Teddy’s Easter Surprise!

Here’s an interactive story to use at a toddler group Easter celebration. It involves a hen laying eggs, a bird building a nest and a rabbit, but the inclusion of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly provides a simple metaphor for the Easter story.

Toddler groups might like to invite their minister to explain briefly to the adults how this metamorphosis mirrors the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The story leads well into an Easter egg hunt (and is available to buy from CPO with all you need for an Easter Celebration for your group!)

 

Ready: Decorate your meeting room and/or kitchen counter with some Easter items such as some spring flowers, some twigs with catkins, a decorative nest with eggs, chicks, mini eggs.

Pack a story basket with some props/pictures to illustrate the story: a toy hen, bird, rabbit, caterpillar and butterfly. Use a pair of socks for the cocoon and hide the butterfly in one of them.

 

Teddy: If possible, dress Teddy in some play clothes such as a pair of dungarees and wellingtons.

 

Go: You’re ready to mirror the sadness, but ultimately the joy of the Easter story.

 

Storytelling tips: Practice the story out loud several times before you perform it, especially hiding the caterpillar and bringing out the butterfly so that this becomes really slick. Alternatively, ask a helper to show the props for you.

Try to use your voice to show the sadness, happiness and surprise in the story.

 

Leader: Welcome to our Easter celebration, everyone! Have you noticed how everything outside is bursting into life? The flowers, the trees – even the birds are bursting into song! Well, one spring day, Teddy was out in his garden but he didn’t have anyone to play with. It made him feel sad. Poor Teddy! Can you make a sad face?

All: (All pull corners of mouths down and make sad faces)

Leader: If only Teddy had a friend to play with!

Just then, along came a yellow hen.

“Yellow hen, yellow hen, will you play with me?” asked Teddy.

“Oh, no!” clucked the hen. “I have no time to play. It’s nearly Easter. I have eggs to lay!”

And she went running off to the henhouse.

Song: To the tune “Polly put the kettle on”

         Yellow hen where did you go,

Yellow hen where did you go,

Yellow hen where did you go,

Where did you go?

 

I went home to lay some eggs,

I went home to lay some eggs,

I went home to lay some eggs,

Some Easter eggs!

 

Leader: I love Easter eggs, thought Teddy. But it’s much nicer to share them with a friend.

All of a sudden, a blackbird flew down from a tree.

“Hello blackbird,” said Teddy. “Will you come and play with me?”

“Oh, no!” sang the blackbird. “There’s no time to rest. It’s nearly Easter. I must build a nest!”

And the bird fluttered up into a tree.

 

Song: Little bird where did you fly,

Little bird where did you fly,

Little bird where did you fly,

Where did you fly?

 

I flew up to build a nest,

I flew up to build a nest,

I flew up to build a nest,

An Easter nest!

 

Leader: I wish I could show that nest to a friend, thought Teddy.

A rabbit came hop, hopping along the grass.

“Hello, Rabbit!” said Teddy. “Will you play with me?”

“No, no!” said the rabbit. “I’m not being funny. But Easter is busy, if you’re a bunny!”

And the rabbit hopped into a rabbit hole.

 

Song: Rabbit, say where did you hop,

          Rabbit, say where did you hop,

Rabbit, say where did you hop,

Where did you hop?

 

I hopped down a rabbit hole,

I hopped down a rabbit hole,

I hopped down a rabbit hole,

An Easter rabbit hole!

 

Leader: Then Teddy saw something eating a nettle leaf. It was a small, hairy caterpillar. Can you wiggle your finger like a caterpillar? Wiggle, wiggle! How did he go?

All: Wiggle, wiggle!

Leader: “Hello caterpillar!” said Teddy. “I’m feeling so lonely. Can you play with me?”

“Yes I can!” said the caterpillar. He wiggled his way onto Teddy’s paw . . . and up his arm . . . and onto his shoulder . . . and up, up onto his nose!

“Ooh, you’re tickling me!” said Teddy, with a BIG smile on his face. “Hooray! Now I’ve got a prickly, tickly friend!” Can you make a happy face like Teddy’s?

All: (All push corners of mouth up to make happy faces)

Every day, Teddy went to find his caterpillar friend munching leaves in the nettle patch. The more he ate, the bigger he grew. And the bigger he grew, the more he tickled Teddy and made him smile from ear to ear. Can you make such a BIG smile that it stretches from one ear to the other?

ALL: (All make BIG smiles.)

Leader: But one sad day, the caterpillar said, “I must go away now to do something very important.”

“Oh, no, don’t leave me,” said Teddy. “You’re my best friend.”

“Don’t be sad,” said the caterpillar. “I promise you’ll see me again and then you’ll be glad!”

The caterpillar began to spin a silky sleeping bag called a cocoon. (Show the empty sock) He snuggled down inside the cocoon, pulled it over his head and disappeared from sight. (Place the caterpillar in this sock and hide it) Teddy went indoors feeling sad.

But inside the cocoon, the caterpillar began to change. (Show other sock) He wriggled out of his hairy body, and then he grew long legs and silky wings, and on Easter Sunday, he BURST out of his cocoon – a beautiful, colourful butterfly. (Pull butterfly out of this sock)

As he was drying his wings in the sun, Teddy came down the garden. He looked inside the empty cocoon. (Show empty sock)

“Oh, no! Where has my caterpillar friend gone?” he said. “The hungry birds must have eaten him.”

“Look out behind you!” called the new butterfly. “Are you looking for me?”

Teddy looked round.

“It’s you!” he cried. “You’ve come back! But now you’re a beautiful butterfly! What a wonderful surprise!”

“A good friend always keeps his promise,” said the butterfly, fluttering around Teddy’s head. “Shall we explore the Easter garden?”

“Oh yes!” said Teddy, jumping for joy. “Lets go and find some Easter eggs together!”

 

Song: If you’re happy and you know it

           If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands (clap, clap)

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands   (clap, clap)

If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it,

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands (clap, clap)

 

If you’re happy and you know it, jump for joy (jump, jump), etc

           If you’re happy and you know it, say a prayer (ssh, ssh)

 

Prayer: Dear God, Easter is such a happy time of year. Everything is bursting into life! Thank you for the blossom on the trees and nests full of eggs, for the bright colours of spring flowers and butterflies’ wings. Thank you, God, for our friends who help us to enjoy your beautiful world. But most of all, thank you for Jesus who has promised to be our friend for ever. Amen

 

Party-bag: Why not encourage the adults to continue the theme of new life at home by giving them a “Happy Easter” activity sheet to take away with them?

 

Happy Easter!

Have fun looking out for signs of new life in the natural world when you are out and about with your toddler.

Colour in the leaf, caterpillar and butterfly and then cut them out. Use them to tell and play the story of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly together. Use a stripy sock or the cardboard cylinder inside a toilet roll as the cocoon or chrysalis.

 

a/w simple caterpillar with about 6 sections to colour, smiley face and antennae, and simple cutting-out line around it

 

a/w simple nettle leaf (with tiny egg on it and piece bitten out of leaf) to colour and with simple cutting out line around it

 

a/w simple butterfly with simple pattern on wings to colour in, same smiley face and antennae as caterpillar, with simple cutting out line around it.

 

Mime being a caterpillar curled up in a cocoon, then wriggling out of your hairy body, growing long legs and silky wings and BURSTING out of the cocoon as a butterfly. Dry your wings then fly gently around the room or garden!

Vicki Howie

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