40 Simple Lenten Activities for Kids

image001“I’m participating in the Keeping LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013, hosted by Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints, Truly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We’ll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of link-up entries.”

 

Before I became a mom, I was a really good one. I had all kinds of ideas of what I was going to do with Ellen, how I would raise her, and things I would most certainly not do. Having a kid really changes that, no? One thing that I am still convinced that I am going to rock is incorporating Catholic activities into our lives. Catholics love to observe, teach and celebrate, and I want to reflect that in my home. So, while I might not be making my own pasta from scratch each night while washing my dishes with my homemade dish soap, I’m going to do this, dang it. At least one of them…
40 lent

  1. Make a Prayer Chain: List 40 intentions or people on 40 slips of paper. Link them together into a chain. Rip one off each morning of Lent and pray for that need.
  2. Bury the Hallelujah: Explain why we don’t proclaim hallelujah during Lent. To symbolize, write out hallelujah on paper and bury it in the yard or put it away in a box.
  3. Temptation Cookies: While baking cookies, tell your children about the temptation of Jesus in the desert. When the cookies are done, leave them on the table, but they cannot eat them until the next day. Talk about how tempting this might be and what we can do to resist temptation.
  4. Memorize a Prayer: The Act of Contrition would be a good one for Lent, but if your kids already know it, pick a prayer they are unfamiliar with.
  5. Color Easter Eggs: While you do, talk about why they are part of Easter. They represent new life.
  6. Watch an Easter Related Movie or Show: Veggie Tales and Storykeepers are just a couple of the many series that have Easter specials.
  7. Read Easter Books: I like The Crippled Lamb, The Story of Easter, and The Legend of the Three Trees
  8. Children’s (or regular) Stations of the Cross: Visit one, Read one, Color one, etc.
  9. Make Pretzels: They symbolize arms crossed in prayer. Find out more here.
  10. Pick a Service Activity: It can be something small like paying for the person behind you in line at lunch, or do something bigger like visiting a nursing home to chat with residents. Talk about the Corporal Works of Mercy today.
  11. Study the Saint of the Day: The dates of Lent are always changing, so pick a day to do this and learn about the Saint for that day. Read his or her biography and maybe even find a craft or prayer to go along with your study.
  12. Make a Tomb Scene: I like this one, this one and this one.
  13. Browse a Catholic Book Store: Wander around and look for Easter and Lent related items. Maybe even treat your little one to a small gift.
  14. Visit a Cemetery: Find a family member in a cemetery and explain how Jesus died so this person could go to heaven.
  15. Go to Church: But, not during Mass or Adoration. Instead, just explore the building.
  16. Adoration: You might not be able to stay long, but try for 10 minutes or so. Before going, prep your child on what Adoration is, how we behave and what is to be expected. Sit in silence for just a little while or help your child pray. Ask him what he thought of the experience after you leave.
  17. A Daily Mass: You might not be able to get the brood out of the house each day to do this, but pick on day to get up early and attend Mass on a weekday. Maybe even have a special breakfast at home afterwards.
  18. Rosary: Catholics always pray the Sorrowful Mysteries during Lent. It may be hard to get wiggly kids to sit for this, but just practice. Maybe even find a guide for your child to follow along with. If you’re feeling really ambitious, consider making your own Rosary while you pray it.
  19. Divine Mercy Chaplet: Do this in the same way you did the Rosary. Use a guide if it helps. Or, listen to one using an app for your phone.
  20. Take Stock of Sacrifices: Write a journal or talk about how your sacrifice is going this Lent. What can you do better? What are you doing well?
  21. Learn an Easter Song: I like Christ the Lord is Risen Today, but I know there is also a Veggie Tales song you could use too.
  22. Make Hot Cross Buns: They symbolize Christ’s suffering on the cross.
  23. Plant Something: Plant flowers, a plant or Easter grass, take care of it and watch it grow. Talk about new life and rising from the grave.
  24. Make an Easter Basket for a Neighbor: Fill it with your favorite treats and surprise your neighbor with your gift. Don’t forget to add a prayer card!
  25. Make a Crown of Thorns: I love the idea of taking out a thorn for each good deed your child does.
  26. Explain the Easter Bunny: I also love these Scriptures that show what a “real Easter bunny” is. Act it out with a stuffed animal.
  27. Easter Coloring Pages: Spend a day relaxing and coloring some cute pages. I like this one.
  28. Read the Story of the Last Supper: Either read it straight from Scripture or find a kid’s version. Either way, prepare a nice meal for dinner, and read and discuss the story while you eat.
  29. Plan and Cook a Meatless Meal Together: Obviously, save this one for a Friday. Go simple like mac n’ cheese or try something more complicated that looks good to them. Explain why we abstain from meat on Fridays of Lent.
  30. Almsgiving Activity: Create an almsgiving box and choose a charity to donate to. Save all of your change this season by putting it in your family’s box.
  31. Petting Zoo: Visit a petting zoo, but make sure they have lambs or sheep. Talk about why we call Jesus the Sacrificial Lamb.
  32. Fill a Bag to Donate: Declutter your house and make a donation to Goodwill. Toys, clothes, books, housewares, etc. are all fair game. This is part of almsgiving too.
  33. Light a Candle at Church: Let your child choose a special person to light a candle for.
  34. Dress in Purple: Explain how purple is a color of mourning but also a color of royalty – Jesus the King.
  35. Write a Note to a Clergy Member: Whether it be local or farther away, have your kids choose a person to write a letter to. Maybe your kid wants to write a thank you letter. It could even be a letter asking questions about our faith. You might get a great response!
  36. Get a Fast Food Fish Sandwich: This is the one time of year that advertisers take Catholics into account. I like to support that idea by feasting on some fatty goodness.
  37. Make Resurrection Cookies: Make sure you read the story along with it.
  38. Pick a Nice Outfit for Easter Mass: Shop the closet or the store and talk about dressing our best for Jesus and the celebration of Easter
  39. Go on a Garden Walk: Explain the story of the Garden of Gethsemane while you meander.
  40. Attend a Passion Play: Most churches have them. Look around at your local parishes. If you’re more adventurous, try out for a part.

