It’s so easy to prepare children for Christmas. We love the story of a very special baby being born in a stable. We put out our crèches and talk about God’s love. But Lent is a different story—it’s still a story of God’s love but it’s a little harder to tell. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. It is the 40 days before Easter, not counting Sundays (because every Sunday is a mini Easter – we celebrate Christ’s resurrection every Sunday.)
Here are two ideas that you can use during Lent with young children. Decorate a small box and every day at bed time, write a person’s name on a piece of paper, put it in the box, and pray for that person. When Easter arrives, you will have prayed for 40 people. Another idea is the Caterpillar/Butterfly Craft. The butterfly is a wonderful Easter symbol and a great way to teach children how Jesus rose from the dead and about the new life we have through Jesus. The caterpillar spins a cocoon (chrysalis) and goes inside to sleep; from the outside it looks like it’s dead but inside the cocoon wonderful changes are taking place. When the caterpillar emerges it has been transformed into a beautiful butterfly! You will need coffee filters , watercolor markers, chenille wires ,empty toilet paper rolls ,brown package wrapping paper (or brown grocery bags) scotch tape or glue. Give your child a coffee filter and have them decorate the filter with the markers. Watercolor markers tend to bleed and make interesting designs. Fold a chenille wire in half. Then, have the children scrunch their filters in the middle and wrap the chenille sticks around the middle of the filter and twist, bending the ends to form antennae. Gently fan out the filters to form wings. Give each child a toilet paper roll and piece of brown paper. Have the children carefully fold the butterflies’ wings and put the butterflies into the toilet paper rolls. Wrap the toilet paper rolls in the brown paper and tape or glue the paper in place along one side, and then twist the paper at the top and bottom of the roll to seal the cocoon. Have the children open their cocoons on Easter morning to release their butterflies! Then talk about God’s wonderful love.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16