With Lent starting in two days, I’m sure many of you are planning your Lenten activities! Here are some crafts I loved doing as a child, and am looking forward to doing with my kids as they get old enough. You might already be familiar with some of them, but hopefully you can find a few new ideas too!
Lenten Memory Book. Use a notebook you already have, or make your own book out of blank paper. Title it “My Lenten Memory Book: Year _______”, and have fun decorating the cover. As Lent goes on, keep adding things to the book. Examples of what you might add:
- Written entries – prayer intentions, reflections your write about Lent, etc.
- Pictures of Lent crafts you make, Lenten activities you go to, family prayer times, etc.
- Things you draw related to Lent
- Physical things (such as a few of the toothpicks you remove from the crown of thorns, flowers or ferns that remind you of Lent, etc.
Keeping a Lenten Memory Book will help your children live an intentional Lent, reflecting on what they’re doing, WHY they’re doing it and what they learn from it. They will also benefit from it years from now, when they look back and remember their childhood Lenten experiences. It might even help them renew their faith during hard times!
Shoebox scenes. Turn a shoebox on its side like a display, and turn into a Lenten scene. Let your child pick their favorite Bible story related to Lent, or their favorite Station of the Cross, or some other Lent-related scene, and creatively depict it in their shoebox. They can use nature (leaves, sticks, etc.), paper pop-up images, real objects, or other creative materials when they design their scene. If you do this project as a group, you can coordinate the final display – for example, each child can pick one Station of the Cross, so when they are all finished, they can line up the boxes in order of the stations, and then say the Stations together.
Lent Felt Boards. I always loved felt boards as a kid. They’re tactile, creative and versatile. If you have young kids, cut out some basic Lent figures and symbols for them, and let them arrange and rearrange the objects on the felt board as you teach them about their significance. If you have older kids, give them the felt and scissors, and let them snip away on their own! They could make a felt board representing Jesus’ temptations in the desert, the Stations of the Cross, the Last Supper, or any other Lent related theme or story.
Lent Chain. This is another way of visualizing sacrifice, prayer and good works. Cut 3 different colors of chain links – decide with your kids one color for prayer, one for sacrifice, and one for good works. Every time your child does something in one of those areas, they can add a link of that color to their chain. When Easter comes along, they’ll see how long their chain has grown thanks to their efforts during Lent.
Prayer Intention Box. Decorate boxes using construction paper and art supplies. Label the box “Lenten Prayer Intentions”, “What We’re Praying For”, or some other relevant phrase. This project can be done individually – each child uses a small box and, as Lent progresses, adds slips of paper to their box saying what they’re praying for. Alternatively, make one box as a family. Anyone can add intentions to the box. You can even ask visitors and relatives if they would like to write something for you to pray for and add it to the box! You can use leftover boxes, like shoeboxes or cereal boxes, or make your own using paper or cardstock.
Alms Box/Jar. Like the prayer intention box, this is a decorating craft. Instead of holding prayer intentions, though, this box or other container (Tupperware, mason jar, etc.) will be used throughout Lent to collect alms that will be given away to a charity during Holy Week. Alternatively, during Holy Week your kids could do a project, using the money to make or procure something that they bring directly to an individual or family in need.
Sacrifice Beads. Always a favorite! Give your child some string and beads and, optionally, other accessories like medals), and let them go to work. Click here for a sacrifice bead tutorial from Little Ways. Once they complete their string of sacrifice beads, they should keep it with them throughout Lent. Each time they make a sacrifice, they can slide a bead from one side of the string to the other. When all the beads have been moved to the opposite side, they begin again. If you are doing other Lenten craft projects, like making a crown of thorns and then removing thorns throughout Lent, you can connect the two activities – each time your child has moved all the sacrifice beads to the other side, they can take a thorn out of the crown.
The Paschal Lamb. Talk about the importance of the Paschal Lamb, and why we call Jesus the Lamb of God. You can read the story of the first Passover with your kids, and then explain how Jesus WAS the Passover Lamb on Good Friday. To go along with this discussion, make a paschal lamb craft. It can be simple, like drawing a sheep outline and filling it in with cotton, or more involved, like sculpting with clay. If you’re going the simple route, here’s a free outline you can use!
Crown of thorns using clay and toothpicks. It’s as simple as making a circle out of clay (or salt dough!) and sticking toothpicks into it. You can be a little more artistic by weaving multiple strands of clay together to form the crown. Every time you make a sacrifice (or complete your sacrifice beads), or do a good deed, take a thorn out of the crown. Try to take them all out before Easter!
Monica also has some great ideas over at Equipping Catholic Families, with even more coming soon. Happy Training Hearts also has some great “quick takes” on Lenten crafts.
Looking for other Lenten resources?
7 Ash Wednesday Activities (many of these can be done any time during Lent)
Looking for a journal to help your children live Lent intentionally? This one is still on sale over at Upside Down Homeschooling!
Wishing all of you a blessed Lent!