Did I miss anything important?
If you like it then you shoulda put a pin on it.

Check out the Lent reflections participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013! We’ll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.

Discover new Catholic Blogs to follow!

 

Equipping CatholicFamilies: Keep LOVE in LENT

Call Her Happy:40 Simple Lenten Activities for Kids

Lenten Love: Little Acts of Love

Building Rocks

Grow the Roses: Keep Love in Lent

Family At The Foot Of The Cross: Loving Service

Catholic Homeschooling Joy: A Lenten Activity

JOY:Keep the Love in Lent

Twenty Tuesday Afternoons: Tuesday # 11: Pancake Tuesday / Keeping Love in Lent

Campfires and Cleats: Why a Failing Lent Really Isn’t

Harrington Harmonies: Make a Lenten Holy Hour

A Mommy of Three:Good Deeds for Lent

Loving the Semi Country Life: Lent:special time to reflect and keep the love in lent

Written By the Finger of God: A 7 Step Lenten Plan

Mommy Bares All: Giving Up and Making Space for Love this Lent

The Irish Lassie Shop: Seek God Everywhere

Hand-Maid with Love: Living Lent, Loving Lent

Words On Heaven: IN THE DESERT FOR 40 DAYS

On The Way Home: Keeping LOVE in Lent

Homeschooling with Joy: Keep Love in Lent

Mountain Grace: Keep Love in Lent

Eyes On Heaven: I am Choosing to Live

Joy Alive in Our Hearts:”God’s Love at Work”

Life of Fortunate Chances: Love is Fun: Keeping Love in Lent

Fifth of Five: Keep the LOVE in Lent

I Blog Jesus: for Praying our Loud!

