trials of Jesus - place the crown of thorns and purple robe on Jesus and place inside garden
Good Friday - before we leave for the Good Friday service - place Jesus on the cross, I just used a wee bit of clay
(a photo of our Lego Jesus we have done)
Saturday - place Jesus in the tomb
(photo of the Jesus wrapped with his face cover that we placed in our tomb)
My kids, also on Saturday, set up soldiers to guard the tomb
Sunday - open the tomb, upwrap Jesus and carefully place the burial clothes inside the tomb, put Jesus in front of the tomb, and decorate with flowers. We don't have an angel yet, but that will be remedied with this year's garden. My kids added Lego all over celebrating the Resurrection!!! (love it)
What a fun way to remember how much Jesus did for us to provide salvation from our sins. And, its a great way to get the kids involved in that special week. My kids are so excited each year when it is time to start growing grass. They know what's coming. They know how special it is. After all, isn't that what Easter is all about?
Do you do anything special for Easter? I would love to hear about it!