Sunday, January 11, 2015

Lenten Memory Verse Garden (printable)

We're getting ready for a new little one around here - I'm due on Palm Sunday. So I wanted to think ahead to have something educational for the kids during Lent - even if I'm not up to doing much later. When a sick little one kept me home from church today, I spent most of the day preparing this little paper lenten garden.

Since we started homeschooling, I've always liked the idea of a seasonal table - but I've never actually had one. Occasionally we have a seasonal centerpiece, and this fall/winter we decorated our kitchen window with a seasonal-wintery scene. My paper craft lovers had fun with the window, so I thought we'd do that again for Spring/Lent! We actually made our winter scene while it was still fall, and now that winter has only barely begun, I'm trying to hold myself back from starting Spring too early. But I think adding a new flower each week throughout the triodion might be just the right pace. By Pascha it will be Spring, and we'll have a full garden!

So here's how it works:

1. Print! I made up templates for a bunch of flowers in the style of Lois Ehlert's Planting a Rainbow - which we love! I think the easiest way to get lots of color without lots of work (or using lots of ink) is to print these templates on colored construction paper, but if you want to print them on plain white paper and color or paint them, of course you could also do that. The stems have memory verses taken from each Sunday Gospel during the Triodion and Pascha. Once they are printed, keep them handy in a folder. This will be a great reminder to Teach the Story each week.

2. Cut! This will be the most time consuming part, but you could easily break it up and only cut out what you need each week. Or better yet, make the kids do it.

3. Assemble! Each week, cut out the flowers and stems and any little extra leaves or bits you need as described in the weekly guide. I think we will glue together the parts of the flower, then tape the flower to the window. (In the picture below, they are just laid out on the floor, so the pieces aren't all attached properly :P ). As you do assemble your flower (or flowers), you can listen to the Sunday Gospel for the week provided by the Antiochian Archdiocese, and then review the memory verse.

My older daughter came home and found me cutting out construction paper and insisted on playing along. So we cut everything out and arranged all the parts on the floor. I'm glad we did a test run because we ended up printing and cutting out a few extras of some things, which I have described in the weekly guide, and you can see one way of assembling the flowers. Of course, they don't have to be assembled in any particular arrangement. The pdf (download here or embedded below) includes printing instructions, the weekly guide (telling you what you need, how to assemble, and what the memory verse is each week), and all the templates.

A few tips: 

  • The guide suggests printing all the pages one at a time to get the right colors, but I don't think its too difficult to do this: stack 1 white, 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 purple, 1 blue, 1 white, 4 green, and then print pages 1-10.
  • Print at actual size to get the biggest flowers. Your computer may worry that some of it is outside the printable area, but it shouldn't be a problem.
  • If you don't have white construction paper, use a medium weight drawing paper, card stock or regular typing paper in a pinch. The white flower page is the only sheet that contains color, but if you're printing all at once, go ahead and print in color.
  • We printed extra ferns for Palm Sunday to fill in the awkward spaces at the bottom. That way it will be pretty throughout Paschaltide. :)
  • Print the guide, too. Initially I thought I wouldn't print the instructions, but then I realized each week I will need to refer to what we need, and having that in the folder will be handy. On the same note, bookmark the Sunday's Gospel page so you can listen each week!
  • And a final thought - you could use these to build a memory verse garden outside of Lent - just don't print my memory verses, and write your own on the blank stems!

The Triodion begins on Feb. 1!


Anonymous said...

I love this!

There's something about making gardens - flower gardens, paper gardens, prayer gardens - whatever it is, I always think it brings us closer to God.

Pres. Eleni said...

Loving this project, so lovely. It is on my list as a fave already.