Looking for an alternative to the traditional Easter egg hunt with baskets, bunnies, chocolates, and eggs? Instead of the traditional hunt, organize an Easter hunt which includes symbols of Holy Week and Easter. This activity can be done at home, in a Sunday school class, or as part of an intergenerational event. It's fun and educational!
Objects/symbols to hide
- Small toy donkey
- Palm branch
- Small bottle of scented lotion
- Pitcher, bowl, and towel
- Drawstring bag filled with 30 coins
- Crackers or Matzoh
- Jar or can of olives
- Thick stick
- Toy rooster
- Small cross
- Small empty box or a clay tomb with the door rolled away
- Angel (add other symbols if you wish.)
1. Make a list of the objects that you will hide to help children locate the objects in the room. You can download a sheet with descriptions and illustration (PDF) for you to photocopy.
2. Hide all the objects in the area where the hunt will take place. This can take place either outdoors or indoors.
Hunt for the objects
1. Distribute the list of objects (words for readers and pictures for pre-readers) to the children. Explain that they are going on an Easter hunt for those objects and indicate the area where they may search.
2. After all the objects have been located, invite everyone to sit together in a circle with all the symbols in the middle of the circle.
Tell the story
1. Tell the story of Holy Week and Easter.
2. When you tell the story, follow the order below (symbols and Scripture reference are given for each part of the story):
- Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem (donkey, palm branch)--Matthew 21:1-17
- Woman anointing Jesus' feet (small bottle of scented lotion)--Matthew 26:6-13
- Judas agreeing to betray Jesus (bag of 30 coins)--Matthew 26:14-16
- Jesus washing disciples' feet (pitcher, bowl, towel)--John 13:1-17
- Last Supper (crackers or Matzoh, grapes)--Matthew 26:17-30
- Jesus praying at Gethsemane (jar or can of olives)--Matthew 26:36-46
- Jesus' arrest (thick stick)--Matthew 26:47-50
- Peter's denial (rooster)--Matthew 26:69-75
- Jesus' crucifixion (nail, cross)--Matthew 27:27-66
- Jesus' resurrection (small empty box or clay tomb, angel)--Matthew 28:1-10
Use the objects as clues to the parts of the story. Children will quickly see the significance of each of these symbols.
This idea comes from the Rev. Sophie Mathonnet-Vander Well. It was adapted from An Easter Hunt: A Hide-And-Seek Story, by Sarah Reid Chisholm. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 1994.