The Cottingley Fairies… an Easter illustration

pexels-photo-138964.jpegBack in 1917, two cousins lived in a town called Cottingley in England. Their names were Elsie and Frances – Elsie was 16, and Frances was 10. Frances’ mum told her never to play down by the river that was nearby their house but Frances disobeyed and went there anyway. One day, she slipped and got her feet wet. When she went home, her mum was very cross, and asked her why she’d gone down to the river. Frances answered that she’d gone down there to see the fairies! Of course, no-one believed Frances, but her cousin Elsie said that she’d seen the fairies as well! Later that day, the girls borrowed Elsie’s dad’s camera and went into the woods and, later, they developed this picture:

(Do a Google Search for “The Cottingley Fairies”)

Soon, people were discussing the girls’ pictures across the country – some people believed them, and some didn’t. The girls were clear though – they really had seen fairies and had taken pictures of them.

(Ask) Who here believes the girls?

But, in 1982, 65 years after they took the photographs, the girls, now old ladies, admitted that they’d faked the pictures, and that the fairies were just dolls that they’d stuck to the logs.

Have you ever tried to convince someone that something ordinary was something much more exciting?

We can read in the Bible about how a group of people did the opposite thing – they tried to convince everyone that something extraordinarily amazing was something else – and it happened just after Jesus died…

Read passage:

Matthew 28:

 1The Sabbath was over, and it was almost daybreak on Sunday when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2Suddenly a strong earthquake struck, and the Lord’s angel came down from heaven. He rolled away the stone and sat on it. 3The angel looked as bright as lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards shook from fear and fell down, as though they were dead.

    5The angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was nailed to a cross. 6He isn’t here! God has raised him to life, just as Jesus said he would. Come, see the place where his body was lying. 7Now hurry! Tell his disciples that he has been raised to life and is on his way to Galilee. Go there, and you will see him. That is what I came to tell you.”

    8The women were frightened and yet very happy, as they hurried from the tomb and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them and greeted them. They went near him, held on to his feet, and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid! Tell my followers to go to Galilee. They will see me there.”

 11While the women were on their way, some soldiers who had been guarding the tomb went into the city. They told the chief priests everything that had happened. 12So the chief priests met with the leaders and decided to bribe the soldiers with a lot of money. 13They said to the soldiers, “Tell everyone that Jesus’ disciples came during the night and stole his body while you were asleep. 14If the governor hears about this, we will talk to him. You won’t have anything to worry about.” 15The soldiers took the money and did what they were told. The Jewish people still tell each other this story.

So, the two girls in our first story saw something ordinary – a few dolls in a forest – but they made it out to look amazing! Meanwhile, in the story of Jesus’ resurrection, the guards saw something amazing – Jesus was back from the dead! But they spread a story that made the amazing out to look ordinary. However, as Jesus started to show Himself to the people around about – more than 518 – their story started to look a bit suspect.

Please remember this Easter that the Easter story is amazing! We talk about it so much that we forget that it’s incredible, and not made up – but those things are true! This is not the made-up story of a couple of English schoolgirls, or even a group of fishermen 2000 years ago – this is true! God’s son, raised to life, at Easter, for us!


Welcoming Jesus – Palm Sunday

pexels-photo-572487.jpegImagine for a moment that someone very important was coming to town – maybe the Queen, Donald Trump, a famous sports star or someone else. What would you do? How would you act? How would you prepare? (Make a cake; wave a flag; play some music; do a dance; wave your hands; give flowers)

(Pick a child to be (for example) The Queen – give them a crown and a robe)

Bring “the Queen” in and get the children to respond appropriately (select a child to bow and one to present some flowers. Ask all the children to cheer (respectfully) etc).

The Queen is important, but Jesus is the most important person that has ever been so, one day, when He was visiting a town called Jerusalem, everyone was very excited! Jesus had done so many amazing things and had taught so many people about God and His Kingdom that people were always excited to see Him but, on this particular day, they were even more excited. In fact, they were so excited they tore the branches off trees and took off their clothes and waved them in the air! They sang and shouted and were overjoyed, just because He had come to town. We call that day Palm Sunday because they even used palm branches to celebrate Jesus.

