My child is a visual learner. When it was time to potty train, we let her watch her diapers be “thrown away” (even though I saved most … just in case. Shhhh — don’t tell her!) And when it was time to get rid of her paci, she watched it fly away on balloons. She sees everything concrete right now, and visuals help reinforce what we teach her. This is the first Easter where she’ll have an idea of what’s going on around her, and I wanted a visual to help explain Jesus’ death and resurrection. I remembered something my mom did with us when we were children.
Let me just say … my mom is a rock star. Seriously. She’s taught art for forty years, and when it comes to creativity, no one beats her. She wakes up at 3:00 a.m. every morning with her mind churning, just thinking up new ideas and projects. This particular project she made up in the mid-1980’s — long before Pinterest! I set about re-creating her art project of Jesus’ tomb, but I was very nervous because I am not crafty. I love to draw and paint, but crafts are another story entirely. (That’s why they call it “arts AND crafts” — two completely different things!) That said, if someone not crafty can do this, then anyone can do it!
I’m not sure how to pronounce it properly: do you say it like “Paper Muh-shay” or “Pappy-A Muh-Shay?” Remember the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza breaks up with his girlfriend partly because she pronounced it “Pappy-A Muh-Shay?” I love that show! But potato/pu-taw-to… Here’s how you make a papier mâché tomb to celebrate and reinforce the redemptive story of Easter. You will need:
1. A balloon
2. 2 Cups of Flour
3. 2 Cups Water
4. Strips of newspaper
5. A Paintbrush
6. Paint for final product
Blow up a balloon and prop it up on a shoe box or plastic container. In a bowl, mix together the flour and water and stir until a smooth paste forms. Tear your newspaper into two-to-three inch wide strips (Tip: tear by hand, rather than cutting with scissors — the uneven edges look better on the finished project). Dip the newspaper strips piece by piece into the flour mixture, then adhere to the balloon. Continue this until the balloon is fully covered in newspaper, then do a second layer alternating the direction of the strips. Finally, take a paintbrush dipped in the flour mixture and brush all over the balloon, flattening out all the edges and removing air bubbles.
Let everything dry 24-48 hours (until the newspaper has hardened and is completely dry). Pop the balloon and trim the edges of the shell to look like a tomb. Cut a semi-circle in the front to be the stone that is rolled away. Paint the inside and outside of the tomb with craft or acrylic paint and let dry.
He is Risen!
As your teach your children the beautiful story of Christ dying on the cross in our place — taking on the penalty of our sins — and being buried in the tomb, you can put a Jesus figurine in the tomb on Good Friday. On Easter morning, roll away the stone and place an angel (I used the angel from our Christmas nativity set) in the tomb. Then read Matthew 28:2-6:
“And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.'” Hallelujah! He is risen indeed!