Yes, I said celebrate Lent and Ash Wednesday. On the Monday before Ash Wednesday I was filled with positive enthusiasm as the season of Lent was almost here. I was anticipating it with the enthusiasm often reserved for the first day of spring or the first snowfall or Christmas.
While at Christmas we fuss over many preparations for the big day and for spring we prepare our gardens and homes likewise for Lent I was preparing my spirit, my soul for a season which leads up to the most important day of my faith- Easter. To me this is important and I believe Lent is one of the most amazing seasons. So I want to celebrate Lent not on Shrove Tuesday and not with a party. No, I want to celebrate Lent, Ash Wednesday and Easter by sharing my enthusiasm and resources to help teachers make this season special for children.
Activities for Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. Like Advent the season before Christmas we can focus on building anticipation as we journey towards Easter. To do this during Advent we use things like Advent calendars, Advent Wreaths and paper chains. For Lent, Catholic Icing has a free printable Lenten journey calendar. Children are encouraged to color in one square per day leading up to Holy Week and Easter.
Two other activities, found on Our Domestic Church include making a Lenten Yule Log and a Crown of Thorns Wreath for good deeds and sacrifices.
Activities for Lent
Often when people think of Lent the focus is on the penitential aspects but there can be great joy in learning from our sinfulness and our sacrifices. It is also good to teach our children that we all make mistakes and that there is forgiveness for those mistakes.
The season of Lent however, can also be so much more with a focus not only on giving up things or taking away but instead on doing positive things and doing things (especially sacrificial) lovingly. Lent is a period of preparation with focus on prayer and faith and it is a great time to share with others how God interacts with you. Tell your children about your last answered prayer or perhaps share about a time you were forgiven. Encourage them to share a few of their stories with you, too.
On Karen Edmisten’s blog A Meaningful Lent, Part 4: Lent With Young she shares three ideas for Lent activities including adorable Lenten Caterpillars, ideas for a Sacrifice Jar and a Lamb of God calendar. If you noticed that it was Part 4 you may be wondering about Parts 1-3. I was and what I found was a treasure trove of information and insights into the season of Lent. I particularly love how she notes that sacrifices are a positive thing.
Another Lenten activity mentioned on both of the above sites is pretzels. In the shape of arms folded in prayer, pretzels are an appropriate and fun activity for Lent. At Catholic Culture you can find further explanations about the history of pretzels and Lent, a Ceremony of the Pretzel and a corresponding prayer.
As a homeschooler, one activity that was especially helpful when the children were younger was making lapbooks. Lapbooks are compact, artistic, educational, visual and hands-on activities. I found two Lenten Lapbooks to share with you.
Lent: A journey Toward Easter Double Faith Folder (great ideas/pictures)
Planning a Lent Lapbook (general ideas to include)
One last Lenten activity that I find appealing for its simplicity and impact is the 40 Bags in 40 Days, I’m starting a little late but I find it such an exciting idea that I can’t resist the challenge and I’m going to give it a try.
On Ash Wednesday and throughout the season of Lent it might be good to also reflect upon these words from St. Therese of Lisieux, “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest things right, and doing all for love.”
May God bless your Lent and life with peace and joy and a closer relationship with Him.
Jessica from Shower of Roses Blog, 40 Bags in 40 Days, Shower of Roses
Lindy Meyer, Lent: A journey Toward Easter Double Faith Folder , Faith Folders for Catholics
Liz from Holy Family Classical Academy, Planning a Lent Lapbook , Holy Family Classical Academy
Pretzels for God: Lent and the Pretzel, CatholicCulture.org
Lacy from Catholic Icing, Catholic Icing Blog , The Icing on Your Catholic Cake
Karen Edmisten, A Meaningful Lent, Part 4: Lent With Young Karen Edmisten Blog
Karen Edmisten, A Meaningful Lent, Karen Edmisten Blog
Lent in Our Domestic Church, Our Domestic Church