Saturday, February 28, 2015

OK, seriously now... Great Ways to Celebrate Lent with Your Kids!

     After my post about dreadful ways to celebrate Lent with your kids, here are some serious suggestions I found on the web that would be fun and meaningful for kids!
  • Make a paper chain countdown: Anticipate Jesus’ resurrection! Remove a link from the chain each day to illustrate the passage of time until Easter. 
  • Create a Lenten calendar: Make a calendar that indicates Ash Wednesday, each Sunday of Lent, and Holy Week, and let your child mark one spot each day (or print this one!) You can also use the ones supplied by Trinity.
  • Revitalize your prayer/devotional routine:
    • Learn a new prayer. Selecting a new bedtime or mealtime prayer can be a great way to get kids to really think about the meaning behind their prayers, rather than just reciting words without thought. Stuck? Prayers for mealtime can be found in the Book of
      Common Prayer on p. 835. There are also some simple and cute prayer kids on the Internet if you Google “Prayers for Kids”. They’re simple and easily memorized.
    • Learn a new method of prayer, such as a walking prayer (Focus on seeing God everywhere), centering prayer (Pick a word like kindness. Sit in quietness with this word for 5 minutes. Share your feelings.), or color prayer (Think of what you want to pray about, and then color it.)
    • Learn a new hymn together!
  • Fasting (but not like you think):

    • The practice of fasting is an attempt to focus on life’s blessings, by pausing — to be mindful of our gratitude for family, time, and food. Here are some ideas…
    • Fast from fast food — Replace it with a dinner your kids help cook and eat together as a family.
    • Have a Fish Friday! Ever wonder where that came from? When fish was the cheapest
      meal a person could have, it was suggested on Fridays that people eat fish, and donate the difference between this cheap meal and what they would have regularly eaten to the poor. Not a bad idea, but nowadays, we might have Mac & Cheese Fridays.
    • Fast from TV one day a week — Replace it with family reading and outings.
    • Fast from electronic games one day a week — Replace them with family games.
    • Fast from using the computer — Spend that time with your family.
  • Read the Bible daily: Read a different Bible story from your child’s favorite Children’s Bible each day. Or add some Easter or “God books” to your home library.
  • Start a prayer/devotional/gratitude jar: This can take many forms. Fill a jar with either prayer
    starters or short prayers and read one together each day. Or leave slips of paper out for family members to write down people and things they are grateful for. Collect the slips and read them together during dinner or keep them for Sunday dinners, or wait for your Easter Sunday celebration.
  • Donate:
    • Food: Have your children help you pick one non-perishable food item to put in a box each day to be delivered to a local food pantry at the end of Lent.
    • Money: Collect a daily offering to be given to your church or favorite charity.
    • Toys/Clothes: Have your children sort through their things for toys that they no longer play with and clothes that no longer get worn. Donate the unused items to those who need them more.
    • Time: As a family, find ways you can volunteer your time to help others. Depending on the age of your children, it may be appropriate to volunteer at a soup kitchen or shelter. Other ideas include picking up trash at the neighborhood park, making cards to give to nursing home residents, helping elderly neighbors with yard work, or preparing a meal for someone who is sick or injured. Write a letter, send a card, or call someone who is lonely or shut-in. The possibilities are endless!
  • Become a better steward of God’s creation:
    • Make a bird feeder: Then hang it outside to help the birds in this late winter/early spring season. 
    • Reduce/reuse/recycle: Brainstorm together ways you can take better care of the
      environment. Can you take reusable bags to the store or use them in lunch containers? Can you start composting? Can your kids create something new out of those food containers you would normally toss?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Teach your child to hate Lent!

     For the 2nd Sunday in March, I was searching for ideas to get kids involved in Lent (prayer, fasting, and alms).  Think of positive things like Coloring Prayer, Recycling, Visiting the Elderly, and Donating old Toys.  But here are the absolute worst ideas I came across on the web  (Yes, these are real... and sick!  I'll be back in a week with some great ideas!):

  • Take your child to Stations of the Cross at Church, and then when you get home, say the Sorrowful Mysteries on the rosary (Oh, mommy, no, don't make us go outside and play!  We'd rather do the Sorrowful Mysteries.)
  • Bake braided bread in a circle and stick pretzels (or more lethally, toothpicks) in it to create a tasty crown of thorns (Governmentally sanctioned torture never tasted so good!)
  • Visit a Cemetery: Find a family member in a cemetery and explain how Jesus died so this person could go to heaven. ("So... you better watch out, you better not cry..." sing on!)
  • Temptation Cookies: While baking cookies, tell your children about the temptation of Jesus in the desert. When the cookies are done, leave them on the table, but they cannot eat them. (Remember Aunt Mabel in the cemetery? Well, if you eat these cookies...)