Overflow: Loving Lent with Little Ones

This Cross I Embrace: Keep LOVE In Lent

Sole Searching Mamma: 15 Ways to Experience a More Meaningful Lent

Catholic All Year: My Biggest Lent Fails and How I Learned Mortification…

Four Little Ones: Keeping Love in Lent

Gaels Crafty Treasures Keeping Love in Lent

Bear Wrongs Patiently: Lent for the Scrupulous

Rosary Mom: Keeping Love in Lent

LoveLetters 7.10: Teacups {Keeping the Love in Lent}

Little Saints in the Making: Keep Love in Lent

Blessed with Full Hands: Keeping love in Lent- Praise Him

Normal Chaos: Our Own Personalized Lenten Journey

These Little Blessings: Gifting Love this Lent

The Cajun Catholic: The our Father; a lenten reflection

Truly Rich Mom: Keeping Love in Lent… Even When It Is Difficult

GATHERING GRACES:Keeping LOVE in LENT

SaIsa Pang Sulyap – Fullness Of His Love

LiturgicalTime: Keeping Love in Lent – Finding Balance

Grace Loves Iggy: love in lent

Sacred Oysters: Empty (Keeping LOVE in LENT)

Tercets:Make Heart Rosary Decades to Pray for Others

The Diary of a Sower: Our Lenten Prayer Tree

A Living Garden — Giving for Others with Love: Keeping LOVE in LENT

Homegrown Catholics: Motivated by my childrens’ activities {Lent}

MyBroken Fiat: Keeping Love in Lent… Barely

Journey to Wisdom: Keeping Love in Lent: Bands of Love

Softening My Heart: An Anniversary Lesson duringLent

 

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Comments

  1. These are fantastic!! Pinning and passing along. Thanks :)

  2. The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad and tested to
    see if it can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she
    can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views.

    I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  3. very creative and most of all fun. At the beginning I was too serious and pedantic when I taught my kids. I quickly learned that kids learn by playing, doing crafts, having fun and becoming involved.. good for you

  4. The first line made me laugh! Lots of great ideas. I like the idea of exploring the church -just the building.
    -Darlene

  5. LOL! I love it, your post made me laugh- I don’t have homemade dish soap either. But we do strive to teach our kids the faith, right? You have a great list here of activities and plenty of opportunity to put LOVE into each one of them. Many of them we will do over the course of lent and some are great ideas to save for another. So I definately put a “pin” on it. =) Blessings to you and your family!

  6. Nancy Ward says:

    Love the prayer chain and also the temptation cookies. Not sure I could wait, the children would be a good witness to me! The garden walk reminds me of so many beautiful spots I have visited that I can almost do that in my head!

  7. Wow (times 40)! My daughter really liked the link of the ‘make a tomb scene’ using the salt dough…what about using some rice treats instead (then we can “get rid of” (eat) the tomb and make a fresh one next year)?
    I really liked your opening words; I, too, am trying to reflect “observe, teach & celebrate” the Catholic Faith in our home. God bless you!

  8. I think the activities mentioned in your blog post are all great to try and do during lent! As a father for a 2 yr old and a 1 yr old I’m so excited now to do some of these activities, if not all, as soon as they grow older, old enough to participate in, enjoy, and learn from them. I’m sure I will be enjoying them as well!

    Thank you so much for these insightful ideas!

    Have a blessed Lenten Season, and May God bless you and your family.

  9. Oh my goodness, your tips are absolutely wonderful and so meaningful….I’m not sure which to tackle first! How perfect .The resurrection cookies, attending a passion play and going to a petting zoo….all great…
    SO happy to have found your blog thru the Keep Love in Lent hop…
    Thank you

  10. Great ideas! I have 3 kids and a number of these simple Lenten activities would be pretty awesome. I think I’m gonna have to come back later with a pen and paper and jot a few down. Browsing a Catholic Book Store sounds like fun. I need to find a close one to us. And the temptation cookies might be pretty hilarious considering I have 2 toddlers! Haha!

  11. What a great list. Over the years (my oldest is 20), we’ve been able to begin many of these during Lent and then the challenge is to see how many you can carry over into the rest of the year (like Mass, Adoration, chaplet etc.)

  12. Hello! I have been following you for a while. I really love #14, #19 and #35. I am always looking for “new” things to do each year, since my older kids like to participate in several activities each year. I am bookmarking your list!

  13. These are great and simple. Thanks for sharing them.

  14. What a fabulous list! It is such a privilege to be able to share our Catholic faith with our children, as you said this is the one area we should all try to “rock!”

