1. Lenten Love Tree
From a mom of 5 children under 6
“We have 5 kid, 6 and under so our family keeps it pretty simple. Every year we tape a bare tree to our wall and call it the Lenten Love Tree. Throughout lent the kids are encouraged to show acts of love to those around them. When they do they get to put a leaf on our tree (last year I made it even simpler for me and used stickers instead of leaves). By Easter the tree is full. I add to our tree a nest. Each year I put a mother bird in the nest with as many eggs as we have kids. On Good Friday, the Mommy bird flies away only to return on Easter Sunday when all her baby birdies have hatched. There are many lessons that my kids have taken away from this activity e.g. around the idea of sacrifice and alms giving with the tree, with the nest they learn about why Jesus had to die (new life), Christ’s return after 3 days and whatever other lessons their brilliant little minds can cook up.”
These next 2 resources are taken from an article that appeared in the Feb 14, 2018 edition of the National Catholic Register.
2. Sacrifice Beans
This activity can be done in conjunction with filling a jar of “sacrifice beans,” whereby children fill the jar with a kidney bean or other such bean for each good deed or loving act performed. On Easter, they will be delighted to find that their kidney beans have been replaced with those of the much tastier jelly variety.
3. Participating in Stations of the Cross
Participating in Stations of the Cross on Fridays and perhaps even trying to get to daily Mass more regularly are all great ways to pray more as a family during the Lenten season — and to hopefully establish practices that carry on even beyond Lent.
4. Bury the Alleluia
Write the word “alleluia” on a piece of paper and then put it in a plastic Ziploc bag or box and then bury it or put it under the deck for the entire season of Lent, when there is no Alleluia. At Easter, uncover the “Alleluia” to celebrate the Resurrection. Here is some information about this tradition.
5. Fasting & Praying Themed Activities for the Family
Use a different theme each week to practice prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The following is an example this could be done as a family.
Fasting: Each family member chooses something to fast from during lent (eg. a particular food, or screen time, or sleeping in, etc.), in addition to:
Week 1: Almsgiving – intentional do acts of kindness towards different family members every day.
Week 2: Prayer – read a story from the scriptures everyday as a family, and the Stations of the cross on Fridays.
Week 3: Almsgiving – Try not to complain this week!
Week 4: Prayer – pray for priests and religious everyday and the Stations of the cross on Fridays.
Week 5: Almsgiving – Write a letter or email to someone who is lonely.
Week 6: Pray – for those in purgatory everyday, and the Stations of the cross on Fridays.
6. Virtual art display based on the Stations of the Cross
Join with other families to have a virtual art display based on the Stations of the Cross. The entire family or even just the children could spend time on a drawing or painting or sculpture or 3D piece of art, tied to a theme that is meaningful to them in the Stations of the Cross. As a group you could decide to offer a prize for one or two of the submissions.