When it comes to Lent it’s very easy to focus on the more practical aspects of preparing for Easter. We can get bogged down in our fasting, abstinence and penance and forget that while our children might be dragged along with us on the journey to the Resurrection, the whole concept of Lent and Easter may have been lost somewhere in translation.
I have big plans for Lent next year (this year I was a bit slow to get going having a newborn at home). I’m aiming to institute a Lenten calendar, similar to the Advent Calendar we uploaded last year, with activities and reflections to help my children, and myself prepare for Easter.
So this year I’m attempting things on a smaller scale and resorting to a few tried and true Lenten activities with my children:
Almsgiving – have a clean out at home with your children and donate things you no longer need to your local charity store, visit a nursing home with your kids (the elderly will love this!!), help out another mum who’s feeling a bit overwhelmed or a neighbour who’s feeling lonely, attend an extra Mass with your children during the week and offer it up for those less fortunate than yourself.
The Jelly Bean Prayer – this is a really nice way of presenting Easter to children and the prayer, with a small bag or jar of jelly beans makes a simple and unique Easter present (my eldest will be giving this to his class and teacher for Easter).
Palm Sunday – On the Monday after Palm Sunday my kids and I generally construct a donkey and Jesus from recyclables and fold a few palm fronds to re-enact the Gospel account.
The Last Supper – with plastic wine glasses, grape juice and pita bread, we have our own Last Supper meal for either morning or afternoon tea. It’s really nice to hear the children as they say things like: ‘That’s like what Father does at Mass’ and so on.
Stations of the Cross – act out the Stations of the Cross with your children. This would make a great mother’s group activity. And children who can participate in something tangible will get a lot more out of it than just hearing the prayers!
Easter Morning – a few years ago I grabbed this printable from Catholic Icing (a highly recommended website for finding Catholic activities to do with your kids) and we made our own Resurrection set. Last year I bought a wooden one from a local Catholic bookshop but the idea remains the same. In much the same way as a Nativity scene where you might keep baby Jesus until Christmas morning, and have the Wise Men travelling through your house until the Epiphany, having an Easter scene on display is a great way to get ready for Easter. Starting on Good Friday you can demonstrate the Crucifixion of our Lord then put His body in the tomb. Then, before your children get up on Easter morning, you can empty the tomb and put the Risen Jesus on display or hide Him so they have to find Him!
About the Author: I am a reformed perfectionist who is now a stay at home mum with five children under nine years of age. I am a qualified journalist and graphic designer with a decided creative streak, and run a hobby business called Emily Shaw Design + Write. I will attempt most craft activities and love to write about topical - and especially controversial - issues.