These materials were originally published in 2012 and written for groups of children meeting together physically. However, there are lots of ideas that can be adapted for use in your home while community worship is suspended during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Scroll down to view the programme for the whole week.
These materials look at the events of the last few days of Jesus' life, leading up to his death and resurrection. An understanding of these is central to our faith. Many people think it is difficult to talk to children about this, especially about Jesus being killed, but we need to.
Children can often understand more than we expect. Many of the children in your group will have experienced the death of a relative, family friend, or even of a pet. They will have had times when life has been difficult, or will have known that other people's lives are difficult. They may well hope for a better future. These are all relevant feelings they can bring to the Easter story.
You may find that some children will not come to all the sessions, especially the Friday meeting when they may go away or be with their families. No child should be left overnight thinking that Jesus dying is the end of the story, even if you expect them to be in church on Easter Sunday. For this reason the sessions work a day ahead of the dates. You will still need to be sure that those who do not attend on Friday are left in no doubt about the resurrection.
It is vital that you follow the guidelines or policy adopted by your church.
Make sure you have the name, address, age and contact details for each child, including any relevant medical information. Include helpers under the age of 18 years.
Make sure you have the necessary self-declaration forms signed by all adults on the premises.
Keep registers of children and adults attending each day, including those who arrive late or leave early. Afterwards keep the registers in your church records.
Make sure you have plenty of helpers for the number of children you expect. Remember to include teenage helpers as children not adults.
Never have one adult alone with either a group of children or an individual child.
Check the safety of the premises including any outdoor space you plan to use.
For each day you will find a story, suggestions for other resources, plus a variety of things to do and games to play. Use them in any way you wish, adding ideas of your own. Sometimes there is also a ‘takeaway’ suggestion of something the children can think about or talk about with their family, or something to do. The links to each day's materials are below.
The Miracle Maker video by S4C/Universal contains very simple and effective sections on the stories used.
The Lion Storyteller Bible, Rob Hartman, Lion Publishing, 2002, ISBN 0745945813. This is very good for reading aloud to children.
Instant Art for Lent and Easter, compiled and illustrated by Kathryn Atkins, Kevin Mayhew, 1995, ISBN 0862097460. This has lots of other ideas for crafts and makes.
Songs for Every Easter, Mark and Helen Johnson, Out of the Ark Music, 1998, ISBN 095191166x. This has words and music, plus a cassette tape.
Start planning in plenty of time. You will need to decide many things and early planning will ensure success.
Who will lead and help with the club? You will need plenty of helpers and they will each need to know what is expected of them. Give people the chance to do things they are confident about – use their talents and skills.
Who will do what? Make sure different people are responsible for different things so that no one is over-burdened with work.
How will you publicise your club? Decide who you want to invite – the children in your church and/or those who do not usually come? Will you give out fliers at your local school? What ages will you invite? These materials assume children of primary-school age. Will people need to book in advance? This is usually helpful when it comes to planning and preparation.
Look at the premises available. These will affect numbers and activities.
Plan each session carefully. Will you do all five days or just three or two or even one? Two hours is a good length for each session, with a break for toilets and refreshments. Decide if you will put out a variety of activities for the children to choose from and move freely from one to another, or if you will have set things for each group to do. It works best if there are a variety of things you do all together, such as music, story, games and worship, plus things to do in smaller groups.
Make sure you get everything you need ready for each session.
- Holy Week Holiday Club: Monday - Friends
Monday's material looks at the call of the fishermen
- Holy Week Holiday Club: Tuesday - A special present
Tuesday's story describes the woman pouring perfume over Jesus' feet
- Holy Week Holiday Club: Wednesday - A meal with friends
Wednesday's material explores the last supper
- Holy Week Holiday Club: Thursday - A sad day
Thursday's material looks at the death of Jesus
- Holy Week Holiday Club: Friday - New life
Friday's Holy Week Holiday Club material focuses on the resurrection