Jesus is just as amazing and special to us today as He was back then – He still does amazing things and still teaches us through His Bible and we can get excited about Him too! The Bible tells us that Jesus is with us here, right now – we don’t need to wave branches and clothes in the air to welcome Him because He is already here, even though we can’t see Him. However, we can do some other things to let Him know that He is special to us – we can talk to Him; we can sing songs to Him and sing songs about Him; we can say thank-You to Him for being by our side all the time. So let’s do that now.


Explaining ‘ransom’

I’ve been mulling over how to explain the term “ransom” to younger children, to help with a Club I’ve been involved with – it’s a difficult term to understand at the best of times, especially if you’re very young.


With that in mind, I thought about how what we pay reflects the ‘preciousness’ of the thing we’re buying, and also indicates who is involved in the transaction, so I thought of a few things you might want to ‘ransom’, or buy back from a particular person, and what you might be willing to pay…

Mr Tayto (the face of a brand of crisps here in Northern Ireland – you might also use Julius Pringles (for that is apparently his name!)) has taken your favourite hat – what might you pay him to get it back? Potato

Bob the Builder has borrowed your hammer – what would you give him to get it back? Rawl plugs/screws/nails

Optimus Prime wants to sell you some furry dice for your car – what might you pay him with? De-icer or similar

Lady Gaga has taken your sausages to wear – what might you use to convince her to give them back? Hairspray

You want to buy Jack’s cow – what might he sell her for? Magic Beans

When it comes to buying something back, or paying a ransom for something, we can use all sorts of things to buy and swap. But did you know that we need to be bought back too? We are all caught up in sin – which means the wrong things we do – it’s like sin has trapped us and owns us and we can’t get out of it. So God wanted to buy us out of it – but because we are so special to Him He didn’t use potatoes or magic beans or even gold or money. We are so precious that God gave the most precious thing He has to ransom us – His own Son.

(Mark 10:45 is the verse we’re using to hang this on)


Storytelling Easter Eggs

Easter is almost upon us again and that means that, like me, your house has probably got a few of these in it (show Easter egg).

What is the best thing about Easter eggs? (take answers – they have a packet of sweets with them; they’re delicious; they’re made of chocolate; they’re a cool shape etc)

(If you have enough types of Easter eggs to hand, you could vote on your favourite egg)

I think the best thing about Easter eggs is that they’re really good storytellers!

Y’see, Easter eggs can tell us the story of the first Easter… here’s how:

The people of Israel were trapped, as though inside a box (show egg in box) – they weren’t really trapped inside anything, but they were trapped in the ways they thought and lived – they were always trying to live perfect lives and they kept on getting it wrong and making mistakes. They were worried that God would not love them if they kept on making mistakes but they didn’t know what else to do, so they felt sad and hopeless and trapped.

But then Jesus came. Jesus was not like the other people – He showed them how to live (take egg out of the box). He showed them what God is like; He showed them how to love; He healed them when they were sick… He was perfect when they were not. It was like He freed them from a wrong way of thinking and showed them that there was another way to live. (Show sweets that come with the egg) He made their lives sweeter and gave them good things.

(Put egg aside)

But they still worried about the mistakes they made – they needed someone to take away all the bad things… so Jesus helped them there as well. He died on the cross to take the blame for all the wrong things in the world ever, so that people could be sure that God loves them and that these wrong things weren’t getting in the way.

(Open the box out to show a cross (this is something you might like to prepare earlier))

Jesus died and was buried in a cave, and a large stone (show egg) was rolled in front of the cave’s entrance.

And that was the end of the story…

Except it wasn’t! The egg has something else to tell us: on the third day after His death, some of Jesus’ friends went to visit His grave and they found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance of the cave! When they looked inside the cave, they found that it was (open egg) empty!

Jesus is God’s Son, and Jesus is perfect, so He didn’t stay dead! He rose again and is still alive today!

So that’s how an Easter egg can tell you the story of the first Easter – the people were boxed up in wrong ways of thinking, but Jesus came to help them think in a different way; He gave them good things and died in their place. He was buried in a cave, but came back to life again. Forever!

