Today the great season of Lent begins. And it is the first time in a long time I have not been pregnant or had a newborn during Lent. Cecilia is also four years old now, which, I think, is old enough to begin understanding a bit more about Lent. So I rallied my spirit and thought it would be a good opportunity to try and make Lent more meaningful for the whole family. But how do you bring Lent to the mind and heart of a 4 year old? a 2 year old? Fortunately my fellow Catholic blogging moms had some good ideas we will be trying out.
Kate at Momopoly had the neat idea of little mice with string tales that get a knot for every sacrifice or good deed done. I'm not sure just yet how this one will work out since small children are still learning the basics but the girls had fun making the mice and hopefully it will help introduce the idea of doing that extra bit on their own.We didn't make sock mice the way she did but the girls had fun gluing together these felt mice.
Kate also mentioned the Stations of the Cross Box in which each station as a representative item for little ones to find and hold.
We did ours a little different but for the stations we have the following: Jesus is condemned - red string since Jesus was bound, Jesus takes up the cross - two sticks tied together in the shape of a cross, Jesus falls the 1st time - a small bandaid, Jesus meets his mother - a rosary, Simon helps Jesus - a Mr. Potato Head helping hand, Veronica wipes Jesus' face - a cloth with Jesus' face drawn on it, Jesus falls the 2nd time - a medium bandaid, Jesus meets the weeping women - a tissue, Jesus falls the 3rd time - a large bandaid, Jesus is stripped - a robe from one of the girls' Jesus dolls, Jesus is nailed to the cross - a "nail" (it is actually a decorative nail, not a real one and not sharp), Jesus dies on the cross - a small crucifix, Jesus is taken down from the cross - a small statue of the pieta we have, Jesus is buried - a stone, Jesus rises from the dead - the empty box! I plan to do the Stations with the girls each Friday and at each station the girls will take turns pulling out that symbol from the box.
Tracy at Pinewood Castle had the great idea of making your own Path to Calvary putting up one cut out for each day through Lent. I likewise like her idea about the branch and Popsicle stick wreath from which you remove a toothpick every time a good deed is done or a sacrifice is made but I did not have time to get a wreath and Popsicle sticks so we will save that one for another year. Each Sunday has a dark purple "stepping stone" except Palm Sunday which is the palm frond and Easter Sunday which is the white cross. Holy Saturday is the brown bare cross and Good Friday is the red cross. Holy Thursday is the Last Supper plate. St. Patrick's is the shamrock, St. Joseph is the hammer, the Annunciation is the white angel and James' birthday will be the birthday cake. All the other days are the lighter purple "stepping stones." We will put one on the wall each day creating a path through lent and the girls will get to take turns putting them up.
I can honestly say I'm looking forward to sharing this Lent with my girls. I will certainly have to post later how these ideas panned out with my 4 year old and 2 year old.