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Plant the Seed of Gratitude in Children with These Lenten Activities

Plant the Seed of Gratitude in Children with These Lenten Activities

How do we cultivate a spirit of gratitude in children? Spending time with children doing simple Lenten activities. Here are some activities, taken from a Catholic Update article “Celebrating Lent in Your Home” by Kathryn A. Schneider and Robert M. Hamma (C0293A).

Making a Cross. Make a simple cross out of wood or branches. You can make a stand for it or place it in an empty planter. Individuals can kneel before it each day, reverencing it and exploring the question: What does Jesus’ cross tell me about the quality of God’s love? As a family activity, flowers could be drawn on construction paper and cut out. Each time someone in the family does a good deed or makes a sacrifice, he or she can place a flower on the cross and share what he or she has done with others.

Planting a Seed. Jesus said: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (Jn 12:24). During Lent we share in the death of Jesus so that we can grow in new life. Planting a seed is a visible reminder of this dying and rising. You can use a marigold seed in a pot or plastic cup (with holes on the bottom) and watch it grow. Point out to the children how the seed breaks open so that the plant can grow. When the weather is warm and the seedling is large enough, plant it in your garden.

Making An Alms Box. Place the money you save by eating less or making other sacrifices in a box where it can be saved until the end of Lent. Then bring it to your parish or local food pantry, or give it to some other charity. Children can cut and paste magazine pictures of hungry people on the box as a reminder of its purpose. You can also use the “rice bowl” that many parishes offer for this.

Making an Easter Candle. At the Easter Vigil a large new Paschal candle is lit to symbolize the light of the risen Christ. During Lent you can make your own Paschal candle. Wait until Easter to light the candle, then do it every day during the Easter season. As it is lit the leader says, “Light of Christ.” All respond, “Thanks be to God.”

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