Easter Sunday, early in the morning…

A short drama taken from John’s Gospel:


Cast:            Peter, John and Mary Magdalene


Peter and John are sitting in the Upper Room. They’re dressed in dark clothes and are upset.


Peter (sad, downcast, talking to the children): Something terrible’s happened – It happened the day before yesterday and I just can’t get over it. Our leader, our master, our teacher, a man called Jesus – someone we thought would never leave us… well, He died on Friday… in fact, He was murdered.


John: The whole day was a nightmare – there were some men called Pharisees who were really jealous of Jesus and they wanted to kill Him so they had Him arrested. One of our friends, Judas, betrayed us and told the soldiers were Jesus was. The strange thing was that Jesus allowed the soldiers to take Him away.


Peter: He was taken to the palace and, after a lot of questions and people being really unkind to Him, Jesus was taken to a place called Calvary and that’s where they crucified Him.


John: It really is that worst thing that could happen because we thought Jesus was someone really special… we thought He was the Son of God… but how can the Son of God be dead!? It just doesn’t make…


(Suddenly Mary interrupts them by rushing in)


Mary: Peter, John! I’ve seen Him! I’ve seen Him!


Peter: Who, Mary? Who have you seen?


Mary: Jesus! I’ve seen Him!


John: Mary, that’s not fair – you shouldn’t joke about that sort of thing.


Mary: I’m not joking! Let me tell you what happened.


Peter: OK, Mary, what happened this morning?


Mary: (Talking to the children now with Peter and John looking on) Well, early this morning, Salome, James’ mum and I went to the cave where Jesus had been buried so that we could pour some oils and spices on His body – that’s what we do in this part of the world. Anyway, when I got there I discovered something really strange: When Jesus’ body was put in the cave a huge stone was put at the entrance so that no-one could get in but, when we arrived, we found that the stone was rolled away! I looked inside the cave and found that Jesus’ body wasn’t there anymore!


Peter (getting angry):       WHAT? What do you mean? Where was His body? Has somebody taken it!?


Mary: No, Peter, listen. There were two… I don’t know…. I thought they were men but they were shining. I think they might have been angels. I was really upset when I couldn’t find His body because, like you Peter, I thought someone had taken His body away. I started to cry and I turned around to find someone to see if they could tell me what was going on. (To the children) Do you know the way when you cry that it’s sometimes hard to see because your eyes are full of tears? Well, I was like that and I almost bumped into a man in the garden. I was crying really hard by then and He said: “Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” I said to Him: “They’ve taken my Lord’s body! I don’t know where they have put Him…” Then the man said one word; He said, “Mary” and I looked up and… it wasn’t a gardener at all – it was Jesus! Alive! He told me to come and tell you that He was alive so that you can see Him before He goes to Heaven!


John: What?! He’s alive?! I’ve gotta go see this for myself! Come on, Peter! Let’s go and look at that empty tomb!


(Peter and John run out)


Mary: Jesus is alive! This is the best day ever! We thought that everything was lost – we thought He was dead forever but He’s not dead. This means that He really is Who He said He was – He’s the Son of God! I’ve got to run – this is such good news that I’ve got to tell everyone!


(Mary leaves)

Who killed the King? 

This is an adaptation of a script we used in Primary School. I couldn’t find a copy of the original but I remembered the gist of it so wrote my own version. It’s a super drama to think through the motivations of the main players in the Easter Story…

(Those of you who know the old poem “Who killed Cock Robin?” will recognise the inspiration for the format of this).

Who killed the king?


Everybody: Who killed the King?


“I” said the guard

“I set to work with nail and spear,

This so-called king I did not fear!

I killed the King.”


Everybody: Who killed the King?


“It was me”, said Judas.

“It was all above board,

I was paid a good price to betray my Lord.

I killed the King.”


Everybody: Who killed the King?


“We Pharisees did!

We were jealous and so, with our lies and deceit,

We made the crowd angry and achieved this great feat.

We killed the King.”


Everybody: Who killed the King?


“We” said the crowd,

“With our cries and demands,

We wanted Him dead and tied Pilate’s hands,

We killed the King.”


Everybody: Who killed the King?


“It was not I”

Said Pilate in fear

“I washed my hands,

And did not hear!

I did not kill the King!”


