All that junk, all that controversial candy, all the work and effort. Nearly a decade ago I was faced with an awful experience of an EEH. The marvelous morning celebration of the resurrection had gone on longer than expected (which it usually does). The EEH had been included in the advertisement regarding Easter Sunday. Basically, it turned into a capitalist frenzy monopolized by folks who just showed up, and there was nothing left for the sheepfold of young folk who had sung and served their hearts out all morning.
It was an example of everything we try not to be as earnest practitioners of the way, the truth and the life. I was determined to never play that terrible game again. After several evolutions I have found myself with something that seems to work: the Resurrection Party.
There is seeking and finding; there are eggs and surprises...there is even candy (if you choose). However, there is not the ridiculous celebration of crud.
Resurrection Party for Easter SundaySupplies (enough for each expected child - I choose to over plan this a bit)
- Mailing labels,
- Variety of Plastic Eggs,
- Special Identical Eggs,
- Living potted flowers,
- Clear packing tape (maybe),
- Paper or plastic Cups (depending on the size of your potted flowers)
- Candy or special final treat
- Flashlights (donated collection or mini-finger 'rave' type),
- St. Patrick's Breastplate gift coin (or any small something that is good for all children and inspiring) I like this coin because it is a fantastic saying to share, the coin is gender-neutral and can be put on a string and worn.
Choose thirty words or sayings that celebrate the practices of the Christian faith. Like this set.
- Print out one set on plain paper and cut it into individual sayings. Multiply as needed.
- Print out two sets on label paper (this set is the standard Avery).
The first round:
The paper sayings and mini flashlights go in a variety egg.
- Place these eggs throughout a nave or a parish hall or gallery. Somewhere with lots of light.
- After each child chooses one egg, they must open the egg.
- Then they will use the light and the phrase inside to find the matching phrase in the next round.
If mini-lights are not feasible then keep a basket of flashlights by the door of round two.
The second round:
Use the identical eggs. By which I mean the same size and type. They can, of course, be different colors.
- Place the gift coin inside the egg.
- Close the egg and cover with a phrase label. These may need to be taped down with clear packing tape.
- Round two should be hidden in a dark inside area: like the Sunday school.
- Cover the windows (if you can) and turn off the lights!
- Hide these eggs throughout the darkened space.
Children must use the light to hunt for this second egg. The second egg must have the same phrase as the one they found inside the first egg.
The third round:
I really love this part.
- Place individual living potted flowers in cups.
- Place a phrase label on each cup. Which also may need to be secured with packing tape.
- Place these throughout a garden area or around the outside of the building.
- Children must find the flower with the matching phrase.
A table with candy and/or fruit or cookie or cake treats and even punch. This way parents can help choose the treat.
At a previous congregation the first eggs went in the parish hall. The children did see these first eggs were NOT BE ALLOWED TO TOUCH THEM all through Children's Chapel. Then they went back to the nave, the children, not the eggs. Out of sight, out of mind. In my current setting the eggs are all over the place in fairly plain sight in the nave. For the whole service. They were given clear instructions that they cannot go find an egg until the last note of the postlude is played. This created quite an impact. So much so that it was discussed the next day at school. 'It was so hard to not go get one.' 'I had to wait for sooooo looonnng before I could play.' :)
POST POST SCRIPT:
Due to my adolescent Texas self, I have a springtime love of cascarone. Which are now easily available for sale in Walla Walla, Washington. So the first egg is now a cascarone. Which if you don't know what that is, it is a confetti filled egg shell. Which you smash on each other or throw at people. The young people get one. The parents are given two. Pure explosive delight, confetti all over the lawn, and no calories. I highly recommend it to your Easter celebration.