Lenten Activities for Catholic Children


Children, especially young children, may find it difficult to understand the penitential season of Lent. However, Lent is not only for adults! Our family has enjoyed several activities that help our children set aside time to reflect on the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in preparation for Easter! It is equally as important as it is difficult for children (and adults) to understand the pain and suffering that Jesus endured so that they (and we) can be thankful for Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice and to also avoid all sin and the near occasions of sin. Here are some activities to help you and your family have a holy Lent.

Pretzel Sticks Crown of Thorns
When my first-born was young, we started a Good Friday tradition of making a ‘Crown of Thorns’ out of pretzel sticks to help understand what Jesus went through during his suffering. We have since continued this tradition each year and as the Lord has blessed us with more children, each has enjoyed this hands-on activity.

How To Create the Activity:
• Get one large plate (paper, plastic or ceramic, your choice!)
• Work with your child to arrange pretzel sticks on the plate in the shape of a circle.
• Continue to layer the pretzel sticks (minus the ones your little ones eat) in the shape of a circle.
• Explain that Jesus is Our Lord, God, and King. Before Jesus died, they put a crown on Him to make fun of Him and hurt him. The crown was made of branches of very long and sharp thorns that were twisted together. This crown pierced his skin which caused him a lot of pain and suffering.

Veil Sacred Images with Purple Cloth
Another activity that we have added is covering or veiling crosses and Holy images in our home. It is customary for many churches to veil crosses and images during the Fifth Sunday of Lent, but not all parishes do so. In our home, we typically begin veiling on the Fifth Sunday of Lent. Since violet is the color of Lent, we use purple tissue paper and have been able to reuse most of the tissue paper over the years. Crosses remain covered until the end of the day on Good Friday, but images remain covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.

How To Create the Activity:
• Get purple cloth, napkins, tissue paper or construction paper.
• Have your children help identify the Holy images and crosses.
• Older children can help veil and younger children can assist by holding the paper/cloth.
• Go room by room and cover most if not all Holy images and crosses in your home.
• Tip: Use painter’s tape for odd-shaped objects, as it won’t peel paint or the color from the image/object or walls.
Explain to children that we veil crosses and images to remind us that we have two more weeks to prepare ourselves for the greatest feast of the year: Easter! When we limit our ability to see, we can better hear the words of the Gospel to enter into Jesus’s Passion. While we will miss seeing these beautiful images for now, we must remember that Heaven is infinitely more beautiful!

Stations of the Cross
Years ago, when I was pregnant with our second child, my husband and I had a “date night” and prayed the Stations of the Cross at our parish. Confession time: that was the last time we prayed the Stations of the Cross in a church. Since then, we have prayed the Stations of the Cross at home. While I promise that we do intend to go again, there are a handful of ways to pray the Stations of the Cross at home with young children and have them understand what is happening.

How To Create the Activity:
• EWTN has a beautiful episode of praying the Stations of the Cross for Children. Available on their YouTube channel or you can stream it. www.ewtn.com/tv/streaming.
• Read a children’s book on the Stations of the Cross. Our two favorites are: Child’s Guide to the Stations of the Cross by Sue Stanton and Stations of the Cross by Father Lawrence Lovasik.
• CatholicIcing.com has a free printable Stations of The Cross using an egg carton on her website.
• Stations of the Cross Pray & Play Set: By Saintly Heart™ & Brother Francis™

Our family has found that these activities are a helpful way to empty ourselves of things that don’t make us holy and instead, fill ourselves up with goodness and prayer which will help lead us to Jesus.
Christina Frye is a lifelong Rhode Islander, wife, mother and founder of Catholic Mom Rhode Island, www.CatholicMomRI.com.