Lent activities for children help us as parents and educators to involve and instruct our children more easily when we have projects they will enjoy doing.
All of us have struggled in one way or another trying to figure the best way to inspire a desire of holiness in our children, our students and maybe those we teach in a Sunday school setting. For young kids, it is usually a hands on project that get's them excited and thinking.
While your children are working on their projects, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and/or teachers can read aloud parts of the Passion of our Lord or have a question and answer period that will make them think of their project more deeply rather than an absent-minded thought of 'what shall I color Jesus' cloak?'.
One of the first things very young children love to do is color of course. Having them color pictures of the Way of the Cross or the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary is an opportune time for Mom or Dad to tell the story of each Station.
When praying the Rosary or the Stations of the Cross at home with young ones, don't be afraid to stop at the beginning of each Mystery or Station and explain what is happening. This encourages the children to think about what you said during each prayer, thereby training them to meditate while praying.
It is of course the greatest pleasure to them to have their pictures they have colored hanging on the wall or propped up on the back of the couch as a visual means to aide their Rosary meditations!
If you are talented in the ability to do wood working, you can help your kids make plaques to mount their pictures on for the Stations of the Cross. If you are like me and have no talent in this direction, you may consider buying a kit they can make that includes pre-printed pictures and they assemble and decorate each grotto.
Once the grottos are done the family can use them to meditate an make the Way of the Cross.
There are several ways to make a crown of thorns with your children. One of the most popular is the salt dough wreath.
Take 4 c. flour, 1 c. salt, water and toothpicks. Mix first 3 ingredients together adding just enough water to form a stiff dough. Roll it out into 3 long strips with your/their hands and then braid them together. Form into a circle and pinch ends together, letting the kids poke in toothpicks to represent the thorns, then pop in the oven for about an hour at 350* until it is dry and lightly browned.
Once it is done, it can become a part of the family Rosary time or just after their night prayers, when they get to remove a thorn for each sacrifice they offered up to Jesus throughout the day.
Another way is if you happen to live in an area where thorny locust trees grow, go out and cut some branches off. Be very careful though, and really just mom or dad will be building this one...
Twine the branches around and around making the shape of a wreath and you can even put some up and over the top to encompass the whole head area. Once you have it made, the children can break off or snip off with scissors a thorn for each sacrifice they made.
These types of Lent activities for children really help them 'want' to do more sacrifices for our Lord and help them to understand more fully the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary
Cooking with your children using recipes that follow the Church Year is also a great way to involve them and make them think and apply their knowledge!
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