Learning About Easter With "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe"
If you haven't used CS Lewis with your kids this Easter Season to talk about Jesus' sacrifice and the victory of his redemption, then check out some of these resources. When I get the opportunity to use literature to teach theological messages I can't resist, especially CS Lewis. His writings carry profound Christian themes, messages, and lessons that make them always relevant and intruing for adults and children alike. In particular, The Chronicles of Narnia is the perfect series for even a wide age range, you can adapt these resources to use with older elementary students all the way to lower highschool ages. Its whimsical appeal to the imagination, yet relatable explanations of truths is really great read for the whole family. One book in particular that I enjoyed using when I taught underclassmen several years ago was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. You might think that a sophomore in Highschool would not be interested but that could not be further from the truth. In fact, many of them, who had never seen or read this story before, were excitedly pointing out all of the connections to Christ. You know those "A-HA" moments that your kids have when their eyes light up and they just seem to get it? This story inspired quite a bit of that and it was very rewarding to experience. I thought for sure they would have already known that Aslan was the Christ figure, but much to my surprise, they did not! Oops, Spoiler Alert, sorry!
The crucifixion can be a difficult topic to discuss, especially with children. We love Jesus, it’s almost unfathomable to even try to imagine that He would have to endure such a violent, cruel, gruesome death. But then to talk about it and explain it makes it that much more challenging. This allegorical story makes it possible for children, and even young teenagers, to not only understand what Christ endured but even more so why he endured it. It acts as a primer for learning about the passion, death, and resurrection of Our Lord through relatable characters and story telling.
Below are some resources to get you going, reading the book is a must in my opinion but the movie is an added bonus!
Ancient Faith Radio has the audiobook for free in the link below. This is perfect for car rides, snack time, or quiet reading time.
I thought it would be lots of fun to host a Tea with Mr. Tumnus! Have a tea party with the children and discuss some of their favorite parts of the book. (If you scroll down I have a PDF attached that has great questions to ask if you aren't comfortable making them up on your own.) You could talk about their favorite characters and see if they are picking up on the imagery of Aslan or the faith of the Pevensie children. If you like to cook or make treats with your kids try this delicious looking recipe by The Spruce Eats for Turkish Delights!
Image: The Spruce Eats
Coloring pages can also go along with any activity for younger children to bring the story to life and give them more silent reading activities. Here is a resource that has several ready to print!
There are also these printable paper dolls of Lucy with different outfits that can be colored and used as an after reading activity. I love the nostalgia of a paper doll, I hope you do too!
Image: The Lion's Call
This PDF by Lasting Thumbprints has a study guide that I really like and I believe to be easily adaptable for varying ages. Hopefully these can act as a starting point for you to potentially create questions to engage your children. In addition to that it also has character charts, a comic strip activity, and writing prompts.
If you are doing this at home with older children, junior high or lower highschool, this would be a wonderful opportunity to use Scripture. There are so many parallels between the story and the Bible that you could use this to discuss matters of faith with them. Here are are a few themes that stand out to get you going!
1. Betrayal & Forgiveness
2. God's Love
3. Christian Identity & Inesecurity
4. Good & Evil
For more check out this link from Catholic Exchange!
With older children you could also use this link below to enjoy some trivia together! Prizes are always a bonus.
Something that I find to be of great importance in nurturing the minds of children and young people is their ability to imagine. With the internet and technology always at their finger tips this is quickly, steadily, and positively deminishing. I'm sure you remember when you were a child and your parents would tell you to just go play outside. If your outside was anything like mine there wasn't a whole lot going on out there. We would make up worlds, languages, songs, stories, and adventures that all came from our fanciful desire to play! I see this lacking in so many children because there is this need to be entertained instead of discover. This is a part of why I love this series so much, because it shows you through the eyes of children the fantasy and wonder that is to be experienced. I would highly recommend as an activity to have your children write their own fantasy, create a world with their own characters and concepts. I believe it is in these moments that we get to see the hearts and minds of our children, what they question and ponder. You could also have them create their own Narnia Map or map for their own imaginative world!
If you start his endeavor let me know how it goes, I would love to hear about it. You don't have to use all of the resources, you can mix and match to fit the needs and interests of your family. Even if it comes down to watching the movie as a family with a big bowl of popcorn and talking about it afterwards, then we have started turning the wheels. The goal here is to have our domestic church engage the meaning of the Easter season and what better way to do that then with C.S.Lewis, tea, turkish delights, and the resurrection of Jesus!