Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources
Crown of thorns

This Crown of Thorns Helps Little Ones Make Sacrifices


This homemade crown of thorns can make it easier for your little ones to tackle their sacrifices in small daily bits and see how their penance bears fruit.

Lent presents certain unique problems for the mothers of smaller children.

You wish your children to understand the penitential aspects of the season, but this can be an overwhelming concept for your five-year-old. To give up treasured entertainments or snacks is difficult and can lead to a lot more strife than is necessary.


To that end, the homemade crown of thorns can make it easier for your little people to tackle their sacrifices in small chunks, on a daily basis, and see the progress they are making in helping Jesus save us from our sins.

Each time your child makes a sacrifice, giving up a snack, giving up their turn at something, helping a sibling or mama, they get to pull a thorn from the crown and put it in the jar. Hopefully, by Good Friday all the thorns are gone and on Easter Sunday the jar has been filled with lovely candies or a vase of beautiful flowers. This is how they see their penance bear fruit.


  • Salt dough (see below)
  • A box (or two) of 250 natural wooden toothpicks.
  • Brown paint (optional)


Salt dough

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour

Mix the salt and flour together. Spoon in the water a few tablespoons at a time until the mixture forms a smooth dough. Knead for about 10 minutes and let rest for about five.

Preheat the oven to 250˚

Cut the dough into three equal parts and roll each out into a “snake”. Braid the snakes together and form into a circle. Pinch the ends together. Stick the toothpicks all over the crown. If you have a larger family and a lot of kids who will be pulling thorns use two boxes and really crown them in there.

Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake. It will take anywhere from two to four hours for your crown to harden depending on how thick your “snakes” were.

When the crown is cooled and hardened (wait twenty-four hours) you can paint it brown for a more branch type look or just leave it natural. I usually set it on our dining room table on a purple placement to represent the purple robe the Roman soldiers put on Our Lord.

Toothpicks may need to be broken off rather than pulled out depending on how hardened your crown became in the oven.

About Mary Ellen Barrett

Mother of seven children and two in heaven, Mary is wife to David and a lifelong New Yorker. She has homeschooled her children for eleven years using Seton and an enormous amount of books. She is a columnist for The Long Island Catholic and blogs here . Meet Mary Ellen.
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