Friday, March 25, 2016

Teach Your Kids the REAL Meaning of Easter with These Baking Ideas

You have seen posts all week about Easter cupcake decorating ideas, Easter basket ideas and we have been thinking about that egg hunt. :) While we do celebrate the commercialized edition of Easter (and other religious holidays) in our house, just like a lot of other parents, we also want our kids to understand the REAL meaning of Easter.

The truth is, Easter is not about chocolate bunnies and jelly beans and it is not about the Easter Bunny. It is not about cotton tails and hunting for candy filled plastic eggs in the backyard. Easter is the day that Jesus rose up from the dead.

I am sure we can all agree, it is far more fun to spend Easter decorating and hunting for colorful eggs, but those of us who want our children to know the biblical meaning have to find ways to teach them what Easter signifies. It's a sad and grisly story, and can be a terrifying tale for children to hear, when told from beginning to end, but it is not just about the horrible death of Jesus.

The biblical version of Easter is a story of rejoicing and resurrection. It is a day to celebrate! Our Savior is alive!

Kids learn best by doing. We can tell the story over and over again, but showing and telling - and involving our children in the process - will help ingrain the story into their minds. We all know that, but, in theory, it is great. Often, we forget to practice it, though.

Baking is a way to involve children while telling them and showing them. Here are a couple of ways to show your kids the story of Easter with baking that will not only be educational, but also fun!

In the first Easter baking lesson, we will make my favorite recipe, Resurrection Cookies. It is my favorite, because there are a variety of tastes that your children will experience to symbolize the story of the Resurrection of Jesus. In the second recipe, the Resurrection Rolls are easier to make and better probably for the younger children, because they will get immediate gratification from the recipe, while Resurrection Cookies require a much longer wait.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO START THE RESURRECTION COOKIES BEFORE BED, the night before Easter. You will understand why at the end of the recipe. Leave about an hour and a half before bedtime so there is time to read the Bible passages. 

Resurrection Cookies Recipe

You Will Need:
  • 1 c. whole pecans
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 3 egg whites
  • pinch salt
  • 1 c. sugar
  • zipper baggie
  • wooden spoon
  • tape
  • Bible
Now, for the lesson:
Preheat Oven to 300 F. 
1) Put the pecans into the zipper baggie and zip it closed. Let your kids beat the pecans with a wooden spoon while they are inside the baggie, breaking them into smaller pieces. While they are doing this, explain how Jesus was arrested after the Roman soldiers beat him. 
Read John 19:1-3
2) Let your kids smell the vinegar as you put 1 tsp. vinegar into a mixing bowl. Explain to your kids how Jesus was given vinegar to drink when he was thirsty on the cross. Let them talk about how the vinegar smells and how awful it would be to drink it.  
Read John 19:28-30
3) Add egg whites to the vinegar in the mixing bowl. Tell your children that eggs represent life and explain that Jesus gave His life so we could have life. 
Read John 10:10-11
4) Sprinkle some salt into each one of your children’s hands and allow them to taste it, and then brush the rest into the mixing bowl. Tell your kids that Jesus' followers shed tears and the salt is a symbol of those tears, as well as the bitterness of our sins. 
Read Luke 23:27
5) Notice that, so far, the ingredients for Resurrection Cookies are not appetizing at all. Add the sugar and tell your kids that the sweetest part of the story is how Jesus died because of His love for us. He wants us to understand that He loves us tremendously - enough to die for us - and that He wants us to love Him, too. 
Read Psalms 34:8
Read John 3:16
6) Beat the mixture in the bowl on high speed with a mixer for 12 to 15 minutes, until it forms stiff peaks. Talk about the color of the mixture (white) and how it represents purity. Jesus' death cleansed us from our sins, thus creating purity in God's eyes. 
Read Isaiah 1:18 
John 3:1-3
7) Fold in beaten pecans and then drop the mixture, in teaspoons, onto cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Explain to the children how each mound of the mixture signifies the rocky tomb where they laid Jesus' body. 
Read Matthew 27:57-60
8) Place cookie sheet inside the oven. Close the door and TURN OFF OVEN. Give each one of your children a piece of tape and let them put the tape on the door of the oven. Tell them that this signifies the sealing of Jesus' tomb. 
Read Matthew 27:65-66.
Your kids may feel some sort of way about not being able to eat the cookies tonight, as they have to be left in the oven overnight. That is okay and part of the story. Explain how Jesus' followers felt melancholy and pain when the tomb of Jesus was sealed.  
Read John 16:20 and 22.

11) On Easter morning, let the kids take the tape off of the oven and remove the cookies. Mention the cracked surface and let them all take a bite of a cookie. The cookies are hollow! Tell your kids about how Jesus’ followers were dumbfounded to find the tomb agape and barren on Resurrection morning. 
Read Matthew 28:1-9
Our Lord Has Risen!!!! Jesus is Alive!!!
Doesn't that make the lesson so much more fun to teach? Want more ideas? 
Good. I have another one for you.

Resurrection Rolls

What You Will Need:

  • 1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 8 large marshmallows
  • melted butter (in a bowl)
  • 1/4 c. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. sugar
Now, for the lesson:

1) Give each child an unfolded, triangle-shaped crescent roll from the crescent roll container. Explain to the kids how this symbolizes the tomb.

2) Give each child one marshmallow. This represents the body of Christ.

3) Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl. Have the kids dip their marshmallow in the butter and then roll it in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. This symbolizes the oils and spices Jesus' body was anointed with upon burial.

4) Lay each marshmallow on top of a triangular piece of dough and wrap the dough around the marshmallow. This symbolizes putting Jesus in the tomb.

5) Pinch seams of the dough together well. (You do not want the marshmallow to "ooze" out of the holes)

6) Bake according to package directions.

7) Cool.

8) Break open the tomb. 

Jesus' body is no longer there!! Discuss the resurrection with your children. 

Celebrate the love of Jesus by eating the treat you just made.

Happy Easter!

I hope these baking ideas help you show your kids, rather than just tell them, the non-commercialized story of Easter. Let me know what you think!

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