Lent is a season of simple living. As the entire Church prepares for the great celebration of Christ’s Paschal Mystery in the Easter Triduum, Catholics make special efforts to pray, do penance, and do good works. Every day of the forty-day Lenten season is an opportunity to live simply and prepare for Easter. In this article, you’ll find printable Lent activities and prayers that will help children in your religious education program understand and carry out Lenten practices. Downloads available in Spanish and English.
The Season of Lent
The Liturgical Year is marked by special seasons: Advent, Christmas, Lent, The Triduum, Easter, and Ordinary Time. Unlike our traditional 365-day calendar, the purpose of the Liturgical Year Calendar is not to mark the passage of time, but to more fully celebrate and understand the entire mystery of Jesus Christ, from his incarnation and birth until his ascension, the day of Pentecost, and the expectation of his return in glory. During the course of a year, the paschal mystery—the passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus—is viewed from different angles, in different lights.
The Liturgical Year begins on the first Sunday of Advent, which usually occurs around the beginning of December or the end of November, and ends on the feast of Christ the King. The season of Lent begins on March 6. Lent is a season of preparation for the great celebration of Easter.
Lent Activities for Children
During the six-week season of Lent, we are encouraged by the Church to engage in three spiritual practices – prayer, penance, and almsgiving. To assist catechists and parish catechetical leaders in preparing and celebrating with children during this sacred time, Sadlier is pleased to offer a number of inspirational and practical resources. We hope the Lent activities and prayers available will assist your ministry efforts this season!
#1 Living Out Lent Cube Activity
Teach children that Lent is a special season that prepares us for Easter with an interactive activity. With the Living Out Lent Cube Activity children will brainstorm things they can do to make Lent a time of simple living. During the season of Lent, students will roll the cube to determine an activity they will "live out."
#2 Renew Your Baptism During Lent Activity
Baptism provides the key to Lent. In the fourth and fifth centuries, the Church developed liturgies to assist people who wanted to become Christians. The final forty days of this faith journey, the “forty-day retreat” before Baptism, became what we now call Lent. As part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) Lent is the time for catechumens to continue their preparation for Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. While some prepare to celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism for the first time, all Catholics are asked to renew their Baptism during Lent. It’s a time for those of us who are already baptized to reaffirm what this sacrament means in our lives today.
Lent is a time of preparation for the celebration of Christ's Death and Resurrection at Easter. Lasting for forty days – from Ash Wednesday to the evening of Holy Thursday – the season draws us towards the light of Christ.
Download The Road to Lent Leads to Easter lesson and prayer celebration to discuss the spiritual practices of Lent with children in your religious education program.
#4 What If I’m Asked About Lent?
When you hear the word Lent, what picture comes to mind? Penance, purple, fish, ashes, fasting, sacrifice? These are the images many Catholics associate with Lent.
Our idea of what Lent is will be closer to the Church's meaning of the seasons if the first thing that comes to our minds is an image of new life–of Baptism! Download the What If I'm Asked About Lent? Faith Fact with an explanation of Lent by a Master Catechist to share with junior high school students.
#5 Lenten Word Search Puzzle
As children in your catechetical program learn that Lent is a season of preparing, share a Lenten Word SearchPuzzle Activity. Download and distribute the activity sheets to students. Read the directions aloud. Ask volunteers to read the words in the box aloud. Explain to children that they are to find and circle each word in the puzzle. The words can be found vertically, horizontally, diagonally, and backwards. You may want to the children to work with a partner to explain the significance of each word during Lent.
Lent Prayers for Children
#6 Prayer for Lenten Spirit
Children and families can use the Prayer for a Lenten Spirit to help keep their seasonal intentions intact. Download and share it in your parish.
#7 Prayer for Lenten Initiative
The season of Lent encourages us to go outside of ourselves to serve others and learn what it truly means to live out the love of Jesus. Encourage children to use prayer to strengthen their resolve to take part in Lenten practices and serve others. Download a Prayer for Lenten Initiative and share it in your parish.
#8 Lenten Reflection
Provide children in your religious education program ideas on ways to keep their momentum strong throughout the six weeks of the Lenten season. Download and share these Lenten Practices Reflection Cards in your religious education program and parish!
Supporting Encounter with Christ
#9 Encountering Christ In Lent
As catechists teach children about the Lenten season, support them in drawing children towards Christ and creating opportunities for children to encounter Christ. Framed within three traditional practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, Lent offers a precious opportunity to encounter Christ as we make our way towards Easter. Download and distribute the Encountering Christ in Lent Support Article to inspire encounter Christ this Lent.