Like Christmas, Easter has become a little bit off target and the message about why it is celebrated can be hidden amongst the Easter Bunnies, Eggs and spring theme. Like Christmas, Divali, Holi etc… it’s important that children know the reason behind the celebration and in the UK this is part of the Religious Education Curriculum in schools. But it doesn’t have to be taught in schools and teaching kids about the reason behind Easter are easy when you create and use these story stones in play and storytelling. Follow this tutorial and teaching notes and make your own holiday Easter rock painting set.
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Why teach the Easter Story?
In a world where conflicts arise easily due to religious differences, we can help our children to be more open to the differences and understanding by teaching them about the religions, the festivals and the traditions that encompass them. Many many years ago I was in charge of religious education in a small primary school in the UK, the highlight of that teaching was when we took the whole school (all 30 of the children) down to London and visited a mosque as well as one of the museums. The school was a Church of England school and seeing the eyes of the children open up in wonder when they were introduced to some of the differences was amazing.
The Easter story like Christmas is one of the important Christian celebrations throughout the year and over time it has become more about chocolate, candy, eggs and bunnies that the reason behind why it is celebrated by Christians. Telling the story, explaining the meanings behind the symbols and items used today can help children to develop their understanding and knowledge of Easter.
Reading aloud from a children’s edition of the bible suitable for their age and then using these storystones can help children to understand the sequence of events.
Sequence of Events in the Easter Story
The Sunday before Easter in which Jesus was given royal treatment when he arrived in Jerusalem. People laid down palm fronds as he rode a donkey into town and sang, “Hosanna” which means saviour.
The Last Supper
Jesus shares a meal with his disciples and tells them that one among them will betray him. He knows that one will betray him, but still shares his bread and his wine with all. Jesus tells them that the bread they share is of his body which will be sacrificed for them and the wine is of his blood which will wash away their sins. Of importance is the lesson Jesus taught his disciples when he washed their feet: treat others as you would be treated.
Betrayal and Crucifixion
As Jesus foretold, Judas was given money in exchange for providing him to Pontius Pilate and his soldiers. They nailed Jesus to a cross between thieves where he was ridiculed and mocked before his death.
Tomb and Resurrection
Jesus’ body was taken to a tomb where a large boulder was rolled to cover the entrance so that no one would have access to him. Three days later, Mary and Mary Magdalene came to attempt to prepare Jesus’ body and found the tomb to be empty and Jesus to have risen.
Supplies for Easter Story Stones
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This is a simple craft and you likely have everything on hand. You can choose to add a simple drawstring bag as a storage pouch.
5 Rocks (left natural or primed)
Polyurethane sealant (if placing outside)
Instructions for Painting Easter Rocks
Sketch a donkey on some palm fronds for the first rock. Continue with the bread and wine, three crosses on a hill, the tomb (two-sided), and resurrected Jesus.
A note about drawing: this isn’t about perfection (they’re rocks, after all). If your kids are old enough to do this activity, give them the images here as a guide. If you’re creating these for a child, be confident that they’ll be more interested in telling you the story than in the artwork.
Once you’ve sketched the rocks, set out acrylic paint and paint pens. Depending on the size of your rocks, a toothpick might be great for small details like the palm fronds and other features.
Some paints can run when you seal them, so here’s a tip: use a generous amount of ModPodge and cover your designs first – only the design. Try to limit the number of passes over the painted section of the rock.
Once it’s dry, seal the entire rock in ModPodge (for indoor play) or polyurethane (outdoor).
More Ideas for Teaching Children about the Meaning behind Easter
You can find more ideas for teaching young children about the meaning behind Easter within our Easter Activities and Crafts for Toddlers and Preschoolers – there are ideas for Easter Gardens and Cross Crafts which are ideal to do following on from reading and retelling the story with these simple Easter Story Stones.
We have also included some easy to read stories to share with babies, toddlers and preschoolers about the Easter Story in our recommended Easter Books to read aloud with Kids.
Introduce more Christian Celebrations with these activities for later in the year
Pin these Easter Story Stones to Make Later
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