Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lenten Activities for Kids

This post is out of season, but I thought I'd start collecting some ideas in one place. Below are some examples of the ways I've kept the kids and me engaged in Lent at home, along with links to where I got the ideas, and links to ideas I still want to try. You can follow my Great Lent and Pascha board on pinterest. You'll notice there are a lot less activities for Pascha itself, and more for Lent - that's because most of our Pascha celebration happens at church, of course! The feast itself is pretty exciting and memorable and doesn't need a lot of reinforcement at home. 

And just a brief word: we don't do all of these things every year, usually just one or two. My goal is to find an activity that will keep us aware of the season and what's going on at church (especially when we can't be at church as often as we'd like) without involving too much work. Seriously - we try to keep it simple! 

Please feel free to share your own projects or links in the comments below!

Update: Use the tag Great Lent for my more recent projects like the Lenten Memory Verse Garden. or Lenten Memory Verse Tree


Lady Sarakosti
Of course, Lady Sarakosti is fun! I usually draw her and we color it together - I was inspired by these colorful ladies. Here is a Lady Sarakosti poem and some templates, and here is Orthodoxmom's recipe for making a dough Kyra Sarakosti. I've never made a dough Lady Sarakosti yet, but I'd love to make a pretty one like this! Maybe next year.

And for those of us who like to know these things: Sarakosti means forty days (in the biblical greek the word was tessarakosti), so she is a personification of the forty day fasting season, and she is also sometimes called Lady Lent. She has 7 feet for the 7 weeks of Lent and Holy Week. Her mouth is closed as she fasts, and her hands are folded in prayer. She wears a cross to remember Christ. 

Lenten Scrapbook

The year we made the Lady Sarakosti pictured above, we also made a Lenten Scrapbook. Using the Great Lent Curriculum offered by OrthodoxEducation as a starting point (and other Lenten lessons offered there), we'd talk about the gospel lesson or commemoration from Sunday each week. So most weeks, we only had a little lesson one day of the week, which was pretty simple, and then we'd draw or paste something into the book for the lesson. I noticed as I was photographing it, we just stopped with Holy Week - there is no Resurrection at the end! We must have lost our momentum after the feast. :)

I love to make little books - they're so easy and neat! Here's a tutorial with pictures from my other blog

I drew a Lady Lent on the front, but we also pasted the feet of the big Lady Lent inside the book as we cut them off.  

I remember one Orthodox mother wrote on her blog about keeping a journal with her children through Lent. She asked more specific questions each week about the meaning of certain services and what their favorite part was. I think she shared her questions on her blog. I can't remember where I saw this, but would love to find it again!  Let me know if you've seen this!

Lenten Garden

I've seen quite a few pretty Easter gardens around the web by protestant bloggers. This one comes to mind, and there are others on my pinterest board. I thought they were pretty, and I wish I had the time to make a tomb for ours. But I haven't devised a strong teaching element to this - we just got our hands dirty and made something pretty. We made ours with a mossy center with rock for praying on. I also made several icons mounted on cardboard with stick, and sealed for outdoor use, including Christ praying in Gethsemane, the Palm Sunday icon, and others for Holy Week. The Praying icon stayed in the Garden for most of Lent to remind us that this is a time of prayer, and then we changed them during Holy Week for the specific days. I've used the little cardboard icons for other projects, and was glad I'd made them.

The kids were pretty small the year we did this, and they played on the porch around the plants a lot - so many little toy animals and friends spent time praying in the garden - but eventually, they trampled the garden and picked all the flowers.  We may try it again in a few years! 
Update: This year we're doing a paper flower garden on our dining room window. Grab the printable flowers (with memory verses here).

Refrigerator Calendar

I drew this calendar on a large piece of art paper, and wrote in the commemorations for Sundays, Annunciation, and the days of Holy Week. I scaled down coloring pages for Lent, then colored them in and cut them out and pasted them onto each of those days. That ended up being way too much work, so next time I'll probably just sketch in a little picture.

I also scaled down a Lady Sarakosti, just because she's fun, and we pasted her in the top corner (the glue is only behind her head). We pasted the foot on Saturday each week. The girls colored in the days as they passed with a purple crayon. 

This was really handy for me and the kids liked it, too. I'll probably make this a regular thing. Update: I made a printable version, so I can just print it each year rather than redraw. Grab the printable here. 

Lenten Table Centerpiece

We made this centerpiece during the first week of Lent. It was a fun hands on project, and then we were able to discuss it again during dinner throughout Lent. The girls helped me choose different objects to emphasize prayer (the icon of Christ praying in the garden used in the garden above), almsgiving (with a jar for money), and fasting (beans line the bottom of the pie plate). We also added some pretty purple flowers (periwinkles) so that we'd have the liturgical color purple, and to offer something beautiful for God. And finally we included a little cup with a palm cross (Palm Sunday) and basil leaves (Holy Saturday) from last year, to remind us of what we're working towards. 

This was also easy and pretty, and made a nice reminder throughout the season.

1 comment:

Elena said...

Thank you so much for so many activities you've listed here! I'll try to do some of them with my 2-year-old this year.
In addition to what you have here I'll try this year baking 40 bird-cookies for the feast of 40 martyrs of Sebaste.
Here is a link for how they look like:
Once again thank you so much for inspiration!