As MCM and LCM get older, I am trying to incorporate the seasons of the church year into our home life as much as possible. My desire is that we would lead a seamless life - all permeated by the presence of Christ and the life of the church. I want to create as many opportunities as possible to imitate the life of Christ in our home, so that there is no separation between what we find and feel at church and what we find and feel at home - the domestic church. Lent is one of those seasons where we have the opportunity to make the Gospel come alive for our children, and I want to take full advantage of it!
That being said, this is our first year to really observe Lent as a family, so this is all new to me. I always love hearing what other families are doing in their home to teach their children, so I thought I'd share some links to the many wonderful ideas I'll be copying for my girls this season. :)
First, we're going to bury the Alleluia. MCM and I made a sign almost exactly like the one this link leads you to, and we hung it over the fireplace. Tomorrow (Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday) we'll "bury" it somewhere in the house and pull it out again on Easter morning.
Wednesday we'll go to the Ash Wednesday service at church. I've done my best to explain what this service means to MCM, but I'm sure she'll understand it better on Wednesday. I think this link has some wonderful ideas/crafts for how to teach kids about Ash Wednesday/Lent.
I also printed these Lenten calendars for kids, and we made a purple (the liturgical color of Lent, the color of kings, royalty) cross similar to this one:
We'll use this to display our calendars and remind the littles what this season is all about.
I'm also going to make a Jesus Tree for the girls following the designs on this blog:
I'm doing ours on blue poster board and making felt ornaments for the "tree". If you're not feeling crafty, this sweet mom has 40 daily scripture readings to do with your little ones that all focus on the life of Christ. Simply doing that would be wonderful!
We also have a little jar, which bears the label "Give", in which we'll be putting all of our change and extra money from not eating out (or buying/baking sweets, which she'll be fasting from), so that MCM can learn a bit about almsgiving. At the end of Lent she says she'd like to give her money to the church. She already emptied her piggy bank and filled the jar halfway. :)
I'll also be pulling these out during Holy Week:
I bought these simple, little eggs last year at Hobby Lobby. Each one contains an item pertaining to the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. The child opens each egg and you share with them the Gospel story. I didn't know if MCM would understand what I was telling her last year (she was only 2 1/2), but I couldn't believe how seeing and holding these symbols made the story come alive for her. Be careful with small children though, because this is definitely a choking hazard.
I have my work cut out for me in the craft department, but it is such a help that there are creative mothers out there posting ideas for the rest of us. May you all have a blessed and fruitful Lent!