SummaryThis Lent, Mary Ellen Barrett helps families count down the days of their Lenten journey with activities that could become traditions that last a lifetime.
Lent is upon us! As homeschooling mothers, we want to make it meaningful for our children but it can be tricky to explain the sacrificial aspects to young children.
I have found that visual cues make all the difference in helping children understand why we sacrifice in Lent and it really helps to bring the liturgical life home.
If you are a Seton Magazine reader you may recall the Advent activities calendar I shared a few months ago.
The Advent calendar was inspired by a friend of mine, a popular blogger named Dawn Hanigan. She showed us how with a few simple materials you can add a blessed air of anticipation in your family’s journey through a liturgical season. It was just the resource I had been striving to add to my busy homeschool for years.
The calendar is made of readily available materials; a piece of poster board, library pockets, a few stickers for decoration, and index cards. For Lent, I create a similar calendar, the difference being it needs two pieces of poster board, taped together in the back, since Lent is longer than Advent.
Why We Count the Days
Over the years, I’ve found that children respond very well to counting down the days through activities. I think that especially in a somber season it helps to have a little something to look forward to each day.
Granted, for planning activities, Advent lends itself to more festive types, especially since there are so many secular traditions that families hold dear. But, with a little creativity, Lent can be just as meaningful!
This year our Lenten activities will focus on serving the poor and lonely in our area. We will collect food for our local food pantry, donate money that would have been spent on non-necessities (dinners out, new music, etc.), and visit a few local nursing homes. We will also donate books, stationery, and stamps to a local homeless shelter and deliver meals to some elderly neighbors.
I will prep the calendar a few days at a time so I can gauge our workload and plan bigger activities on days with more free time and smaller ones, such a praying the Divine Mercy chaplet or making spiritual bouquet cards for friends and family for other days.
I will be sharing some of our craft and activity ideas each week throughout Lent and I hope you will join us and share on our Facebook page your own devotions and traditions!
Finding Your Traditions
Other “throughout Lent traditions” are making a crown of thorns, setting up a Lenten altar space, and making a paper chain for each day of Lent with a prayer intention written on each link. Oh, and how about setting up a donation box to add to as you spring clean the house!
A wonderful resource for families is Donna Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s small book, Bring Lent Home with Mother Teresa. https://tinyurl.com/qpac5p7
This book was written specifically for families. Mrs. O’Boyle illustrates how to bring Lent home, doing “small things with great love” under the guidance of Blessed Mother Teresa, with whom she enjoyed a close friendship.
Consider praying the Stations of the Cross as a family. Each Friday we pray the Stations of the Cross using Stations of the Cross for Children https://tinyurl.com/yx2oq42j for the younger ones.
Finally, encourage your children to do some spiritual reading this Lent. Little ones can use the Lent coloring book https://tinyurl.com/v4mqp2x while older children read a saint biography or memorize some new prayers https://tinyurl.com/v8ghhh4
These are a few ways our family has discovered over the years to help us on Lenten journey.
I’m excited about sharing more with you in the weeks ahead which we’ll post on Facebook. I’d love to hear about yours too!