I’m calling this Part 1 because these activities focus mainly on the early days of Holy Week (Palm Sunday, Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday and Spy Wednesday). View Holy Week Activities – Part 2 for ideas focused on the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday) within the next few days.
1. On Palm Sunday, children called out, hailing Jesus as the Messiah. This is just one example of the truth coming from the “mouths of babes”. Have a discussion as a family about things you have learned from children. Even young children can share something they’ve learned from a still younger child/sibling or baby.
2. Read this explanation of Jesus as priest, prophet and king as a family. Holy Week is one of the times when we see his role as all three most clearly. As an extension of this activity, you could look at a missal and read through the gospels for the week, beginning with Palm Sunday. Talk about ways in which Jesus’ three-fold mission as priest, prophet and king come out in the gospels of the week.
3. Jesus cleansed the temple on Holy Monday because there were too many vendors with too many things that didn’t belong in God’s house. Clean your room and go through all your things today, setting aside anything you don’t need. Give it to a charity at the end of the week.
4. Set up a little “Holy Week” shrine. If you already have a Lenten shrine, you can just adapt it. Fill the table or shelf with things that remind you of what Jesus did during Holy Week. Examples: a small bottle of perfume to remind you of the oil Mary wiped the feet of Jesus with; a few coins symbolizing the betrayal, a few thorns, nails, etc. You can also have a few things that remind you of the people that comforted Jesus, like a piece of white cloth symbolizing Veronica’s veil, and a picture of the Blessed Mother who accompanied her Son through so much pain and suffering.
5. Jesus taught the people in Jerusalem on Holy Tuesday. Some of his teachings included the parable of the vineyard, the parable of the wedding banquet, his prophecy regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, teachings on paying taxes, and a response to the Sadducees who didn’t believe in the resurrection. Talk about these teachings with your older child(ren). Let them choose one of the things Jesus taught on Holy Tuesday, prepare a lesson plan or activity about it, and teach it to their younger siblings or friends.
6. Jesus was asked about paying taxes on Holy Tuesday. He told his disciples to “repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God”. Take a blank sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side, write things you ought to do to “repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar”, and on the other side, things you ought to do to “repay to God what belongs to God.
7. Judas agreed to hand Jesus over for 30 pieces of silver on Spy Wednesday. Say an act of contrition for all the things you’ve done that have hurt Jesus. If you haven’t been to confession recently, prepare confession and go some time during Holy Week.
8. Read the parable of the Wedding Banquet (Mt 22: 1-14). Then get your Easter outfits ready! Easter is a foreshadowing of the GREAT wedding feast (heaven). We don’t want to be the ones left out because we don’t have a proper garment! Of course, Jesus wasn’t talking literally about what we wear for Easter, but having a special outfit ready is one way of reminding us that we are preparing our hearts the same way and want to give our best to the Lord.
Wishing all of you a blessed Holy Week!
Looking for an Easter journal/activity book for your kids? 40 Days of Easter is on sale over at Heather’s store!