Holy Week Creative Projects

FREE PRINTABLE PLANNER

This is a series of creative projects for exploring the themes of Holy Week with young children. We started working on it during the COVID-19 crisis, when we had the extraordinary experience of spending Pascha at home.

Holy Week is a topic that has been explored by a wide variety of Orthodox religious education sources, so we felt we wouldn’t really be making a valuable contribution by offering lesson plans like we usually do. Instead, we thought it would be more effective to focus on a collection of creative activities that can be done while discussing the themes of each day. In the “Background” section at the bottom of this page, we have collected many external resources for you to explore that can be used in addition to our creative projects for complete lessons on the explored themes.

We have created a flapbook planner that can be used together with the activities to help navigate Holy Week. It can be found in the printable packet above.

WAYS TO USE THIS MATERIAL:

– At home, one or more activities could be done each day, on the actual day they are planned for. The child could follow along using the planner.

– At a religious retreat setting, the projects could be done together, as a unit on Holy Week and Pascha. The children could first make the planner to keep and use during Holy Week, and then proceed to do a selection of the activities while discussing the topics.

At Sunday School, only making a planner while discussing each theme could in itself comprise a Holy Week lesson – without doing any of the other activities. The projects could be offered as optional resources for the children to explore at home during Holy Week.

THE EXPLORED THEMES

On Holy Week, many services are performed in anticipation, before the actual day they belong to. So, for example, the Orthros (Matins) of one day usually takes place on the evening of the previous day. We find this too confusing to explain to young children, so we have designed our planner and activities to go along with what is actually happening at church on each specific day. This way, for instance, on Holy Monday, we are working on a theme that actually belongs to Holy Tuesday, because this theme is mentioned at church in the evening of Holy Monday.

Additionally, on most days, there are more than one themes celebrated. We have chosen to work on some, but not all, of the celebrated themes.


THE PLANNER

Instructions


THE CREATIVE PROJECTS

LAZARUS SATURDAY

Explored theme: The Raising of Lazarus

Bible reading: John 11: 1-45

* In addition to the creative projects, we have created a full lesson plan on the Raising of Lazarus, that also includes background information and a variety of printables and activities – it was the very first page we worked on for Orthodox Pebbles. *


PALM SUNDAY

Explored theme for Palm Sunday morning:
– The triumphant entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem

Bible reading: John 12: 12-18

Explored theme for Palm Sunday evening:
– The withered fig tree

Bible reading: Matthew 21: 18-20


HOLY MONDAY & TUESDAY

Explored theme for Holy Monday evening:
– The parable of the ten virgins

Bible reading: Matthew 25: 1-13

Explored theme for Holy Tuesday evening:
– The anointing of our Lord with myrrh by the woman in the house of Simon in Bethany

Bible reading: Matthew 26: 6-13


HOLY WEDNESDAY

Explored themes:
– The Sacrament of Holy Unction

– Judas’ betrayal

– The Mystical Supper

Bible reading
The Betrayal: Luke 22: 1-7
The Mystical Supper: Luke 22: 14-23


HOLY THURSDAY & FRIDAY

Explored themes:
– The Crucifixion
– The Lament

Bible reading
On Holy Thursday evening, the “Twelve Gospels” are read, detailing the Holy Passion.

The parts about the Crucifixion are:
Mark 15: 21-32
Matthew 27: 35-54
Luke 23:32-49

The parts about the burial are:
John 19: 25-37
Mark 15: 43-47
John 19: 38-42
Matthew 27: 62-66


HOLY SATURDAY

Explored themes:
– Celebration of the “First Resurrection”
– The icon of the Descent into Hades

Bible reading: Matthew 28: 1-20


HOLY SUNDAY OF PASCHA

Explored themes:
– Pascha traditions

Bible reading
Mark 16: 1-8
John 1: 1-17


Free Lesson Plans and Extra Activities

Specifically for Lazarus Saturday and for Pascha, we have also created comprehensive lesson plans containing material that you can use together with the creative projects. Please visit the web pages: 
The Raising of Lazarus
Four Icons for Pascha


ADDITIONAL RESOURCE:
PASCHA LEARNING SETS


BACKGROUND

For the teacher

Special thanks to Y2AM for allowing us to embed their video into our webpage. For more, please visit y2am.org.

Teaching resources

There is a number of great Orthodox Holy Week and Pascha educational resources available online. Below we are listing some that we have found very useful.