DIY {teaching Easter to your preschooler}

I am always searching for ideas on how to teach all kinds of things to my kids. I especially hang on every word when others begin sharing with me how their parents taught them matters beyond ABC’s and etiquette….the deeper stuff. For Christians around the world the coming days are the foundation of our faith. Easter is when we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior Jesus. Heavy stuff to teach little ones. Last year we did Easter Bread/Resurrection Rolls. We did it again this year, but this time with crescent rolls. They tasted awesome and were fun for the boys to make…and faster. You can read more about it on my post from last year. Littlest Brother was especially fond of the marshmallows.

We also are trying something new: The Easter Hill. I got this idea from the book Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noel Piper (highly recommend the book). One of the ideas she shares for Easter is to basically make a hill out of salt dough. The hill includes a spot for the cross, the tomb, and places to place other people. The idea is to let the kids make the hill and the people (out of pipe cleaners). On Friday morning we will talk about when Jesus died on the cross and then the boys will place ‘Jesus’ in the tomb with the rock covering the opening. We will make some kind of tape thing covering the rock to symbolize the seal of the King. The boys will then check each day to see if the seal is broken…if Jesus is in the tomb. On Sunday morning (Easter Sunday) before they wake up I will roll away the stone and place Jesus on top of the hill (red ‘blood’ tinsel removed) to show He is alive.


This is by far a preschool activity, as Noel notes older kids could get too silly with it. I love this idea because it helps the kids understand the waiting between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I hope it helps them better understand why Easter is such a big celebration.

Here’s my notes on how we did it. We aren’t done yet. The boys will still be making pipe cleaner people, but I wanted to get this part posted so those of you that want to try it today can.


4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups salt
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon oil

Shape dough into a hill. Form a small hole/cave at the base. Press a rock into the cave opening to make a more exact fit between the two. Create a cross using small sticks and twine. Stick the cross into the top of the hill to make a hole. The dough will shrink a bit when baking so make sure the hole is just a bit bigger and deep enough to hold the cross. Use toothpicks to make small holes all over the hill. These will hold the ‘people’ made out of tinsel.

Cook at 250 for 4-5 hours. It is okay if the dough get a bit brown. Once fully cooked let cool completely. Once cool you can paint it.

1. Forming everything. Ummmmm….yes….my initial pic looks like a porcupine!

2. Removing everything before cooking.

3. After it is cooked, prior to painting.

Her dress matched our Easter Hill.

Don’t laugh at our creation (well you can laugh I am laughing at it)….remember it is for preschoolers and a 6 year old! The brown on ‘Jesus’ head is his crown of thorns. The red is blood….the older boys insisted that Jesus have blood on him on the cross. I only put Jesus on the cross for this picture, we won’t actually do it until Friday. After we talk through what happened on the cross then we will put ‘Jesus’ in the tomb and cover it with the rock….until Easter. The boys are going to make more people and my oldest wants two more crosses on the hill….

Have a great Thursday!

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  • Kelly - What a great idea! We’re going to do these cookies tonight I think.

  • ashlee - this is a wonderful visual reminder for the kids. i am still working on details for my older kids, i want to do something similar though. your oldest sounds like mine…of course there need to be three crosses, right:)

  • amanda torres - I was searching for this post last night! Thank you for posting again. I love the salt mound. Definitely doing that too!

  • Anna Joy - I love the salt dough idea! I will definitely try it next year 🙂

  • kate o. - i love noel piper’s book. i am glad you posted this. i’d forgotten about it and my boys are at the perfect age for it! we started doing “easter” baskets and egg dying and little gifts on the first day of spring but i’d forgotten about the great activities we could do with them during holy week. i’ve always wanted to see someone’s pics of noel’s ideas. thanks!

  • Kate - Great idea! Thank you, Ashley

  • diane - I love Noel Piper’s book. One of our traditions, is reading a children’s book that we read leading up to Palm Sunday. It is called Easter, Easter Almost Here. The book is really cute and great for little ones. We cut palm leaves out of green foam and the kids wave them around while we read the story. It’s fun for them and super easy.

  • Alicia - This was the perfect post for me today! Josiah and I went to Mardel this morning in search of hands-on things we could do together to prepare for Easter. He’s only 21 months, so we’re a little limited, but I’m excited about being intentional about it. (Thankfully, a change from the just-trying-to-survive mentality.) Did you do your crescent rolls according to the package instructions for temp and time and then just use the ingredients from the rolls recipe?

  • Robyn Lee - I love this post. I’m definitely going to read that book. I’m not a mom yet, but I’m always thinking of ideas that I would like to pass to my kids…. things that my parents didn’t do.

  • Kae - Awww I love this!! I love that your kids happily participate. And I totally love your Jesus (I’m not laughing!)…Thanks for the idea. Will definitely keep this in mind for the future!

  • Ruth@GraceLaced - I need more pragmatic ideas to add to the “deep stuff” we teach our kiddos. I really gave thought to it this year, and came up with 5 ways we would try and understand Easter Biblically and through the significance of the Passover lamb:

    Blessings this Resurrection Sunday!

  • Seamingly Sarah - thank you for posting this. I have a 2 year old and want to start traditions that bring christ into our house, but don’t know how (wasn’t raised christian) and don’t know what my daughter’s age/capability will allow.

  • Moriah - Thank you so much for posting this. I cannot wait to teach my kids the importance of Easter someday, and do this kind of stuff with them. What an awesome tradition to start every year – they are going to remember doing that for the rest of their lives. 🙂

  • jessica h - GREAT IDEA!! thanks!! I was just wondering yesterday how I could possibly communicate the deep message of Easter to my 2 year old…the tomb is awesome, and I am so excited to check out Noel’s book–I didn’t know it existed but love Piper’s theological books. Happy Easter to you, C, & the kiddos!

  • Melissa - Thank you for mentioning that book! I read a portion of it and had to pass it along to all my friends as well.

  • Christi - I would love to share your post along with the pictures in our church’s MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) newsletter. Would that be ok with you?

  • preparing our hearts for Easter » The Macs - […] you already saw a little peek of our newest Easter project this year. Last year me made an Easter mountain out of salt dough. The boys loved that but I wanted to try something new this year. I had seen the idea to make an […]

  • teaching our kids about Easter » The Macs - […] *This year it is probably too late to make the Easter grass tomb so I think we will make our Easter mountain out of salt dough again. We’ve made one before and the boys loved it too! Noel Piper talks about making an Easter mountain in her book Treasuring God in Our Traditions (such a good book!) and Ashley Ann has a great tutorial here. […]