Celebrating Easter with Babies and Tots
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Easter is such a fun time with little ones! Although they might not be old enough to participate in egg hunts and coloring eggs, it’s still a wonderful opportunity for our babies and toddlers to experience God’s creation and to be introduced to the story of Jesus.
I want to share with you some ideas for celebrating Easter with your baby or toddler. Hopefully, you will find something fun for your little one’s Easter!
Read books that tell the Easter story.
This is one of the easiest ways to keep Easter focused on Jesus. Perhaps you have some books already, but if you don’t, here are some suggestions. My Very First Easter by Juliet David & Helen Prole has been our favorite board book to read about the story of Jesus. The text on each page is brief and the pictures are colorful and diverse. This is a good book for when you want to stay focused on the story. It’s great to read year-round!
Also,there are books which blend the story with thoughts for today, which is nice! We have some books like that as well. Our favorite of this type is The Story of Easter by Patricia A. Pingry. This book has beautiful illustrations and brings together how spring time is so fitting with Easter. The text is not too long, so it will hold your little one’s interest. This book is a treasure!
You can find out more about these books here:
Make an Easter Story Discovery Basket.
Let your little ones experience the Easter story! Gather up items which represent different parts of the Easter story. Make sure the items are safe for your child to play with (under your supervision). For our basket we used:
- Silk palm leaf
- Toy donkey
- Toy grapes (to signify the last supper)
- Plastic cross
- Strips of white fabric (optional: spray with perfume or drops of essential oils) to signify that Jesus was wrapped and prepared for burial
- A small decorative “rock” to represent the stone in front of the grave (use a real rock if you have one!)
- Purple fabric to signify that Jesus is our King
- A pink foam heart because God loves us so much that he sent his son to save us
- Our Easter story book
Use whatever items you can gather up to help tell the story. It doesn’t have to be the same items we used! For example, you could add some silk flowers because Jesus prayed in the garden before he was arrested. Read the story in the Bible and see what you have around your house! Place the items in a basket and let your child discover the different textures of the items. You can talk about their meaning as your child plays with them. I liked reading the story to Kate and pulling out items that correlated with each page. If some of your items were not designed for baby/tot play, remember to supervise your little one while they play with their discovery basket. This is a fun activity to do together!
This idea was adapted from Spell Out Loud.
Make Spring Time Sensory Bottles.
Our little girl loves sensory bottles. They are a great way to expose babies and tots to the wonders of creation! We like to use small water bottles (with the cap glued on), but you can use clean peanut butter or applesauce jars, or if you’re brave, a glass jar. Kate loved her sensory bottle last year, but she still plays with it now too! These will last you a long time. Here are some different ideas for filling your sensory bottle:
- Water and silk flowers
- Here is a little song we sing about flowers: (Sung to “Mary Had a Little Lamb”)
“God made all the beautiful flowers, beautiful flowers, beautiful flowers.
God made all the beautiful flowers.
Thank you God for flowers.”
- Fresh coffee grounds (NOT used) and toy insects
- (Sung to “Mary Had a Little Lamb”)
“God made bugs to crawl in the dirt, crawl in the dirt, crawl in the dirt.
God made bugs to crawl in the dirt.
Thank you God for bugs!”
- Easter basket “grass” with small craft Easter eggs
- (Sung to “Have You Ever Seen A Lassie?”)
“Do you see the Easter eggs, the very pretty eggs?
Do you see the Easter eggs?
They are hiding for you!
Have an Easter Photo Shoot.
OK, so this one is more for you than your child but I promise it’s worth it! I’ve never been a fan of the life-size Easter bunny, and it really wasn’t in our budget last year to do that so I set up a little photo scene at home to do on Easter! I’m an amateur by ALL means. Ideally, it would be great to do this outside, but we had a rainy Easter. I tucked our daughter’s baby quilt into the top shelf of her changing table. Then I opened the blinds to let in what little bit of natural light we had in our apartment on a rainy day! This was MUCH easier than waiting in a long line at the mall!
Fill that Easter Basket!
Last year I had to think really hard about what to put in our daughter’s basket. Obviously, candy was out of the question for a baby! We kept things super simple by purchasing a small basket, but I have plenty of ideas for things to put in your basket, no matter the size!
It’s hard to narrow this list because we’re addicted to children’s books in our house. Here are some of our favorites! Click on the titles for links to purchase.
Pat the Bunny–You can’t go wrong with this darling classic!
I Love You, Honey Bunny–The rhymes are the sweetest!
Jesus Loves Me! This book is perfect for Easter, not just because the song is appropriate, but the illustrator gives subtle hints to the Easter season throughout the pages. This is one of our favorite books in our whole library.
Where Are Baby’s Easter Eggs?—Your tot will love lifting the flaps!
Tickle, Tickle, Peter!–With different textures to feel on each page and short text, this book holds my daughter’s attention! This book is quite large. It might not fit in your child’s basket, but it will be lovely right next to it!
A Chick that Peeps
Hold the chick in your hand and listen to him peep! I found ours at Hobby Lobby. I can’t wait to see what our eighteen month old thinks of this one!
Can you really go wrong with bubbles? Get ready for the giggles!
Bright Starts Giggling Eggs
These are so much fun! Perfect if you have a large basket you are trying to fill. You can purchase them here.
Crayola Egg-Shaped Crayons
Perfect for little hands. Even if your baby is not ready for them now, they will be before you know it! You can find them here or look for them wherever Crayola products are sold.
Rubber ducks or other spring-themed bath toys make a great addition to an Easter basket!
Melissa & Doug Slide and Seek Egg
This is perhaps my most favorite basket item yet–so cute! Because it’s a quiet toy it’ll be great for our church bag. It is double-sided, with a hatching bird on one side and hatching chick on the other. You can find out more info here. The toy is currently out of stock from the manufacturer’s website, but I picked one up at Mardel. You can also find it at Amazon, but at a higher price.
Small Stuffed Animals or Puppets
We love to sing songs with our stuffed animals. Kate’s favorite is her bunny puppet. We sing the following to the tune of “Grump Went the Little Green Frog”:
Hop, hop went the fluffy white bunny one day.
Hop, hop went the fluffy white bunny.
Hop, hop went the fluffy white bunny one day.
God made the fluffy white bunny!
Here is the one we have: Bunny Puppet
Empty Eggs and Filled Eggs
Yes, I know empty eggs sound boring, but honestly our daughter loved playing with them! I used the decorative kind that don’t come apart.
This year I’m going to fill a couple of eggs! Here are a few ideas for filling those eggs since jelly beans might not be in your tot’s diet!
- Annie’s Bunnies (It’s like they are made just for Easter or something!) You can choose cheddar bunnies, graham cracker bunnies, or even fruit snack bunnies. You could also use goldfish, or whatever special treat your child likes. Even fresh fruit!
- Play Dough–Homemade would be really fun! Just squish it into one side of the plastic egg.
- Egg Shakers–Fill eggs with rice and use decorative tape to keep closed. (Supervise your little ones with these.)
Remember the Meaning of Easter
I hope you’ve found an idea or two to use as you celebrate Easter with the babies and toddlers in your life! It’s easy to get overwhelmed with trying to create the perfect holiday for your children, so don’t feel pressured. Do what works for your family and don’t feel guilty if someone else seems to be doing more!
Remember that Easter is about the forgiveness and grace lavished on us through Jesus. Take time to worship God, and remind your kids how much Jesus loves them. Many years from now, that is the best memory your child could ever have of Easter.
What things have you done with your little ones this Easter season?