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Instead of hunting eggs, why not seek out lost sheep three times, just as resurrected Jesus commanded Peter at Galilee? Assign kids in companionships to hunt lambs (and candy) in 1) the missionary hunt; 2) the home & visiting teaching hunt; and 3) the ancestor hunt.
I wanted Easter to be 100% Christ centered, but still retain the magic I had always enjoyed as a child—searching through lawn and flowering tree branches for candy prizes and my own painted creations.
Inspiration came from Christ’s words to Peter during his resurrected appearance at the Sea of Galilee. Three times, Peter affirmed his love for Jesus and then Jesus told him to “Feed my lambs.” “Feed my sheep.” “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17).
We decided to replace traditional Easter eggs with lambs, and hide each lamb with candy (or a coupon for candy) so the children could “feed” the lamb when they found them. Lambs have appeared in many forms over the years:
- printed coloring pages of lambs
- sugar cookie lambs
- rice krispie treat lambs
- stuffed animal lambs from the thrift store
- lambie “eggs” from the dollar store
- lambs made of felt and buttons
There are tons of ways to customize this super-easy “Great Lamb Hunt,” which has become my all-time favorite holiday activity of the year. Here are a few ideas that have worked for us. (I’d love further ideas from readers in the comments!)
We start by reading the passage in John 21:15-17 and explaining why we are going to hunt for lambs three times.
1. The Missionary Hunt
For this hunt, the children decorate and name their personal lambs ahead of the hunt. We often hide several lambs for each child. We explain to the kids that some of our best friends in the pre-mortal life are now out in the world without the gospel. Everyone gets a missionary name tag before they go outside to find their best friends again and share an Easter treat.
2. The Home & Visiting Teaching Hunt
Kids are assigned in companionships, with each older child “training” a younger child. We hide about 5 lambs per companionship, and each lamb has a number on it (like a street address). Each kid companionship receives a paper listing the “street numbers” of the lambs they are assigned to find, but no further clues. They can’t share the candy until they’ve found all of their specifically assigned lambs. Sometimes we convene a “ward council” so kids can give each other clues about hard-to –find lambs. (Dad’s a tough hider!).
3. The Ancestor Hunt
This can be done many ways, but my favorite is driving to a local cemetery, even though we don’t live near the burial places of family members. While driving, we listen to music celebrating the resurrection (like the soundtrack of Savior of the World). We read tombstones to imagine the magnificent celebration that will happen in this sacred place in just a few years when Jesus comes again. We blow bubbles as a reverent (quiet, joyful) celebration and, of course, find another lamb and treat somewhere. (They just turn their backs for a minute while Mom hides them.) We talk about how to find deceased lambs in real life, and sometimes have ancestor spotlights.
May these ideas bless your kids and grandkids as they’ve blessed us. Please share your further ideas in the comments. And please share these ideas with the parents and primary leaders in your circles.