We have been making a playdough mountain on Good Friday for many years. I got the idea from Desiring God's website. It's also in Noel Piper's book, Treasuring God in our Traditions.
Ingredients for the playdough
4 c. of flour
1.5 c. salt
1.5 c. water
1 Tbs. oil
Other supplies you may need
empty can, washed and dried
pipecleaner (or some other way to symbolize Jesus).
We have used Lego men in the past.
large baking pan
enough sticks to make three crosses
This time of year may mark the one year anniversary of when I declared to the blog world that I pretty much loathe cooking with my kids. I do. It's true. Sue me.
Thankfully, it only took me 11 years to figure out a way to get around kitchen crafts being an all-around stressful time in our house. Before we started the tomb making, I gathered the supplies and the kids and said something like this...
"I love you guys. I want to do fun things with you. I want to be the kind of mother that cooks with you, makes a big, nasty, fun mess with you. I want that. It's just...I'm not that mom right now. You guys are freakishly messy when we're cooking and it makes my insides go a little bit insane. I try to be patient, but I end up snapping, turning something that I really want to be fun into something that isn't fun. I hate that. So...if I seem snappy, you are free to remind me to take deep breaths...to chill out. You are free to mock me and laugh at me."
Half way through this speech the boys were already mocking me. Mission accomplished.
Mix all the playdough ingredients, stir, and knead until a soft dough forms.
Add water if necessary.
Hudson looks a tad-bit in love with the salt.
At this point, flour and salt were flying all over the kitchen and in one child's nose. As soon as something would go awry, the kids would look up at me and say, "Take a deep breath mom." This strategy worked. We had a blast even though I found flour in four different rooms in our house.
Shape the dough around the can leaving enough to make a large stone to cover the tomb.
While the dough is soft, use the end of your sticks (the ones you will use to make the crosses) to form holes in the dough. Form the holes a little larger than the sticks (the holes shrink up a little while the tomb is in the oven.) Bake on 350 for about 2 hours.
While the tomb is in the oven, it's time to make three crosses.
Once the tomb has cooled off, it's fun to paint it.
Next, make a pipe cleaner Jesus, or use something you already have to symbolize Jesus. I like the pipe cleaner because it's abstract. We purposefully don't use a white pipe cleaner because it's important to us to remind our kids that Jesus wasn't white. Personally I like using a totally bogus color for Jesus because it's fun to talk about how we really don't know what Jesus looked like. We can only guess.
We tell the Easter story, then wrap Jesus in toilet paper (poor Jesus) and put him in the tomb.
Then we seal up the tomb.
On Easter morning, the kids find the tomb empty, and the "linens" folded neatly inside. He has risen!
True story: It always feels kind of creepy throwing Pipe Cleaner Jesus in the trash on Easter morning.
I know this craft is for the kids, but the past six or so Easter mornings, I've rolled out of bed bright and early, removed Jesus from the tomb, and tossed him in the trash. This does not seem like the best way to start the day! Maybe next year we need to spend some time talking about how Jesus didn't go straight to heaven. He appeared to his friends and to a large crowd.
Last year the kids were really into Legos. Jesus was a Lego guy, and Lego guards surrounded the grave. The light sabers got edited out of the real Easter story, but surely they were there.
Because the grave is empty, this life feels incredibly full. Of light. Hope. Forgiveness. Grace. And love.