Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Suggestions and Ideas for Lent, Holy Week and Easter- it's a long season and these help keep you going.

Think this post is a bit early? I think there are just over 40 days till we start a new season. It's cold with no snow here, I have nothing else to talk about at the moment. I want to provide some ideas that we have tried and loved, but they take a little preparation. Lent starts March 5th, 2014. Easter is April 20th, 2014. February is a short month, so it's not a bad idea to start thinking ahead.

1. Sign up for Holy Heroes Lent Adventure. Same concept as the Advent Adventure! This will be our second year in it. We loved it last year and we have also done two Advent Adventures now and a Summer Adventure, it's been perfect! You can buy their Lent Adventure CD too if you want or just do the free one with the email.

2. For sure get the kids to wear sacrifice beads. Once you get the swing of it (takes a week or two) man you will have helpers and good deed do'ers fighting to help you rather than running away. It works perfect with the concept of Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross. Buy them at Holy Heroes.

3. Stations of the Cross Stickers and coloring books! (see #6 for another use for stickers)

4. Make a "Good Deed" crown of thorns. (It cost me about $6, Rit Dye- I think I used black, toothpicks, and a grapevine wreath from Walmart for around $3). Soak toothpicks and wreath in a bucket in the dye- for a long time! and then let it air dry on some cardboard- wear old clothes. You can also spray paint the wreath and toothpicks if that's more your style. Just do it outside please in the grass! Pull a thorn from Jesus' crown when you're kids do good deeds. Yes there is a possibility you will pull out all the thorns because we all have more than one child, start over again and keep reusing the toothpicks. Use the Sacrifice Beads to count and keep track during the day.

Dye the grapevine and toothpicks. Stick the toothpicks in at random.

When Easter is here, change it into candy bird's nest.

5. Make a Lent Calender- sort of like an Advent Calendar. I had to make mine from scratch.  I laminated it and made little "stickers" with Crosses and Saint Icon's for Feast Days.

I cut little rectangles out of penitent purple card stock. I used these beautiful cross stickers from Walmart and the little foam sticker pad to raise them up to look 3d.

Laminated poster board and we just glue dotted the "stickers" to each day. They removed easily and didn't tear after Lent was over.

My very young and wise daughter explaining Lent and the Lent calender, you can see the completed Calender it's about 2 mins or so. So precious!

6. Make Stations of the Cross, or here, or here, or here. Go to Stations of the Cross at your Church, Listen to Holy Heroes Stations of the Cross every night (JP II did, and he's up for canonization if you hadn't heard). Oh the Holy Heroes CD about JP II is awesome! Listen to that one during Lent as well. Go ahead and buy your kids their own Stations of the Cross books too. My son and daughter each have a Lovasik book, they loved them last year and were faithful using them I was so impressed with how they wanted to do Stations each week. Another good one is Children's' Stations of the Cross by Susan Brindle. We have added these awesome books, with real art work to our collection, Children's Stations of the Cross and ABC Life of Christ. Use the stickers maybe on tea lights with baby food jars?

My sister and her husband Kale crafted the popsicle stick portions and we had a short rock gluing party and I finished them at home later. They turned out beautiful. I think we might stain them this year. 

7. Put up decorations, like the Last Supper, I found a nice one at the Goodwill this last Fall for        $2.49!

And I got this for Christmas!

You can cut and color one from Catholic Icing's blog, she hand draws hers! Give you kids a little art lesson too. They are meant to stick onto an egg carton! How fun!

Teach your kids who is in the painting and what their gesture's mean.

8. On Easter Sunday, have a "rock tomb" ready for the kids to come out and see with their Easter baskets. Mine was two chairs with crumbled brown paper bags and a dark brown blanket thrown over the top. I got this idea from my sister Mary- I think a FOCUS friend of hers blogged about it.

9. Make Resurrection Rolls for Easter Day. They taste like honey!! SOO GOOOOD! One Peep per Pillsbury Crescent Roll. Wrap them tight, they expand and leak sticky sticky! Also line your cookie sheet with parchment, it's a mess if they leak the marshmallow.

10. Make Holy Week Eggs, or Resurrection Eggs, they are called a lot of different things on the internet. My mom went nuts when she saw these and my kids explained to her what they were. She loved them! Kids love them because it's little bitty things that are fun to hold in their hands.

I basically followed what CatholicIcing had content wise. I see Protestant eggs too on blogs have them too. If you do the bible verses, make sure your translation is a Catholic translation.

11. Visit Catholic ToolBox and make all the Lent and Easter related file folder games. There are so many! My kids love love them! We learned more in playing one game than I could teach them just sitting and listening!

12. Give alms to the poor (teach your kids the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy, Give Food to the Hungry, Drink to the Thirsty etc.., there is a song we learned from Holy Heroes last year we will sing on these). Those Rice Boxes that you can get at Church are a great tool to use. Make your own Lenten Alms jar.

13.  Make a Sacrifice Box for a toy or two to be placed in and "forgotten" during Lent. For younger kids who maybe are ready to do a sacrifice but can't really give up a favorite food yet. Make sure and put it out of sight. You want them to succeed and feel proud, but if they have to stare at the box, they may not be so successful.

16. How about making pretzels for Lent on Ash Wednesday? Here's a great recipe and cute prayer card. It's a traditional food for Lent, I had no idea where pretzel's came from or why they were made before.

17. I saw free printable Easter calendars in which kids can color the road map of the 40 days of Easter and all the events after Christ's Resurrection. We used one from Catholic Icing last year, I wish I would have been able to enlarge it, at the time I don't think I had a good printer/scanner.

18. Free Lent coloring book on this link. Mary Fifer at St. Anne's Helper sent me a photo and a link of the nice coloring book she has as a free download in PDF format. There is a lot of nice pages in there your kids can take their time and color throughout the Lenten season. You can bind it up, put yarn through it or put it in a three ring binder. Use it to color during Stations of the Cross or have the kids color it while you say a family Rosary or listen to a Holy Heroes CD.

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