Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lenten Activities For Preschoolers PLUS Holy Week Crafts We Plan To Do

Sharing with you this article I wrote for the Smart Parenting Philippines' website (they published it rather late in my opinion.. hehehe... but still.. I hope this helps you!). Also, I'm posting the links to the Holy Week crafts from Catholic Icing that we are going to do.. I am still gathering materials, but I hope we could start doing them tomorrow, Holy Wednesday. Have a blessed Holy Week everyone! :-) Remember.. JESUS is the reason for Easter, not the Easter Bunny! :-) *winks*

Lenten Activities For Preschoolers

Lent is the best time to introduce your little ones to the joy of Easter and how to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.  They may not fully understand the concepts of fasting, abstinence, and almsgiving, but it’s never too early to teach our kids about these things. 

For a more meaningful Lent for you and your little ones, try the following activities:

1.    Prepare a “Sacrifice Storage Area”. 
Ask your child to choose something that he would like to give up for Lent and let him keep it inside a special box or other container that can act as a “Sacrifice Storage Area.”  He may choose a favourite book or toy or DVD. Set a good example for him by also choosing something that you will be putting in the “Sacrifice Box.” 

As much as possible, get other members of the family to do the same as well, no matter what their ages. Explain that we make sacrifices during Lent as a sign of our love for God, and to learn to appreciate the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.

On Easter Sunday, prepare a simple but meaningful ceremony where each member of the family gets to take out their “sacrificial item” from the Storage Area and say a Thanksgiving prayer.

2.    Make an Offering Box.
Using a makeshift “alkansya”, our family sets aside money during Lent which we will be offering on Easter Sunday to a charitable institution of our choice (most probably, it will be Bo Sanchez’s Grace To Be Born Maternity Home and Nursery, which caters especially to pregnant mothers in crisis).

Making an offering box is a great way to teach your kids about sharing your resources and material blessings with others. Tell your child that instead of spending excessively on things that you don’t need in the first place, donating money will help others in need. 

Tim and his offering box
It would also be good to note that teaching our children acts of generosity is something we should do not only during Lent, but all throughout the year.

3.    Make a Lenten Cross.
This easy-to-do craft will give you an opportunity to teach your children about prayer and thankfulness. This idea is taken from the Domestic Church website and is a fun way to get your preschooler to practice her scissor skills under your supervision. 

First, draw cross patterns on a cardboard then have your kids cut them out.  Make sure you have enough space on the cross for pictures.  Next, let the children cut out small pictures from magazines, old brochures and other glossy printed material of things that they are thankful for and glue them on the cross.  Talk to them about the images on the pictures that they have glued on the cross and encourage them to be grateful for all the good things you have in your life. 

Teach your kids about the Power of the Cross and the Love of the Savior!

You may want to display their Lenten cross crafts in a prominent part of your home, like on the fridge or the kids’ room as a reminder to pray and be thankful for all He has given us.

4.    Make a Spiritual Bouquet of Prayer Petal Flowers.
This is another great idea from Domestic Church, and is a creative way to build your children’s devotion to the Rosary, one decade at a time! 

Using colorful paper, cut out a series of flower petals, stems and leaves for each person taking part in the Rosary. There should be one stem (representing the Mystery), ten petals (representing the Hail Marys), one little circle or centre for each flower (representing the Our Father) and one leaf (representing the Glory Be).

As you pray, glue the “flower parts” that correspond to the prayer until you complete one flower. 

When you do this daily and all the decades are said, you and your kids will end up with a wonderful collection of flowers – a spiritual bouquet of prayer petal flowers. You could offer the prayers each day for a specific person or group, and give them the completed flowers as a colourful and meaningful gift.

5.    Learn about the Stations of the Cross.
The Stations of the Cross is another beautiful devotion that we can teach to our children. It is a good way for them to learn about the events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion, death and resurrection. There are many resources available online for teaching the Stations to your kids. Here are several useful links to help you get started:

Online Stations of the Cross for Kids and Families
Family Stations of the Cross from Domestic-Church.com
An article from the Passionists on Teaching the Stations of the Cross to Children
Multimedia Stations of the Cross for Children from Loyola Press

The most important thing to remember about these Lenten activities is that they will have greater significance when parents do them together with their kids. Find time together with your kids and make your bonding moments even more meaningful by enriching your family life AND faith all at the same time.

And now for the links from Catholic Icing (and linkys from other blogs/sites featured there) ! :-)

We plan to do these: (I am hoping to do all of them! Quite ambitious for a disorganized mama like me, but with God all things are possible, right?!)

Holy Thursday - Last Supper CraftPraying Hands Craft and Washing of the Feet

Good Friday - Stations of the Cross Coloring Activity and Loyola Press' Stations of the Cross for Kids

Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday - Resurrection Eggs, Easter Countdown Calendar, Printable Resurrection Set

Thank the LORD for moms like Lacy who are SO gifted creatively and SO hardworking in putting up posts like these! Super helpful for clueless Teacher Mamas like me! :-) hehehe. Here's to a blessed blessed Holy Week and an even more blessed Easter everyone! :-)


Chris said...

wow, lots of ideas here!

Teacher Mama Tina said...

Hi Mommy Chris! :-) Most of my ideas I got online lang din! hehehe :-) How are you doing? Congrats on your blog's updated "activity" ha. :-) Love your Mommy Talks portion! :-) By the way, what curriculum are you using again for homeschooling? TMA right? :-) What age/level did you start your kids on it? :-) It's SUPER nice to reconnect again with you! God bless sis!

Teachermama Tina writes about

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