Lent celebrates the events of Jesus' last days before his death on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, and is a forty-day remembrance season, ending the day before Easter. Kids can learn about the events surrounding Easter and the sacrifice of Jesus through Lent activities.
Pencil Palm Trees
John 12:12-19 contains one of the accounts of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where people praised him and waved palm leaves. Have the kids cut several palm leaves, about two inches long, from green crepe paper. Use clear adhesive tape to fasten the palm leaves about one inch from the eraser end of a pencil. Wrap the remainder of the pencil with brown crepe paper.
Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested, as told in Mark 14:32-42. Pose each child with his hands folded in prayer and placed close to his face. Take a side shot of the child from the shoulders up. The children may trace and cut a large praying-hands shape from craft foam. Then have the kids trim the background off their photos and glue their pictures to the craft foam shape.
Near the Cross - Stories to Hear
The story of Jesus' death on the cross is told in all the Gospels, including Luke 23:26-49. Have the children help construct several large crosses to place around the classroom for the Lent season. The crosses can be made from 2 by 4 lumber, tree branches, cardboard or fabric fastened to a wall or notice board. Provide age-appropriate Bibles and books with stories of the triumphal entry, the Last Supper, Jesus' death and resurrection, and other appropriate stories. A teacher can gather a group of children by one of the crosses for story time. Or, groups of older children can gather by one of the crosses and read the Easter story from the Bible.
Share the Joy
One account of the joy of the Resurrection is told in John 20:11-18. Kids may share the joy of the resurrection with other classes. The kids can help mix up crispy rice treats with melted marshmallows. Have the kids work on waxed paper to form crosses from the mixture. Take a class on a walk through the building and let the kids share their crosses with another class. This activity can be repeated on several Sundays if desired, sharing with a different class each week.
Object Lesson from the Children
Rather than an adult presenting an object lesson to the children, let the kids present a lesson to the adults. Practice an object lesson. Kids can demonstrate an empty tomb with a paper bag that has Jesus in it, then the child turns around and discreetly picks up an identical, but empty bag to show. A helium balloon can imitate Jesus rising to Heaven, black and white paper can symbolise sin that is taken away by Jesus' death, leaving us sinless in God's eyes. Kids can do the object lessons in church service or for an adult Sunday school class. The entire Lenten season offers several Sundays for the kids to present object lessons, if desired.