The Easter Story
Telling the Easter story by using our fingers and thumbs
by Revd Oliver Harrison (revised, originally published in 2006)
Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1
To tell the story of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension by using fingers and thumbs.
Preparation and materials
- Familiarize yourself with the story of Jesus: his life with the disciples, his death, his resurrection and his ascension.
- Practise the actions required for the assembly.
- Explain that you are going to use your hands to tell the Christian story of Easter and what happened afterwards.
Ask the children to watch carefully. If appropriate, you can ask the children to do the actions with you. Alternatively, you could do the story on your own first, and then again with the children joining in.
- Right hand
- Stick your thumb up (in the classic ‘OK’ gesture): Jesus is alive.
- Tuck your thumb inside your fist, behind the four fingers: Jesus is dead in the cold, dark tomb.
- Pop your thumb back up to its original position: Jesus is alive (again!).
Hold that position with your right hand, while performing the following movements with your left hand.
- Left hand
- Spread out all five fingers: these are the disciples. (Explain that five will have to do to represent them all.)
The risen Jesus (the right hand in thumbs-up position) greets his disciples (the spread-out left hand). The right thumb may touch the thumb and each of the fingers on the left hand. (The children will love it if you make a kissing noise by smacking your lips each time they touch!)
Jesus ascends into heaven . . .
- With your left hand, put your thumb up and raise your hand above your head. This signifies God on his throne in heaven.
- With your right hand, Jesus (the raised thumb of the right hand) ascends into heaven (raise your right hand up, still with the thumb sticking up, until it is next to the already raised left hand, with its thumb sticking up) and is seated at the right hand of his father (the raised thumb of the left hand) in glory.
- Your final position should be both of your hands in fists with thumbs raised and elevated above your head. The right hand represents Jesus, who has lived, died, risen and ascended to sit at the right hand of his father in heaven.
Time for reflection
Invite the children to repeat the actions without the words as a reflection or prayer if they choose.
‘All in an Easter garden’ (Come and Praise, 130)