Easter is a time to reflect upon the Resurrection story (Matthew 27:41 - 28:10) and the sacrifice Jesus made for our sins. With so many child-friendly versions of the story available, kids of all ages can share the experience and learn more about their faith. Playing a game can really excite kids and keep them engaged in the topic. It can also help burn the excess energy that comes from early morning Easter basket chocolate.
1. Web of Encouragement
Jesus was never alone on his journey -- he had the encouragement and faith of his supporters to help keep his spirits buoyed. Have the kids sit in a circle. The first person holds a ball of yarn and then wraps it around her hand. She tosses the ball of yarn to another child and tells him something encouraging, such as "You always have great manners like when you hold the door open" or "You're a great soccer player." The second person catches the yarn, wraps a bit around his hand and then tosses it to another player with encouragement. After everyone has had a turn, untangle the web by tossing the yarn back to the person who entangled them, giving encouragement to the person who encouraged them in the first place. If you play this game with a Sunday School class, encourage your students to go home and play this game with their families later in the day as a way of celebrating family ties.
2. The Missing Egg Hunt
To prepare for this game, set up two egg hunting areas. Only fill one with eggs. Begin away from the area where you've stashed the eggs. Talk to your kids about Jesus dying on the cross. Arrange beforehand to be interrupted to begin the egg hunt when you reach the part about Jesus' body being put in the tomb. Let the kids know that you'll finish after the egg hunt and then set them loose in the eggless area. When the kids come back empty-handed and confused, ask them to describe their feelings about not being able to find what they expect. Read Luke 24:3-6 to the kids and relate the conversation back to how Jesus' friends and family felt when they arrived at his tomb and the body was gone. Next, let the real egg hunt begin.
3. In the Tomb, Out of the Tomb
If your kids have been into the Easter chocolate and have energy to burn, this is the game for them. Begin by sharing the story of Jesus' body being placed in the tomb and discuss his resurrection. Now it's time for fun. All you need is material to make a line on the ground; you can use masking tape or rope. Line the kids up on the right side of the line, facing the caller. Designate the right side of the line as "in the tomb" and the left side as "out of the tomb". The caller will yell out either side, causing the kids to jump from one side of the line to the other. Any child who jumps the wrong way or fails to jump when they need to will have to sit out. Keep going until there's only one player. To make it trickier, have the caller repeat the same side multiple or call one side but point to the other.
4. Empty the Tomb
If you have a large group of kids to entertain, try a game of Empty the Tomb. To set up, mark off large circles to act as tombs. You can use masking tape, ropes or lay down a blanket. Mark the door of each tomb with two cones or other markers and make it clear that the players can exit and enter the tomb only through the designated door. Divide the kids into teams, with no more than eight players per team. Each team should pick a person to go first, then all the players lie down in their tomb. After they settle down, read the passage from 1 Corinthians 15:13-22 that begins with, "If there is no resurrection of the dead..." and continue until you finish with "...for as in Adam all die, so in Christ l will be made alive." After reading the passage, call "arise." The first player from each team gets up and races around the tomb, exiting and entering via the door. When the player gets back in the tomb, he tags another player and says arise, leaving the second player to repeat the process and so on. After tagging another player, the first player can sit along the side of the tomb and watch, with each player from his team sitting beside him in a row as they finish. When the first team has finished emptying their tomb, they yell "empty tomb." While your players are catching their breath after the game, read the resurrection story.