The Best Way to Explain Easter to my Kindergartner

What is the best way to explain Easter to my sweet kindergartner? She knows the story, she knows Jesus, but I want to help her understand the depth of His choice to go to the cross for us.

 

What is the best way to explain Easter to my kindergartner? She knows the story, she knows Jesus, but I want to help her understand the depth of His choice to go to the cross for us.

We’ve been devotionally traveling through Jesus’s last week, reading about Palm Sunday, discussing how Jesus’s humble entrance into Jerusalem on the donkey fulfilled ancient prophecy.

Can you imagine any of our politicians choosing that entrance?

We read about the Last Supper and Jesus’s washing the feet of the disciples. Discussing the cultural significance is hard with a five-year-old, so I got out a small tub of hot water and washed her feet. She washed mine.

We ended up tickling more than anything, but learned how humbling it is to wash someone’s feet, what a tender act of love it is, demonstrating how to love like Jesus, willing to serve in the humblest manner.

Price: $7.48
Was: $10.99

But when we started talking about the cross, it seemed like she had the words, but missed the message. As I tried to explain Jesus dying, she started rattling off Bible stories from memory.

What is the best way to explain Easter to my kindergartner? She knows the story & Jesus, but I want her to understand the depth of His going to the cross for us

How can I explain Easter to her?

I’m glad she has those stories written on her heart, but we all need to experience Easter every year as a fresh encounter with a sacrifice far beyond what our selfish natures can comprehend.

We all need to encounter Easter as the most tremendous sacrifice the world has ever known. Click To Tweet

So I stopped and decided to explain Easter in a way that would be more relatable for small children. I used a story, like Jesus used to do.

A few days ago, one of your friends was really naughty. Her mother told her to do something that she didn’t want to do. So, she threw a tantrum and was just awful. What should her mom do? She deserves a punishment, doesn’t she?

My sweet girl nodded.

 But punishment is not fun. So would you take her punishment so she doesn’t have to?

She looked at me in shock, her brow furrowing, “No!”

But you love your friend, won’t you help her out?

“That’s not fair! I didn’t do anything!” She whined.

Exactly, neither did Jesus. He never did anything wrong at all, but he took your punishment, my punishment, and the punishment for everyone so we could go to heaven. His sacrifice paid the price for our sinful choices so we can be forgiven.

Romans 5:8 ESV  But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

When we didn’t deserve it, when we can’t ever earn it, Jesus died to set us free.

Her eyes widened and the smallest understanding crept into them, “oh, Mom, I guess, I should think about others, I’ll take her punishment, but I don’t really want to.”

I’m not really going to punish you, but does that help you understand what a tremendous sacrifice Jesus made for you, for us?

When we didn't deserve it, when we couldn't earn it, Jesus took our punishment to set us free. Click To Tweet

For the first time, she asked me to explain Easter, what it meant for Jesus to hang on the cross. We discussed the whipping, the crown of thorns, and the nails that held our Jesus to the cross.

Our day ended with baking resurrection rolls, a neat remembrance that the tomb was empty, Jesus conquered the grave.

I know I’m a forgetful sinner. I have to encounter Christ’s sacrifice and my redemption anew all the time. I have to be brought to my knees over my selfishness, face to face with my weakness so I can better understand the strength of His sacrifice.

As a mother, I just pray to explain Easter and keep Jesus real for her everyday.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to get more of this encouraging content!

God Above All Else Christian Strong Ladies Summer Tee Shirt Click To Shop

Save

Save

Save

Caramel Chocolate-Chip Walnut Chocolate Brownies

Decadent Caramel Brownie Recipe - Heaven Not Harvard

This recipe is a twist on typical caramel brownies.

Like caramel brownies? You’ll Love these!

I’m sharing this recipe that was handed down by my mom. I have no idea where she found it or if it was supposed to be a secret I’ll take to my grave (shhhh), but these are delicious and a Christmas staple in our home. Decadent Caramel Brownie Recipe - Heaven Not Harvard

Ingredients
  • 1 pkg German Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 1 pkg caramel bits (found in baking aisle near other baking chips)
  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (or margarine)
  • 1 5 oz. can of evaporated milk
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Melt the butter and add to dry cake mix with 1/3 cup of the evaporated milk. Combine until smooth. Pat 2/3 mixture into greased 13×9 pan (my pan is non-stick and I didn’t have to spray it). Best baking pans ever.

You may need to spray your hands with cooking spray in order keep it from sticking to your fingers. Patting the mixture will take some patience to stretch out half the batter to cover the bottom of your pan, but it will stretch.

Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes, until center appears fairly firm.

While mixture is baking, pour the bag of caramel bits and cover with 1/3 cup evaporated milk in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 3-4 min. Then stir until smooth.

Once you’ve removed brownie mixture from oven, let it rest for 1-2 minutes until slightly cooled. Pour caramel over the top, cover completely. (Lightly salt if you would like – do not salt if you used salted butter) Sprinkle with chocolate chips and walnuts. Then by spoonful, pat remaining mixture flat and place atop caramel. Remaining mixture should almost cover entire surface but leave little rivers of caramel open.

Bake at 350° for 18-20 min. Edges should be firm and starting to darken, center should not jiggle much when moved. But getting it just done without going over takes careful watching and knowing your oven.

Cool, cut into squares and *hide* if you intend on serving them later.