    I am excited to try the temptation cookies with my kids (after Lent though b/c we gave up sweets)- what a lesson that will teach them (and me) about resisting temptation!

  15. I love the list of ideas. You have given me so many more wonderful ideas I would like to do with my kids! We are making pretzels too! I love the meaning behind the pretzel.

  16. These are some great ideas… My oldest just turned two, so a little too young for most of these, but I’ve already been thinking of ideas to do with him when he’s a little older… This is definitely a page I’ll be returning to in a year or two! I think activities are the best ways for kids to learn the meaning behind what we tell them and make it a habit…

  17. I love how we all felt like better Moms before we were one. =) I have never seen how to explain the real Easter bunny before. Thanks for the link! Nice comprehensive list of Lent activities…definitely worth pinning! =)

  18. Really loved all these suggestion! I pinned them and am following you now. My favorite was the Resurrection cookies from Catholic Icing. Also loved your words for introducing these activities. It’s so easy to judge others if your don’t know what they are going through- we all do it. I think this week I will make special efforts not to judge. Thanks for the friendly reminder ;)

  19. Such wonderful ideas here. The Temptation cookies brought a smile to my face… that would be a tough one for my kids. I don’t think they would be able to handle it!

  20. Visiting your blog as part of the Keep Love in Lent event…
    You have some wonderful ideas here! I especially like the idea of just exploring a church with your children–not because of Mass or another event, but just to learn about it. Thank you for sharing these inspiring ideas!

  21. Hi Jenna!

    I’m currently pregnant now. It’s my 36th week and I can’t wait to do these activities with Baby Zeeka :) I will always refer back to this post for your list of activities :) Nice to meet you through this Blog-Link Carnival! :)

    Love lots,
    Ginger

  22. How could I not love a post written by someone who was just like me – a really good mom before I became one!! And wow – such wonderful ideas! I’m now a grandmother always looking for good ideas for the little ones, and am bookmarking this page so I can keep referring back to it.. Sorry I don’t pin or tweet, but thank you for such wonderful suggestions!

    • I’m so glad you liked it :) And, your grandkids are very lucky to have a grandma who wants to do such fun stuff with them!

  23. Hi Jenna, I LOLed on you being a good mom before the actual kids. Same here! Great source of ideas you have and I will copy at least 5 for next Lent. And between you and me and whoever reads comments, I was so surprised you didn’t win the Sheenazing award for best looking blog.

    • Thanks, Anabelle! Santa Clara Designs did a bang up job on it. I am good friends with the artist now because she was so wonderful. I’ll pass that along to her as well :)

  24. I’m intrigued by #26, should there be a link in there?

    And on the Adoration Chapel, I always figure that if we take all six kids in there we only have to make it for 8 minutes to add up to an hour!

  25. Great list! Thanks for sharing these fun activities!

  26. Such great ideas! Our prayer chain is being done the opposite way – each day of Lent we pick one and the chain is built throughout Lent so that by Easter we will have one long chain. I like the idea for ressurection cookies! So special! Also, the crown of thorns and the “burying” of halleluia were done at our house a few years ago. Please check back at my blog throughout the season to see what other activities we’ll be doing throughout the season. God bless!

  27. But fresh baked cookies are so much better than day old ones…

    I have confidence you and Mike will be able to do much more than one :)

  28. Resurrection cookies!! Before I saw you had listed that, I was going to provide you the link ;) I sent this activity home with my Kindergartners during Holy Week, and got such great feedback about it. I also love the crown of thorns idea, it reminds me of putting small amounts of hay into Jesus’ cradle in the nativity for each good deed :)

    • I’m sure it was a hit! It is one of the few that I haven’t done myself, but a friend highly recommended because it worked so well with her kids. This is the first year I think my daughter will actually understand them and not just talk incessantly about how the oven is “hot!” :)

  29. I completely agree with the intentions of all the activities I would do with my children…then I had them. Time gets away from you so quickly. I love all the ideas posted. Allowing the children to explore the church during non-Mass time is my favorite. I have taken my little ones and they can point to things all they want and I can explain without hushing them.

    • Yes! My daughter loves to explore, so this way we can have the place to ourselves, talk at a normal level and not have to worry about other people in and out :)

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