Help your children learn more about their Catholic faith and the Church’s Lenten season through a variety of craft activities that reinforce the concepts of sacrifice, alms giving, repentance and forgiveness. Most of the simple crafts below can be made in an hour or less using materials you may already have in your craft cupboard.
Draw a winding, curvy path on an 11 x 17 inch sheet of white paper. Divide the path into 40 squares, one for each day of Lent. Have your child draw a beautiful garden around the path, including trees, bushes, flowers, a blue sky and anything else they want to include. She can use crayons, fun foam stickers or other embellishments to make their garden look pretty. Do not colour the path.
With your child, brainstorm 40 different services or sacrifices she could undertake during Lent, such as setting the table without being asked, polishing her shoes, helping an elderly neighbour shovel her walk, giving up dessert, or any other age-appropriate tasks. Write one task in each square. Tell her that each day she completes a task she can colour in a square, which will move her farther along on her Lenten path. The goal is to have all squares coloured in by Easter.
Way of the Cross
The Way of the Cross is an important Lenten tradition in the Catholic Church. You and your children can create stations that could be placed around your home or in your yard. You can find free downloadable pictures for each station on the Internet. The pictures can be coloured or painted and then mounted in inexpensive frames found at a deep discount store.
Crown of Thorns
This simple craft makes a lasting impression on children. Ask your children to help you weave toothpicks into a round grapevine wreath. If necessary, attach a glue dot to lightly secure toothpicks to the wreath. You can paint the wreath and toothpicks with brown acrylic paint. Place the wreath on your kitchen table or in another high traffic area. Whenever someone is caught doing something nice for another family member, he is allowed to remove a thorn from the crown. Set a family goal to have all thorns removed from the crown by Good Friday.
Years ago, almost every Catholic knew how to weave or braid their Palm Sunday palms into beautiful crosses, cones, flowers and other works of art. Unfortunately, this custom has been forgotten during the last few decades. If you would like to learn how to weave or braid palm fronds, check out Italianrus.com, which has excellent step-by-step tutorials on creating cones, rose buds, crosses and even a crown of thorns. Some of the projects are suitable for young children.
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