If you’re a Christian parent, you probably want to help your child understand the Mystery of Easter. Your job is much easier if your child has Catechesis of the Good Shepherd or Godly Play at your church. But whether or not you have a Montessori-based religious education program at your church, there are many simple things you can do at home to help.
I’ve already written about Montessori-based Lenten activities and preparing a Montessori-style Lenten tray. Today, I want to expand on the Montessori-style Lenten tray with some free fine art works that can be used for the 7 Faces of Easter as well as a cross puzzle that has special uses for both Lent and Easter.
As I said before, I was trained to teach Montessori primary, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (Montessori-based religious education) and Godly Play (Montessori-based religious education). I like to combine elements from each in my home environment. I typically combine elements from all three in my Lenten tray. I want to share some resources today for inexpensively preparing a Mystery of Easter tray to go from Lent through Easter.
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My Previous Montessori-Based Lenten Activities Posts
The Materials I used for this Montessori-Style Mystery of Easter Tray
The two books I used:
For the scripts, I used The Complete Guide to Godly Play: An Imaginative Method for Presenting Scripture Stories to Children (Volume 4) by Jerome W. Berryman.
For a cross puzzle pattern (I just photocopied it), I used Young Children and Worship by Sonja M. Stewart and Jerome W. Berryman. (The scripts in this book aren’t the current ones, but there are lots of helpful patterns for making Godly Play materials.)
Here are the materials I used for the Montessori-style Mystery of Easter tray:
- Wooden Multicraft Tray (I use these for many Montessori-inspired trays.)
- My First Bible (You could use another children’s bible or a regular Bible for older children.)
- herbs, seeds, fabrics, etc., from the Holy Land (Mine were from the Holyland Exhibit in Minneapolis years ago, which I don’t think is still open.). If you can’t find products from the Holy Land, you could use images that you found through Google. Or just use other things for your Lenten tray.
- prayer cards. (They could be in a basket, although I placed them on a miniature easel. I used the free printable prayer cards from Wildflower Ramblings. I printed mine at 50%. I have one prayer, one poem, one song, and the Doxology on the easel. I plan to rotate them during Lent.
- a candle. For safety with a 3 year old, I use a battery-operated candle. I love the ones that can be set to different colored lights. Purple is the liturgical color for Lent, so our candle is set for purple. For older children, you could use a candle with candle snuffer. That can also work for preschoolers with lots of supervision.
- Art print related to Lent on a small easel. I used a variation of the 7 Faces of Easter from The Complete Guide to Godly Play: An Imaginative Method for Presenting Scripture Stories to Children (Volume 4) by Jerome W. Berryman. I think it’s fine to use your creativity to combine Montessori art appreciation with Godly Play. I’m using e a different image for each week of Lent. (See resources below.)
- Flowers from our yard. Because purple is the liturgical color for Lent, my 3-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, picked the purple flowers for our Lenten tray. Many people use white or light yellow flowers for Lent. I’ll switch the flowers to Easter lilies for Easter.
- Small cross puzzle (See materials and directions below.)
Cross Puzzle (Material for the Mystery of Easter)
I love that the cross puzzle is used for both Lent and Easter. During Lent, it’s purple. It’s turned over and is white for Easter. Ideally, it’s made of wood and is in a purple bag that is turned inside out to become a white bag. If you have a limited space (like I do) and would like to prepare your cross puzzle as inexpensively as possible, you can prepare a small version made of felt with purple felt on one side and white felt on the other. I glued the two colors of felt together with Tacky glue. There is a Tacky glue for felt and foam, although I just used my Turbo Tacky glue. Cut the puzzle into 6 pieces (for the 6 weeks of Lent), either free form or using the cross from the book as a pattern. The puzzle only took about 15 minutes total to prepare! The script for presenting the cross puzzle from The Complete Guide to Godly Play: An Imaginative Method for Presenting Scripture Stories to Children (Volume 4) is truly lovely.
This is the first presentation for Lent, although I’ll present it and the picture of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in the same presentation. Just decide on a Lenten schedule that works best for your family. At home, you could just introduce the cross puzzle the first half week of Lent; Jesus, Mary, and Joseph the first Sunday of Easter; and one photo each Sunday except for adding the 7th photo on Good Friday. I introduced the cross puzzle and Jesus, Mary, and Joseph together since I don’t take care of Zoey every day.
Art Appreciation and The 7 Faces of Easter
Art appreciation isn’t part of the Godly Play Mystery of Easter activities, but I like to add art appreciation activities wherever I can. So I searched for some free Creative Commons images to fit with the 7 Faces of Easter. You could choose one photo to use or use more than one photo. Depending on the ages of your children, you could discuss the differences in art styles.
Typically, you’ll have 7 images with a special underlay that has six purple rectangles and a white rectangle. For home use, you might want to include everything on one tray.
If you’d like to get free images from one source that aren’t focused on art appreciation, you can find them at the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat in Australia. You’ll also find a short version of the Faces of Easter scripts linked to on the same page.
Note: I love the gentle artwork by Richard and Frances Hook in My First Bible. If you have this version or another of children’s Bible with artwork by Richard and Frances Hook, I recommend showing your child the related images in the Bible as well.
Free Art Appreciation Resources for the 7 Faces of Easter
Click on the images below to go to download the original image. These are just a few options. You can find more on Wikimedia commons if you prefer a different image.
No. 1: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
No. 2: Jesus in the Temple
No. 3: Jesus’ Baptism
No. 4: Jesus in the Desert
No. 5: Jesus Cures the Blind Man
No. 6: The Last Supper
No. 7: Jesus is Crucified
No. 7 Back of Photo: The Risen JesusIf you use the images along with the scripts from The Complete Guide to Godly Play: An Imaginative Method for Presenting Scripture Stories to Children (Volume 4), you can have a very simple but very special way to help your child understand the Mystery of Easter.
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