Everybody: Who killed the King?


“We” says the World.

“Because of His love,

He came to die for us from Heaven above.

We killed the King.”










Words are brilliant, and there are so many interesting words out there. Here are five words, and I want you to tell me what they mean…


A magic spell?
Someone who reads too much?
A blocked loo?


An outside toilet?
A little punch on the nose?
A young goat?

A little drawing?
Something that’s easy?
A dog having a paddle?


The name of the dot over an i?
A fox that is kept as a pet?
A big toe?


Eggsellent Egg-giving time?
A time when Bouncing Bunnies give away sweet treats?
A special time when Christians remember the death and resurrection of Jesus?

That’s a bit of an easy question, but if we’re honest, we do tend to think more of chocolate eggs than Jesus at Easter – and the eggs are delicious, so it’s easy to get caught up in the eggcitement of them (huh?!) but I wanted to come along and show you how you can use eggs to help you remember the real meaning of Easter.


The first letter in EGGS reminds us that Jesus, God’s Son, was Executed on the first Easter. He was crucified, which was a horrible way to die. The Bible tells us that he did that to take the blame for the wrong things people like you and I do.

The second letter – G – can stand for Good Friday, the day on which this happened.

Letter number three is also a G and reminds us of what happened to Jesus after He was executed. A rich man called Joseph came and took His body and laid it in a Garden Tomb.

And then, finally, S stand for Sunday, because on the Sunday after the Friday – the third day – some ladies came to visit the Garden Tomb. In those days when someone died, people poured perfume over the body. But when they went to pour perfume over Jesus they found that He wasn’t there! His body had vanished! They got into a flap (as you would expect) but to their surprise, they met Jesus Himself, no longer dead but alive again! Because Jesus is God’s Son and because He died to take the blame for things He did not do, God raised Him to life and, what’s more, the Bible tells us that He is alive forevermore!

So, eat your eggs and enjoy them, but use the letters to remind you of the true meaning of Easter – about God’s Son who was executed on Good Friday and laid in a Garden Tomb and was raised to life on Easter Sunday – and it was all for us!

Happy Easter!

An Easter picnic

Here’s a way to tell the Easter story using food – give each child the following things on a little plate and, as you tell the story, get them to eat the various things at the right time.

Food: Glass of water, Salted crisps, chocolate coins, lettuce leaves/sugar flowers, small chocolate egg, cinnamon lozenge, ‘Happy Face’ biscuit

Jesus’ friends were sad – they had cried many tears because their friend was dead (Drink water / share some salted crisps)

They thought their friend Jesus was a very special King and now that He was dead, they didn’t know what to think.

Jesus died on a cross on a Friday. A rich man (chocolate coin) called Joseph buried Jesus in a cave in his garden (lettuce leaf / sugar flower). A large stone was rolled in front of the opening of the cave so that no-one could go inside (show (but don’t eat) the egg).

On Sunday morning, some of Jesus’ friends went to visit the tomb where He was buried. In those days, when someone died, people poured spices over the body (remember how the lady a few weeks ago poured perfume over Jesus to get Him ready for His death). Jesus’ friends, including a lady called Mary wanted to pour spices over Jesus (cinnamon lozenge).

Mary and her friends wondered how they would be able to roll away the large stone – it was too heavy for them to move! But they found when they got there, that the stone had been rolled away! (eat the egg)

The ladies looked inside the saw that Jesus wasn’t there! The only thing left behind was the cloths that had been wrapped around His body!

Mary was so sad (salted crisps again) – she wondered why someone had taken Jesus’ body away. She ran through the garden and bumped into someone… She looked up and saw that the person she has bumped into was JESUS! He was alive again! Mary was so happy! (Happy Face biscuit)

Jesus told her to tell everyone that He was alive again – Jesus is still alive today! He died and rose again to take away our sins so that we might one day be able to go to Heaven when we die to be with Him.

Wonky donkeys

Palm Sunday is fast-approaching and that means many of us are looking for donkey-related craft activities! I came across this site that has a few nice ideas (including one involving clothes pegs that I loved):

Here’s a template for the clothes peg donkeys: all you need is two pegs per child, and the donkeys photocopied onto card!

Donkey template