While I make so many lesson plans available for free, there is a cost to me... my time. I ask that you pay a small fee for using the documents available to print. After payment, you'll be directed to the file. This purchase will give you A PDF FILE: ALL MY LENT FAMILY ACTIVTIES printouts!
MARDI GRAS Mardi Gras or Pancake Tuesday or Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday or Carnival…. is the day before the beginning of Lent. It's "The Feast Before The Fast." It's traditions are easily found online. Our family celebrates with a big pancake meal and crafts including masks, necklaces and glitter! If you have a King Cake, you might be hiding a little plastic baby inside to be found!
We begin Lent with Ash Wednesday. While it is not a holy day of obligation, it is good practice to use this day and week to begin reflection on dying to ourselves. I recommend taking your whole family to Ash Wednesday service. Everyone is welcome, even non-Catholics. Many people take pride in wearing their ashes throughout the day at work and outings, just like someone might wear their "I Voted" sticker, but in a manner of reminding others that we must die to ourselves (our worldly desires) if we want to be like Christ.Weeks prior to this day, remember to bring in your old blessed palms from last Palm Sunday. If you forgot, they can be buried, burned or cut apart to be disposed properly.
HOLY WEEK IDEAS ARE HERE: Prioritizing Holy Week
- Including Palm Sunday Craft, Holy Thursday meal, Good Friday activities.
PRAYER - FASTING - ALMSGIVING Take advantage of this opportunity to include the whole family in bringing each other to the full potential Christ intends for them. Create a plan of action for the traditional acts during the 40 days of Lent. To help you out, I created these cards with 36 ideas (incl in the file)!
1. CREATE A JESUS TREE (included in the file for purchase) to reflect on 40 daily scripture readings.
While it's a great value to get all these printouts including these cards for $10, you can get just these Jesus Tree Cards for $5. Click the order button, and after payment you'll be directed to a link for a digital download.
2. CREATE A PRAYER SPACE or HOME ALTAR for reflection.
This may include a mini Stations of the Cross I created (included in the file for purchase). We simply cut and color the illustrations, then glued them to our popsicle stick crosses mounted in clay. You might add purple in several ways including cloths and ribbon. We often have a Crown of Thorns that is a vine wreath filled with toothpicks that are removed when good deeds are done or sacrifices are made.
guided by Catholic Icing like we did! Make a Prayer Pail where you add written petitions. Have a collection of prayer books and cards, as well as rosaries.
3. A WALL OF INTENTIONS
I have this nice magnetic space where I can feature these foam magnets we made. It's the 5 Loaves and 2 Fish. The Fish remind us to pray for ourselves, our wants and needs. The Loaves remind us to pray for others: the suffering, the church and leaders, the poor, the military, and our community/friends/family.
I think we've all seen the lovely ideas on Pinterest and Etsy for chalkboard intentions. Whatever you have available is always best!
4. A HOLY HOSUEHOLD: I created some mini posters to hang around the house to inspire a Holy Household. Our favorite is the Soap=Repentence that is placed near our hand soap in the bathroom. Just click on the image to print for free!
Inspirational and Prayer Posters are easy to find on Pinterest and would be valuable whether you tape them up or give them a frame. These are a few of my favorites!
CREATE HANDS ON ACTIVITIES
Our children really like their hands on Montessori Stations of the Cross inspired by Catholic Icing.
Magnatiles + Calvary/Golgatha
"Don't shine so others can see you. Shine so that through you, others can see God!"
Sacrifice Beads. These are a string of beads with a holy medal and crucifix on each end. Beads are moved while praying a decade of the rosary or when making a sacrifice. You can also find a child-level story in your Catholic Children's Treasure Box books. [Craft directions][Kits at Oriental Trading] Some things that are hard in life, we lovingly call "Our Crosses." These can be offerings to God in a penitential way. To show this to our children, we once had them carry a real wood cross. It got dirty and tattered, and it was never convenient or easy. This might be a daily thing, or on Sundays when we are more relaxed about the things we've given up for Lent. You can read about it at "The Crosses We Bear." On Easter we transformed the cross into a lovely Rosary Holder. It taught our children that God makes things new. That our crosses that may seem like burdens can make us the beautiful people we are meant to be.
Many who are in love with St. Therese will enjoy making
"Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me." Luke 9:23
FASTING AND ABSTAINING
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday during Lent are obligatory fasting days where you eat one larger modest meal and two smaller meals/snacks which do not include meat. All Fridays during Lent follow suit by allowing only fish (a symbol of Christ) to be eaten, no meat. Traditionally this is for ages 14-59, but it is a good practice for children to join in on. It teaches them a lesson in sacrifice and penance. It also makes the transition to adult faith practices easier.
*Catholic.com: Why do Catholics fast and abstain during Lent?
*USCCB: Fast & Abstinence Obligations
*About Religion: Should Children Fast?
So what should we eat?
It's also a time to drop your saved change in a Rice Bowl , volunteer at a local food bank, or food for the poor service such as Feed My Starving Children or Kids Against Hunger. You can make your own Offering Box from a simple milk carton or jar. There a many ways to give back to your church and community. This is the perfect time of year for Catholics/Christians to volunteer, as the rest of the world seems more mindful about doing this during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
*BONUS* In the file you can purchase at the top of this post, is a coloring sheet you can wrap around a jar or container for your "LENTEN ALMSGIVING." Sample below!
You might also enjoy as we do:
Wee Believers: My Mass Kit
Holy Heroes: Lenten Adventure
FOR EVERYTHING ELSE -THERE'S PINTEREST: Lent and Holy Week Ideas!
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"For those who are weary, lay your burdens down at the foot of the Cross.
God will bear your burdens and give you strength."