Easter Lily Handprint Craft

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I enjoy making gifts for the important people in my kids’ lives. Just a little something to show that we’re thinking of them and that we are grateful for all that they do for us. Easter seemed like a worthy occasion, so David and I went to work.

I used to make these Easter lilies with my first graders every Spring after we read the book The Parable of the Lily. It’s a wonderful story about how something ordinary and unexpected (like a flower bulb) can turn into something beautiful (like a lily). The story parallels the Easter story and has a great message about grace and forgiveness.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find my copy of the book this week, but I thought it would still be a fun little project for us to do together while baby brother was napping. David is still pretty young to do a project like this, so I ended up doing most of it. He helped out wherever he could, though–his favorite parts seemed to be helping to trace his hand and trying out the hole punch. Here’s how we made the lilies if you want to give it a go!

What you need:

  • white paper (I just used computer printer paper)
  • green paper (I used green copy paper, but construction paper or scrapbooking paper would work just as well)
  • small piece of yellow paper (or color a bit of paper yellow with a crayon)
  • crayon or pencil
  • scissors
  • tape
  • glue
  • hole punch

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What you do:

Trace your child’s hand onto the white paper. If you want to make more than one lily, you can fold the paper in half (or, if your child has tiny hands like mine, you can even fold it into quarters) before you trace so you can cut out multiple handprints from one piece of paper.

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Use the scissors to cut out the handprint. Then, use a pencil to curl each finger down.Roll the handprint into a tube shape and secure with a piece of tape.

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Use the hole punch to cut out small circles of yellow paper. Glue the yellow dots into the inside of the white handprint flower.


Roll a tube out of a strip of green paper–this will be your flower stem (you can make it as long and as wide as you want). Secure your paper tube with a piece of tape. Cut out leaves from your green paper scraps and tape them onto the stem. Put a dollop of glue on the bottom of your flower (“runny” glue works better than a glue stick for this part) and set the flower on top of the stem. Let your flower dry completely.

If you want, you can finish off your flowers with a card.

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Here are a couple of ideas for the text of the card:

1.
This isn’t just a lily
as you can plainly see.

I made it with my hand,
which God made a part of me.

It comes with lots of love
especially to say,
I hope you have a very
special Easter Day!

2.
A piece of me I give to you,
I used my thumb and fingers too,
To make this lily just for you.
It doesn’t smell, it doesn’t grow,
I made it because He loves us so.
Remember that on Good Friday,
Jesus died to wash our sins away.
They buried Him and 3 days passed,
He arose on Easter Sunday at last.

 

Ta-da! A beautiful and simple craft that will brighten anybody’s Easter!

 

DIY Easter Resurrection Eggs

Easter is my favorite holiday. And it’s not because I like chocolate bunnies and tie-dyed eggs (even though I do like chocolate bunnies and tie-dyed eggs). I love Easter because I love Jesus, and Easter is the day He triumphed over Satan, sin and death. It is the day that we celebrate all that He has done for us: “…just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4

It’s easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Easter with all of the commercialism that surrounds it in our culture (case in point: I just got an e-mail from our local mall inviting us out for photos with the Easter Bunny. The 6-foot tall “bunny” with beady little eyes looked pretty creepy in the photo. I don’t think we’ll be going). I want to make sure that my kids know why we celebrate Easter–that it’s not just another excuse to gorge on candy or trudge through the mud puddles looking for hidden surprises (at least, that’s what Easter egg hunts are like in Seattle). I want my kids to know that we celebrate Easter because of something amazing that Jesus did for them. I want them to know that it was a very hard thing for Jesus to do, but He did it because He loves them very, very much. He did it because He wants them to know Him and have a personal relationship with their Savior. And, hopefully, some day they will.

