Lent is a season on the Christian calendar marking 40 days, not including Sundays, from Ash Wednesday to the Saturday before Easter. Lent is often associated with Catholics; however, many protestant churches recognise and participate in Lent. Lent is a time of reflection, discipline and self- sacrifice. With the help of crafts and activities, children can better understand Lent and the importance it has in Christian churches and lives.
Make a poster for Lent to which you add a Lenten symbol each week. For the first Sunday of Lent, children draw or paint an empty cross. The next week, they add a purple piece of cloth across the top of the cross. The third Sunday, they add a piece of burlap or sackcloth around the bottom of the cross. The fourth Sunday, they make or draw a crown of thorns, hung just over the top of the cross. The next Sunday, glue some grains of wheat beside the bottom of the cross and the next week, glue some palm leaves. On Easter, drape a white cloth over the top of the cross.
Participate in community service projects throughout Lent. Many Christians give up something for Lent, such as television or sweets. Another option is for children, along with their families, to give up some of their time and talents. For example, help out at a soup kitchen or collect blankets for a homeless shelter. Visit the elderly at a nursing home, or clean the home of a disabled person, to name a few.
Palm Sugar Cookies
Bake sugar cookies in the shape of palm leaves for Palm Sunday. Give each child a section of cookie dough to roll out. Then, give them a dull knife without serrated edges to cut one long strip of dough, about 4 to 5 inches long and 1 inch wide, for the stem. Then, they can cut smaller strips, about 1 inch long and a ½ inch thick, to create the fanned leaves. Piece their palms together, with the leaves touching for stability, and sprinkle green-coloured sugar before baking.
Light a bonfire on Good Friday. You may need a permit from your local fire brigade or local government. Have kids write down or draw pictures of the sins or bad things that they do or have committed, such as not sharing or telling a lie. Kids then throw the papers into the fire, symbolising that Jesus took their sins away on the cross -- the event that Good Friday commemorates -- much like the fire burns paper.
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