Are you getting ready for Ash Wednesday yet? Just 2 1/2 weeks and we’ll be in Lent! Here are a few activities you can do with your kids on Ash Wednesday to help make Lent more meaningful for them! Many of these activities would work with one child, a whole family, or a larger group.
1. “Show and Tell” bag about Lent. If you have older children, let them put the bag together and teach the younger children about Lent. Every object in the bag should represent an important idea about Lent. Once the bag is ready, the child(ren) should pick objects out of the bag, one-by-one. Each time an object is taken out of the bag, the older child or adult leading the activity should explain how that object symbolizes something important about Lent. Some examples of things that could be included in the bag:
- A cross or crucifix. Talk about: Jesus’ passion and death, salvation, suffering and sacrifice
- A little clear baggie with dust or ashes. Talk about: Ash Wednesday, repentance, sin/original sin
- Rosary beads or prayer book. Talk about: the importance of prayer during Lent, types of prayer.
- Bible. Talk about: salvation history
- A card with the act of contrition. Talk about: confession, forgiveness
- A few coins. Talk about: the betrayal of Jesus, the importance of charity/almsgiving
2. Sensory Lenten Crafts. Give each child a poster board, and put out a range of sensory arts and crafts supplies, like: felt, clay, buttons, pipe cleaners, tissue paper, paints. If the weather is nice, let your kids go outside and collect some natural materials they can use (twigs, pebbles, leaves, etc.). Tell your children to make either a biblical scene related to Lent (e.g. Jesus fasting in the desert), or a collage of Lenten symbols, using any of the available materials.
3. Ash Wednesday Discussion. Talk to your children about why we receive ashes on Ash Wednesday.
4. Lent Reflection boxes. Have each child make and decorate a “Lent Box”. Throughout Lent, they can put reflections, poems, prayers, scripture verses, or objects related to their spiritual journey into the Lent Box. At the end of Lent, they can empty the box to see all they learned and thought about during Lent. Optional: Keep the Lent Boxes for your children until they are older, and then let them look back again to remember what they learned, thought and prayed in previous Lenten seasons.
5. Make a family Lent plan. You and your children have probably already decided what you want to give up for Lent individually. Now make a family plan for charity. What are different things you can do as a family to help others this Lent? Ideas: soup kitchen, volunteering time at a local charity, cooking meals for a family that needs help, taking turns doing chores or errands for an elderly friend.
6. Begin your Lenten charity jar. Pick a jar and put it in a prominent place where all family members will regularly see it. Let your children decorate the jar. Explain to them that, during Lent, any small change or spare funds will be put in the jar to be given to a charity at the end of Lent. If your kids are too young to be regularly dealing with money, you could come up with a list of tasks (extra chores, helping siblings, etc.) for them. Each time they do one of these tasks, they can “trade it in” with you for a few cents to add to the jar. At the end of Lent, bring your kids with you to give the funds to a charity so they can see who they are helping.
7. Read Scripture passages related to Lent:
- Jonah and Nineveh (Jonah 3)
- Jesus in the Desert (Matthew 4: 1-11)
- Prayer, fasting and giving alms (Matthew 6: 1-18)
Are you looking for Lent Craft Ideas too?
Looking for a Lenten Prayer Journal/Activity Book to help your kids along their Lenten Journey? This one is still on sale over at Heather’s store!
Wishing everyone a blessed Lent!