I’ve used Resurrection Eggs in the past to teach my students the Easter story. Basically you fill a dozen plastic eggs with small objects that correlate with Bible verses to tell the Easter story. You open one egg each day until Easter (starting 12 days out), read the verse, and look at the object inside the egg. By the end of the 12 days you’ve told the whole Easter story. It’s a wonderful tool to use with young children so I decided that I’d get a set of Resurrection Eggs for my own kids this year. I looked them up on Amazon and, lo and behold, they were $15! No, ma’am, I will not pay $15 for plastic eggs filled with trinkets. So, I went ahead and made my own. I already had all of the supplies at home and it took about 10 minutes to gather everything and put them together. Here’s what I put together if you want to make your own set of Resurrection Eggs to use with your little ones.

12 plastic Easter eggs. Any size and color will work just fine.

IMG_1420 12 objects that correlate with Bible verses. I used the following:

  • small leaf (symbolizing a plam branch) Matthew 21:9 “The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!'”
  • nickel (symbolizing 30 silver coins) Matthew 26:14-15 “Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?’ So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.”
  • a piece of Chex cereal (symbolizing bread–you could use a small piece of bread or a cracker instead) Matthew 26:26 “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.'”
  • a “scroll” with Jesus’ prayer on it (symbolizing Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane) Matthew 26:39 “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’”
  • rope (symbolizing the whips that scourged Jesus) Mark 15:15 “Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”
  • thorn (symbolizing Jesus’ crown of thorns. I used a clipping off my rose bush, but you could use a doll crown or a crown made out of tinfoil instead) Matthew 27:29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said.
  • nail (symbolizing the nails used in Jesus’ crucifixion) John 19: 16-17 “Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).”
  • dice (symbolizing that the soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ clothing) Matthew 27:35 “When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”
  • toothpick (symbolizing the spear that pierced Jesus’ side) John 19:34 “Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.”
  • cloth (symbolizing Jesus’ burial clothes) Matthew 27:59 “Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth”
  • Rock (symbolizing the stone that was rolled in front of Jesus’ tomb) Matthew 27:66 “So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”
  • nothing (OK, so this isn’t so much something as it is a lack of something–there is nothing in the last egg to symbolize the empty tomb!) Matthew 28:5-6 “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.’”

IMG_1421 Bible I like using a physical Bible whenever I can with the little ones. I want them to learn that the Bible is God’s true written Word, and there is something special about having a physical book that they can see and touch and explore. I decided to keep a list of the verses I’ll be using for reference in my Bible and then I hi-lighted each verse in my Bible. I’ll show David the verse in my Bible each day and have him touch the words as I read them to him. IMG_1422 Box or Egg Carton For Storage I just used an empty egg carton to store my eggs in. I used a Sharpie marker to number the eggs 1-12 once I filled them, and then placed them in the correct order. IMG_1423 That’s it, we’re ready to go! This year I will begin using the Resurrection Eggs on Wednesday, March 20th (11 days before Easter so we can open egg #12 on Easter). If you want to do more than one egg per day, or even the whole box at once, go for it! The beauty of this activity is that you can go at your own pace and follow your child’s leading.

There’s also a great book that goes along with the Resurrection Eggs called Benjamin’s Box if you’re interested in some more enrichment.

Happy Easter: He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Redeeming St. Patrick’s Day and a Shamrock Craft

I’ve never really liked St. Patrick’s Day. People seem to just use it as an excuse to drink too much beer and pinch unsuspecting bystanders who made the unfortunate choice to not wear green on March 17th. This year, however, I’m seeing things a bit differently. You see, I just got back from my first trip to Ireland where I learned a lot about Irish history and who St. Patrick really was (yes, he was a real person). So this year, instead of eating green eggs in a drunken stupor, I am going to try and redeem St. Patrick’s Day for my kids.

Who Was St. Patrick?
First of all, Patrick is not really a Saint (you know, the capital “s” type canonized by the Catholic church). And he’s not even Irish. Patrick was born in Scotland and, when he was about 16 years old, he was captured in a raid and brought to Ireland as a slave (this was in about the year 405–a really long time ago). At the time, Ireland was a radically pagan place– considered to be about as far away from God as any place on the planet. Patrick’s grandfather, however, had been a priest. While Patrick remained in bondage in Ireland he clung to his faith and relied on prayer. Then, after 6 years, he managed to escape and return home.

