Good Friday commemorates when Christ died on the cross for our sins. Most kids do not have school on Good Friday. (For some, it may even be the first day of their spring break!) How would you like to make Good Friday different than any other day off?
In what ways can you focus on having a gospel-centered holiday? Here are some ideas on how you can go about celebrating Good Friday with kids.
1. Talk about what Good Friday is.
We’ve been talking a lot this week about the various events of Easter week (Palm Sunday, Jesus in the temple, the last supper, etc). We make sure to talk about each event, what happened, what the Bible says, and most importantly why it matters.
When we get to Good Friday each year, I hesitate a moment when we talk about Good Friday, because inevitably these words come out: “Good Friday is when we celebrate Jesus dying on the cross.”
When celebrating Good Friday with kids, be prepared to explain: 1) why it is “good” that someone was dying and then 2) why we “celebrate” it.
But honestly, I do kinda love this part of the explanation, because it challenges not only my kids’ thinking, but also my own. YES, we are celebrating Christ’s death…because it goes beyond the crucifixion. YES, it is good…because Christ died for OUR SINS and in OUR PLACE, so we wouldn’t have to.
Don’t shy away from talking about crucifixion, just because your kids are young. Yes, you obviously need to tailor the brutality and violence to an age-appropriate discussion; however, do not shy away from the truth of the Gospel – that Christ died (in our place) for our sins, so that we can experience salvation and eternal life.
Exposing your kids these facts early in life gives them an understanding of the crucial tenants of Christianity. They learn about who they are and more importantly who God is.
2. Review (or make) Resurrection Eggs.
Resurrection eggs are 12 plastic eggs – each containing an item and Bible verse relating to a portion of the Easter story. Use Good Friday to go over the series of eggs leading up to Christ’s death on the cross or review the whole Easter story.
If you don’t have resurrection eggs, you can always make a set of your own for a Good Friday activity. (Pinterest has some awesome ideas.) My daughter actually made a set at her preschool this year, and she loves to go through each egg and tell me the Easter story herself.
Take time to go through each item and emphasize the importance of each portion of the Easter story. Don’t just identify the items. Make sure you are going deeper, so your children understand why each event serves an important part of the entire story.
3. Go to a Good Friday service.
Check and see if your congregation has a Good Friday service. If not, see what other local churches have one and consider going. Doing a family activity together creates memories and traditions for such a special holiday. During the day, remind your children what you are celebrating today and acclimate them to what they will be learning about during your worship time at the Good Friday service.
This year, we made sure to prepare our daughter for our Maundy Thursday gathering as a church. When we went to the store Thursday afternoon, she was proud to tell the cashier that we were going to meet with our church and celebrate the Last Supper that Jesus had with His disciples. By the time we got to the service that night, she remained just as excited to celebrate the Last Supper with her friends and teachers.
4. Do something special for your pastor and/or church staff.
Easter week is one of the busiest weeks in the life of a pastor and the Church. How can you take time out on Good Friday to bless your pastor, pastor’s family, and/or church staff members? (Check out this list for some ideas.) Even if you don’t act on the gesture during Easter weekend, use Good Friday to prepare or plan for something you can do for your leaders the week after Easter.
Give your child the opportunity to come up with their own ideas for how to encourage your pastor as well. They might come up with some creative ideas themselves that you would have never thought of!
5. Listen to worship music.
Make a special effort to put on worship music throughout the house and car on Good Friday. If you don’t regularly play Christian music in the house, Good Friday provides a great opportunity to do so. Put on a Pandora station or select specific songs on YouTube that remind you of Easter.
Give your child the opportunity to listen to the lyrics and ask questions. Recently, my daughter misunderstood some lyrics to “Drops in the Ocean” by Hawk Nelson when we heard it on the radio. So we had some awesome discussions about the song, but specifically these lyrics:
“If you want to know how much you mean to me….Look at my hands, look at my side….
If you could count the times I’d say you are forgiven…it’s more than the drops in the ocean!”
Music can be a great opportunity to bridge lessons from the Bible to life. Daily, I find my kids connecting with music. Worship music never fails to teach them lessons about the Christian life.
6. Create tactile opportunities to experience the story.
Give your kids opportunities to learn about the crucifixion and Christ’s death through sensory play. Here are some ideas to get your started as your are celebrating Good Friday with kids:
- Use vinegar to have them smell and taste what Jesus was given to drink on the cross.
- Touch some thorns from a rose bush to see how sharp the crown of thorns was.
- Get some nails and gently show how sharp and hard the nails going through Christ’s hands and feet would be. (If old enough, allow them to actually hammer some nails into wood…)
- Get a log and let your kids try and drag it through the yard to show the weight of the cross Christ carried.
- Wrap dolls in toilet paper or fabric scraps to show how Christ’s body would have been prepared for the tomb.
- Create a tomb using a bed sheet draped over some furniture. Turn out the lights and see how dark a sealed off tomb would be.
- Read the story of Christ’s death by candle light before bed. After saying “It is finished” blow out the candle, sit in the darkness, and talk about Good Friday with your child.
- << Let me know what other ideas you have by leaving a note in the comments below! >>
7. Remain somber, but celebratory.
Good Friday is a somber remembrance as Christ died and suffered on our behalf…but it’s also a reason to celebrate!
Christ died for US and Christ died for OUR sins, so that we didn’t have to.
Celebrate the fact that we have the opportunity to receive eternal life when we truly deserve death.
Celebrate Christ’s sacrificial death in our place on Good Friday.
Celebrate the fact that He rose from the dead on Easter morning, conquered death, and rose again.
Celebrating Good Friday with kids is an awesome way to reemphasize the true meaning of Easter and why we celebrate it.
It’s Friday…but Sunday’s coming!