Here are several suggestions to help congregations and families involve children in Lent. Each activity is easily adaptable for Sunday school classes, congregational events, mid-week ministry and use in the home.
Lent is a time to teach about discipleship in the ministry of Jesus. “Here Comes Jesus!” is an “intergenerational learning” model that can be used as a Lenten congregation event. Consider picking one activity to use each week leading up to Easter Sunday.
Involve children in preparing “sackcloth” Lenten reminders. Cut bookmark-shaped pieces of burlap, and paint “Psalm 51” on each one (or attach small pieces of paper or ribbon with the scripture reference written on them). Invite children to greet each worshiper with this daily reminder of the Lenten journey.
Traditionally, Christians use Lent as a time to “give-up” something. Here’s an idea to “give-to” something. Invite children to help create a list of creative Daily Lenten Living giving opportunities for individuals or families.
Here’s a starter list of ideas:
- For every pair of socks in your bedroom, contribute a nickel.
- Contribute a penny for each year of your age.
- For each meal and snack you eat, contribute a penny.
- As you begin the evening meal, contribute a nickel for each lamp turned on in your house.
Create a Lenten tableau. Assign Sunday school classes or families one aspect of the passion story from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection. Provide poster board, banner materials or another creative medium. Vary this idea by using only an object such as a palm branch, basin and towel, etc., accompanied by a small paragraph of explanation and scripture reference. Each Sunday in Lent, add one poster or item to the tableau placed in the narthex, sanctuary or other prominent location in your facility.
“Before and After Easter,” by Debbie Trafton O’Neal, offers 40 wonderful activities and ideas involving children in the home and congregation during Lent. It is available from Augsburg Fortress Publishers.