Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lenten Activities for Children

Lent Activities for Children
I thought I would share a few Lenten Activities my children are working on this year.

For the first time we made homemade pretzels this year. It was only recently that I discovered that the making and eating of pretzels was a Lenten tradition dating back to ancient times.  The kids were surprised and thrilled to learn that the criss-cross shape of the pretzel is symbolic of arms crossed in a prayer position.  Now, to be fair, when I say we "made" pretzels, I must admit we were not extremely successful.  While they tasted OK, they were horrible to look at.  I think we missed a step somewhere in the new recipe.  It was still a great time and my kids, my two nieces, and I  had a wonderful time making a huge mess in the process. It was so much fun that I hope to make it a yearly Lenten tradition in our house, but with tastier results.

One of the most popular activities the kids have done so far is the 2010 Lenten Calendar - 40 Crosses from Catechist's Journey and Loyola Press.  Each day on the printable calendar has a cross.  Every day, the child colors the cross according to an assigned color for the type of good deed done on that day.  Ours are on the fridge so they remember not only to color in the cross, but to make sure they accomplished their good deed each day.

During these 40 days, the kids are making a special effort to connect with their 3 living great-grandmothers.  For the two who are local, it includes more visits, but for all three, they are drawing pictures and writing letters to put in the mail.  In our world of super fast communication, it is still nice to receive mail sent with lots of love.  My husband and I hope to provide lasting memories for the kids and stress the importance of remembering our loved ones. 

For my two older children who can read, I have printed and taped prayers on their bathroom mirror for each of them to learn or practice.  After watching how much it reminds them to start the day in prayer, I have done the same for myself, only mine are on the wall above my computer.

My oldest daughter had the pleasure of participating in the sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time this Lenten season.  She told me that she was thrilled for Father John to teach her a new prayer and really loved being told all her sins were forgiven.  If your children are old enough, Lent is the perfect time to participate in the sacrament as a family.

One of the most successful Lenten activities for my kids has been a Paper Fortune Teller found on CatholicMom.  You remember the folded up sheet of paper with the numbers that you wrote a message under the number back in school.  This is the same thing, only the messages are things like "Hug someone today," or "Say I Love You Jesus 10 times."  It is great fun to figure out how to fold it like a pro and then to get people to guess numbers. We've made it three times already.

For more Lenten Resources for Children
There are so many resources available for children and Lenten Activities I would love to hear what your family is doing this year.
Lisa Jones

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