When Patrick was in his 40’s, God brought him back to Ireland–this time as a missionary (I love God’s sense of irony!). Patrick had become intimately connected with the Irish people during his years in slavery and history tells us that one of his first converts was the very man who had held Patrick in captivity. Patrick went on to spend the next several years of his life preaching and spreading the gospel throughout Ireland. He was so successful in his missionary work that he turned the once-pagan island into one of the early centers of the Christian faith.

Legend has it that on one of Patrick’s missionary journeys through Ireland he came to a castle at the top of a rocky crag called the Rock of Cashel. I had the great honor of visiting the Rock of Cashel a few weeks ago when I was in Ireland:

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It was here at the Rock of Cashel that Patrick (reputedly) used a shamrock to tell the story of the trinity and then baptized King Aengus. Basically, the illustration of the shamrock trinity is that each of the leaves represents one of God’s persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. While they are each separate and unique, they are all part of one whole.

As you look out from the Rock of Cashel to the Irish countryside, it’s easy to imagine what that day must have been like:

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For The Kids: Shamrock Collages
This week I told my 2 year old about St. Patrick. I told him how he was a man who lived a long, long time ago and that God used him to help other people learn about Jesus. We looked at pictures of shamrocks and I explained the trinity to little David using Patrick’s illustration. It was awesome!

Then the former-kindergarten teacher in me had to get crafty. We decided to commemorate our little shamrock “lesson” with a simple project.

I started by gathering an assortment of green things: scrapbooking paper, pom-poms, foam shapes, tissue paper and a large piece of green cardstock. I also put a dime-sized squirt of glue into a bowl with a Q-tip to use as a paintbrush:

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I used a pencil to draw a shamrock shape onto the cardstock (heavy construction paper or cardboard painted green would also work), then I cut out the shamrock:

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I sat David down at the table and gave him all of the green things I’d collected. He helped me tear the tissue paper into small pieces (this is great fine-motor practice, by the way!). Then I showed David how to use the Q-tip to “paint” glue onto the shamrock where he wanted to stick his green things. Whenever we’re using glue we use the mantra “just a dot, not a lot!”. David had a lot of fun picking out the decorations for his shamrock and sticking them on.

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He required quite a bit of supervision and direction (put the glue here…ok, now pick out another piece of paper..ok, now put the paper on top of the glue…please don’t lick the glue…). In the end, though, his little shamrock turned out pretty darn cute! And the best part of all: we’ll have something meaningful to think about this St. Patricks day.

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DIY Apple Stamp Valentines

Today is February 1st and, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to make some cards for our loved ones. I much prefer home-made cards to store-bought because they’re more meaningful, they’re fun to make, and they cost less than the off-the-shelf variety. I got my idea for this year’s apple stamp Valentines out of a magazine. For the life of me, I can’t remember which magazine it was and, since I just purged and recycled all of my back-issues a few weeks ago, the world may never know. So, to whichever magazine I borrowed this idea from, thank you!

Apple Stamp Valentines

First, cut an apple in half and trim the bottom to a point so that it looks like a heart. Put some red paint on a plate (we used finger paint because I already had it and it doesn’t stain clothes).

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Dip your apple into the paint and stamp it onto paper (I had pre-folded cardstock into small cards for our project). You don’t need a lot of paint on your apple in order for it to stamp properly. Pull the apple stamp straight up off the paper so you don’t smudge your heart shape.

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Let your stamped paper dry completely.

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After the paint is dry, you can use makers to add a stem, leaves and seeds to your apple hearts. I also added some little sayings to my cards. The sentiments I used were: “You’re the apple of my eye!”, “Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.  -Mother Teresa”, and “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  -Galatians 5:22-23″.

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I have several blank envelopes from a stationery set that I’ll use to mail out our cards. Happy Valentine’s Day!