Lent for Little Ones

by Lillian Silver

I teach a first grade faith formation class. Lenten group activities are very hard to find, so I created some for my class. I kept them quite simple so that all the children could manage them without too much trouble. My aim was to do an activity each week during Lent, here are the first four:

Week One:
A Lenten Cross

The first week, the children cut out crosses from the cardboard from cereal boxes and large tissue boxes. They made the corsses whatever shape or size they wanted, though you could draw a pattern on the cardboard first, or have the crosses cut out ready for them.

Next, they cut out small pictures from magazines and glued them on the crosses. They choose whatever pictures they wanted and as many as they wanted.

This cross created a theme for prayer and thankfulness for all the good things we have in our lives. Their crosses filled with everyday images also encouraged them to relate Jesus to their everyday lives. They loved the crosses. Some took them home. Others left them to be displayed on the bulletin board.

Week Two:
What is Lent

Another activity for the poster is to ask the chldren draw and color a picture about the word LENT and what it means to them.

This is an extended activity of the same theme as Week One. It helps the children see how Lent has a place in their lives.

Week Three:
Our Ideas About Lent

Divide class into four groups. Give each group a piece of cardboard or poster board about the size of a 1/4 of a poster board. Have the word LENT in block form already on the cardboard.

Pass out magazines. (This is where your collection of old National Geographics and Catholic family and children's magazines comes in handy.) Ask the children to cut out pictures about creation, religion and life then use them to decorate their poster of Lent.

One group may fill in the block letters with the pictures. The other group may put the letters on the outside of the block letters.

The children have to cooperate to do this activity. They need to discuss the choice of pictures and how they are going to be put on the poster. They gain an understanding of all the things that are part of Lent, and an understanding of each other.

Week Four:
A Lenten Prayer

Pass out a small tissue box to each child. Ask them to cut out the smoothest panel from the box.

Show the children how the panel is a drab grey. Suggest to the children to glue on that side a pretty piece of colored paper. The other side of the panel (the outside of the box) is already pretty.

On the papered side ask the child to write a simple prayer: "We receive our love from God up above. I love to pray to God each day." When they have completed the card, pass them around and ask them to share their prayers with each other.

This activity shows the children how prayer changes our life. It makes it beautiful because with prayer we are following God and doing God's will.

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