These decadent caramel brownies are only semi-homemade, but taste like you spent hours on them. Using the German chocolate cake mix adds a different flavor profile than a devil’s food or chocolate cake would, but I’d be interested in hearing variations.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Adventures in Advent

I’m trying to catch lightning in a bottle, carefully crafting my daughter’s impressions of Christmas as being magical, one of family and warmth, of cozy reading and precious traditions passed down to her, bonding her to our family, rooting her in love, creating the foundation of celebrating Christ’s birth in our adventures in advent season.

She is four and a half, young enough that everyday moments still inspire wonder and excitement, old enough that these moments are becoming memories, hopefully that she will pass onto her own children someday.

When I think back to my Christmases as a child, I struggle to remember more than a handful of specific gifts. A favorite sweater, my first Walkman, and a guinea pig all stand out, but very few presents ended up making much of an impression. Yet the holiday magic my family created some of the warmest and fondest memories of my life.

Celebrating every day of the advent season - Adventures in Advent Heaven Not HarvardWe start our Christmas season the weekend after Thanksgiving. Here are a few of our adventures in Advent this year.

1. Trimming the tree

My family used to cut down a real tree, which is a magical memory to have. We traipsed through the snow, Dad with a hacksaw and carpet square. We spent hours standing in the freezing cold arguing over the perfect tree. I remember watching Dad try to tie it to our woody station wagon with a minimum of frustrated grumbling, later turning the bad spot to the wall and anchoring the tree so it doesn’t crush anyone. Mmm, seems like my nostalgia is perhaps better than the actual experience was.

But with concerns about fire plus the joy of not having to string lights means we opted for a pre-lit fake Christmas tree from Home Depot. I think it looks pretty anyhow. I tucked a scent stick in the tree so it even smells piney.

Heaven Not Harvard Christmas Tree - Adventures in Advent Daddy hauls out the box of ornaments. He unwraps and secures a hook to each one while I share the history of each ornament, from the angel playing the flute the year I joined band to the diploma ornament from the year I graduated.

Our daughter sits wide-eyed listening with rapture. She already asks me to tell her the stories for each of her ornaments and feels the connection to our history as a family. Especially as an adoptive parent, I want to give her these roots in our past.

We spent the day listening to Christmas music and trying to be patient with a little girl who was way too excited. After the tree is trimmed decorations start to fill shelves and tables, candles get lit, and the house starts to feel like Christmas.

2. Nativity

One of the final touches is the nativity. Daddy reads the Bible story while we place the pieces in the nativity set as they are mentioned, starting with Mary and ending carefully with baby Jesus. My parents had all the pieces wrapped in newspaper so we had to scramble to unwrap each piece to find the correct character. Ours were in an old stocking and she had to reach in to find the sheep or camel or angel. She had so much fun listening to this story for at least the hundredth time, trying to anticipate which piece would be next.

3. Countdown

We usually do a Snowman calendar countdown, but this year I found a great little thing at a dollar store. Tear Off Activity Advent Calendar - Heaven Not HarvardI love it because it is teaching her to countdown, plus has a daily activity. Yesterday was a coded mystery word puzzle. I showed her how each letter related to each picture in the code, and she wrote out the “Happy Holiday” all by herself. She couldn’t read it, but wrote all the letters so carefully. She was so proud of herself.

This has coloring, mazes, puzzles, drawing and more – for $1. This was a fun way to countdown the holiday season.

4. Advent

We have an advent calendar that we open and read every night, but this year we’ve added reading a portion of the story of Jesus’ coming every night from the Christmas Bible Reading Plan for Children. While some of the scriptures are over her level, we read them together as a family and talk about how each one is part of Jesus coming to redeem us.

Before we read, we summarize the story so far, and then read the next scripture, adding in the next part of the story. We talk about how Elizabeth must have felt preparing for John’s birth or how Mary must have been so surprised when the angel first appeared.

5. Books and Trinkets

This is a new tradition, I saw someone doing the 25 books of Christmas on Facebook and thought that sounded like a lovely idea. After we finish with the Bible reading, she gets to open a tiny trinket like glitter pens or a new book. I started with the idea of doing a book every night Dec. 1-24, but that is a lot of books and was going to be too expensive. We ended up with 12 books and 12 small toys or treats.

We can read our new books building up to Christmas as her bedtime reading. Most of the books are winter or snow related, a few are Christmas themed, some are books I remember from my childhood and a few are books she can enjoy all year round. I will share our list of books with reviews in another post.

6. Movies, music, and munchies.

Filling our home with the sounds and smells of Christmas is important to me. We are taking time to bake, watch old favorites like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and listen to hours of Christmas classics.

Today is the 50th Anniversary of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, so we watched the movie, sang the song, and baked reindeer cookies with her friends (I will share the recipe later). It was magical. The kitchen was full of squeals and giggles, hands full of dough.

I can’t create a Hallmark movie out of our life because it isn’t real or fair to set such expectations, but I want to create a sense of growing closer, being more focused on Jesus and God’s love for us all as we head toward Christmas and the coming new year. And I want her to forever be reminded of love and home and family and Christ when she celebrates the holidays with her family.

*One thing my parents did was carefully weave together the serious focus on the true reason of celebrating Christ’s miraculous birth into our traditions and yet leaving a little room for the fun of Santa.

I’m still working out how to do that for my little one and be true to the woman God is calling me to be. I know the Santa issue is a source of real debate, but for right now, we are trying to walk a careful middle line as Jesus being the main focus, but letting Santa, the Elf on a shelf, and Rudolph be fun characters that help us celebrate.