We know. The whole idea of your family having its own service for Easter at home can feel straight-up weird and even sad. You’re away from the traditions and people that make Easter feel like something worth celebrating.

Holding a family worship time might even carry some … objections for regular, messy families who are just trying to, say, get their kids to wear underwear or eat with a spoon.

Maybe you’d say, “Um, you would never want me to preach.”

“Have you heard me sing? I sound like a dying cow. In labor. Scratching her hooves on a chalkboard.”

“My kids do more fighting than paying attention.”

But here we are. Church is literally closed. People are hunting for hope like that Easter egg you know you hid somewhere last year.

And we need the promise of resurrection, of God’s victory, now more than ever.

With minimal prep, this Easter at home can still be meaningful and memorable. Even though it’ll look like church in your living room instead of smart-looking pastels at your church’s sunrise service.

1. A few days before Easter at home, ask your kids to prepare something to share with the family.

First Corinthians puts it this way: “When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up” (14:26).

So ask your kids to come with their own part of the service. Give a few ideas, based on their gifts and interests. Could your…

  • …son lead a song he likes?
  • …preschooler bring an Easter board book?
  • …teen give a few insights about the Scripture passage, or lead you all in prayer?
  • …daughter read the Bible verses?
  • …family each talk about something God’s showing you about Easter or Jesus’ journey to the Cross?
  • …kids draw a picture about the real, first Easter, and show it during worship time?

2. Decide on a few songs to sing about the Resurrection.

Maybe the idea of leading singing feels kind of like that dream of arriving in the carpool line in your undies. But you’ve got this, OK?

Find a YouTube video with lyrics, or download the song to play (you can read lyrics on your phones). Start with songs that are upbeat.

Allow kids to dance, play instruments, makeup actions, or whatever expresses their delight about Easter—whatever helps make their noise more joyful toward Jesus.

Need some fresh-as-green-grass song ideas?

  • When Death Was Arrested
  • Glorious Day
  • Exalted Over All
  • Lion and the Lamb
  • Your Love Awakens Me
  • God is Able
  • O Praise the Name (Anástasis)

Old-school, Easter-classic song ideas:

  • Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
  • Up From the Grave He Arose
  • Crown Him with Many Crowns

3. Select your warmup(s) to the Bible reading.

  • Grab crackers (or bread) and juice for your own family Lord’s Supper/Communion during your celebration of Easter at home. (Read from 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.) Providing it’s in line with your church’s convictions.
  • YouTube has a number of biblically-based videos to pick from and watch together. Search using “Resurrection Easter kids.”
  • Spend 30 seconds in silent prayer where you allow God to talk to your hearts about what you need to repent (“say sorry to God and each other”) for (see Matthew 5:24).
  • Pass out markers and paper for kids to draw what they’ll be hearing: a comic strip, a poster for their bedroom, or some Scripture art.
  • If you’re reading the Resurrection story, perhaps have kids close their eyes.  Ask questions using the five senses and emotion.
    • What might the women’s spices have smelled like?
    • What could they have heard or felt at sunrise?
    • Describe what they felt when the tomb was open, or saw the angels?
  • Using lemon juice or milk on cotton swabs, have kids write a verse in “invisible ink” on paper. When the paper is held up to a heat source (like a light bulb—careful!), the verse reveals itself. After Jesus rose to life, Jesus’ words and a lot of Scriptures became a lot clearer!
  • Let kids act out what they hear in the Bible story. If you want, have a few scarves or other props ready for instant pizzazz.
  • Maybe this is the time when your kids offer their unique part of the service from step #1.

Resurrection Eggs

4. Pick a passage.

  • John 20:1-29; Luke 24:1-12; Matthew 28:1-15: Pick a Resurrection account. Smaller kids may need a storybook-Bible version.
  • Luke 24:13-35: The Road to Emmaus.
  • In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul talks about the importance of the Resurrection (Good for older kids.)

5. Ask good questions.

With younger kids celebrating Easter at home, feel free to keep this simple and short!

  • What are these verses saying, in your words?
  • What verse sticks out to you? Why?
  • What does this tell us about God and what He wants us to know about Himself? About what’s true? About what we should do as we follow God?
  • Why does this matter? What’s it look like in our own lives? (Tip: Jesus rising means God wins over our most powerful enemy—death. That means all the things we’re scared about, all the things that could be powerful? God has control over all of that. Try applying this to COVID-19 right now!)
  • What does this make you love about God? What are you thankful for?

6. Pray together.

Keep it real and worshipful. One of your kids can do this part, too.

7. Finish Easter at home with one more celebration song.

And just like that, you’ve got this.

We promise you this will not go perfectly. Someone’s attitude will likely be in the ditch (it might even be yours). Chances are someone will be obnoxious. Or maybe someone will break wind.

The heart of your Easter at home isn’t for this to go off without a hitch, or to perform well enough for a Jesus-y Hallmark movie. As you plan, simply ask Him that He would be worshiped and adored from the heart by your family.

Remember: He was born in a stable. He chooses to be right here, where your kids keep asking, “When do we get chocolate?” His holiness purposefully collides with our humanity.

And He loves the wholehearted worship of your family every day of the year.

Copyright © 2020 Janel Breitenstein. All rights reserved.

Janel Breitenstein is an author, freelance writer, speaker and frequent contributor for FamilyLife, including Passport2Identity®, Art of Parenting®, and regular articles. After five and a half years in East Africa, her family of six has returned to Colorado, where they continue to work on behalf of the poor with Engineering Ministries International. Her book, on spiritual life skills for messy families (Zondervan), releases March 2021. You can find her—“The Awkward Mom”—having uncomfortable, important conversations at JanelBreitenstein.com, and on Instagram @janelbreit.