Enjoy this Easter lesson plan, suitable for children in grades 1–3.
know that Jesus’ friends saw and talked with him after his Resurrection.
recall the many ways the risen Jesus comes to us.
explain how to recognize Jesus and understand how to respond to him with love.
Student Handout A (Emmaus Play)
Student Handout B (Connect the Dots)
Student Handout C (Prayer Service)
Family Handout (The Days Following Easter)
Discuss with the children a time when they failed to recognize someone that they knew. Ask: Did you ever see someone from a distance and not recognize him or her at first? Invite the children to explain. Then say: Maybe one of your friends started walking toward you, and you didn’t know it was your friend until he or she came closer. You might have said, “Oh, I didn’t know it was you!” Has this ever happened to you? Ask the children how they felt when they saw that the stranger was a person they knew.
Introduce the story of Jesus’ encounter with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Say: In the story two people didn’t recognize their special friend when they first met him. Do you know who their special friend was? Tell students that the answer to the question is in Student Handout A.
Distribute Student Handout A, Emmaus Play. Assign strong readers to play the five characters.
When the children have finished, discuss the play. Ask: How did Jesus’ friends feel while Jesus was with them as they walked down the road together? (They felt their hearts were burning.) Then ask: Sometimes people who are in love say that their hearts are burning with love. What do you think this means? (They love someone so much they can feel the love. Their hearts are warm and happy with love.)
Tell the children: We meet Jesus many times each day, but sometimes we are like the two disciples. We don’t recognize Jesus either. Jesus may not look like the pictures we see of him.
Guide the children in completing Student Handout B, Connect the Dots. After the pictures are completed, start a discussion. Say: When we hear the Bible read or read it ourselves, we hear the words of Jesus. Then ask: How can you show Jesus that you know he is speaking to you in the Bible? (Listen well, try to do what he tells us to do in the Bible, try to remember Bible stories and tell them to others.)
Have the children look at the pictures they completed and then ask: When else do we meet Jesus? (Accept all reasonable answers.) Say: God made people like himself and gave his life to them in Baptism. Jesus is present in people in a special way. That is why he said, “What you do to others, you ________.” (Have children finish the phrase with “do to me.”)
Ask: Which picture shows how you will meet Jesus most often today? (the picture of the people) Then ask: How can you show that you know you are meeting Jesus in other people? (Listen to them, be kind, help them, speak in a friendly way.)
Now lead the children in prayer using Student Handout C, Prayer Service.
Print out the handout The Days Following Easter and have the children take it home to their families.
Enriching the Faith Experience
Print short and simple Scripture verses related to Christ’s Resurrection on large sheets of paper. Give one to each child to illustrate.
Let the children make up skits to dramatize ways that they can bring Easter joy to others.
Teach the children some traditional Easter hymns.