Lenten Paper Chain

We are doing our Lenten Paper Chain again this year.  I already P1020171posted last year’s but I thought I would go ahead and share again because I changed it up a little bit this year and I like it better.  We still have a message written on every paper link, but after doing our Advent countdown I decided to focus on activities rather than just messages.  I still included some spiritual messages but overall I tried to have us do activities that would bring us closer to God during Lent and support our goal of doing good deeds.

When making the chain I used purple, the color of Lent.  For Sundays I used pink since they are not technically part of Lent and to make it easier to keep track of which day is which.  I tried to keep our schedule in mind when assembling and to mix up the activities and the prayers.

Here are some of our messages:

Activity stripsP1020164

Write a card for a grandparent.
Help Mama around the house.
Tell someone the story of Easter.
Make our Easter garden.
Help feed and walk Hero (our dog).
Bake cookies for a friend.
Do something nice for your sister.
Smile at someone who is having a bad day.
Read a book about Jesus.
Help plant in the garden.
Do an Easter craft.
Read a story from the Bible.
Play with our Stations of the Cross kit.
Do something to brighten a grandparent’s day.
Help to water and weed our garden.
Sing a song to celebrate the Lord.
Take a walk to look at the world God created.

Prayers, Messages, and Sundays

Say a special prayer to Mary.
God loves you so much!
You are God’s little princess!
God made you so you are special!
God made the mountains and the oceans.
Say a special prayer to Jesus.
Say thank you to god for all that we have!
God made the flowers and the trees.
Say a thank you prayer to Jesus for dying on the cross for us.
Be good at church today.
Say a special prayer at church today.
Light a candle for someone at church.

Holy Week

Hosanna!  Wave palms for Jesus!
Say a special prayer tonight at dinner as a family.
Pray the Stations of the Cross.
Tomorrow is Easter!  Celebrate Christ rising!  Alleluia!

 

Crown of Thorns

Since the girls can’t really give something up for P1020019Lent, we are instead focusing on doing things this religious season.  (Personally I’ve always preferred this approach anyways.)  Our Advent activity of adding straw to Jesus’s manager was such a hit in our house that I loved the idea of doing something similar this Lent.  I made this Crown of Thorns and during the Lenten season we will remove a thorn every time someone does a good deed.  Our goal is to remove all the thorns before Easter.

P1020016To make our crown, I purchased a small grapevine wreath at Michaels.  I then stuck toothpicks throughout it to make the thorns.  We used about 100, I just to a package and stuck a ton in there.  We are setting aside each of the “thorns” we pull out and will use them to make a cross towards the end of the season.  (The added benefit of this is that it keeps the girls from playing with the toothpicks they pull out.)

What kind of deeds count?  In our home it is P1020021anything that eases someone’s burden or brightens his day, which is exactly what we would want to offer Christ in his journey to Calvary.  It could be as simple as helping with dinner or sending a card to a grandparent.

As a kid I always thought Lent was one of the worse times of the year.  It’s only now as an adult that I can enjoy Lent as a time of focus and reflection to renew my faith.  While this is also a time of sacrifice and prayer, I want my girls to have a positive experience with Lent so that later they may be able to appreciate this time of year.

Lenten Chain

Lent is hard for little ones.  Who are we kidding?  It’s hard for adults too.  Advent is filled with the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas.  There are parties to go to, cookies to bake, presents to get.  Lent, on the other hand, is a time of praying, fasting, and almsgiving.  It’s the holiest of seasons and yet for a child it’s the hardest in which to participate or even understand.

In order to help my girls recognize Lent, I made us paper chains to count the days until Easter.  Since the girls are still too little to do the cutting or stapling, I actually made them myself.  But I wanted them to be more than just a countdown until Easter so on each paper link I wrote a message of faith for the girls.  I kept them simple and joyful for a toddler.  Messages like:

Jesus loves you!
God made the sun and the stars!
Jesus is your friend!
God will always help you!
Jesus is with you when you are scared!
God made all the animals!
Mary is Jesus’ mama and our friend too!

I will be honest, it was hard at times coming up with the 47 messages.  Even though I was making two chains (one for each daughter), I just used each message twice and mixed them up when I put them together.  Each day Mia and Zoe will have different messages, but at some point they will have one they have already heard before, just reinforcing the message.

For the links I used purple since it’s the liturgical color of the season; however for Sundays and Ash Wednesday I used pink just to spice it up a little and make it easier to keep track of how many links there were.

We started on Ash Wednesday and so far the girls have really enjoyed it.  They love pulling off a link each day and finding out what the message is.  First they like to “read” it themselves first, usually repeating the message they had the day before.  Then they will let me read it to them.

  It does appear that this Lent we will also be focusing on patience and taking turns since they really wanted to just take off every link on the first day.  (On that first Thursday, the girls did sneak over to the chains and started pulling off links).

Hopefully this will help my girls feel more involved in Lent and help them to be saying a special extra prayer each day in their own way.

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