This is my 13th year of teaching Lent to third graders, and I’m in need of some fresh new projects and activities for my students. While I will still use my usual activities—they will still be new to this group of third graders—I have realized that adding new activities and projects helps keep me engaged and challenged.
This year I will include my usual Ash Wednesday video that shows photos of our foreheads after receiving ashes. We will also participate in CRS Rice Bowl. I have been encouraged by Pope Francis’s message to create a “culture of encounter” during Lent. To do my part in creating this culture, I will share the videos that CRS produces to help my students understand the people who they help through CRS Rice Bowl and how Catholic social teaching is being applied. I will also give my students the suggested meatless recipes from each country to take home. Every year, some of the students’ families try out the recipes.
With my usual Lenten activities set, I am ready to begin my hunt for new ideas.
I went to Pinterest and typed “Lent for children” in the search box, and many ideas were displayed. One idea that popped up reminded me of all the Lent and Easter picture books I have in my classroom. A popular Christmas activity is to read an Advent or Christmas picture book every day in Advent. One blogger pulled together a Lenten and Easter picture book to read for every day in Lent. I recognized many titles, some of which I might want to add to my bookshelf.
I also discovered a global Lent project with other classrooms called Living Lent with Love. In this project, classrooms from around the country challenge one another to do a local activity of love. We may be making cards for the elderly in a nursing home or picking up trash in a local park. I can’t wait to see what challenge we get!
What projects and activities do you have planned for Lent?
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Making pretzels during lent is one I like to use. I love the book Benjamin’s box and UAE the Easter eggs that go along with it. I have a child’s version of the stations where I have an item in a box for each station or remembering with rocks where I get a sharp garden stone for each child and as we go through the stations we talk about the stones such as maybe Jesus stepped on one or fell on his knees on one. I teach second graders so that last idea is more for middle schoolers.
Thank you for sharing, Jeanette! Making pretzels would be a cool activity to do with my students. I’ve read about the Resurrection eggs activity. The book looks like a great addition to go with the eggs.
During the year, we are required to do a service project as a class. Our 6th grade class project takes place the Saturday morning before Palm Sunday and it is to clean the church. We wash down, rinse and dry the pews and the kneelers. When we’re done, the church really sparkles and the students have a sense of ownership that they helped clean God’s house in preparation for the Church’s highest feast days.
What a beautiful project for your students to take part in Stephanie! Thank you for sharing.
I use an activity with our 6th grade CCD class which I think you could adapt for younger grade levels. We have the students complete the sentences “sin is like ____.” and “holiness is like _____.” on different color Post-It notes using “opposites” in categories such as nature, sports, weather, travel. The examples help us discuss that sin creates an “emptiness”, a “brokeness”, a “disconnect” with God, and that holiness makes us feel connected to God, alive, joyful and growing.
Perhaps for younger grades you could provide the opposites with visuals or props and have the students place them in the “sin is like” or “holiness is like” categories. Thanks for sharing your examples!
Oooh, I like that idea Mary! And being the Post It Queen that I am, I have lots of color choices for my students to use with this activity. This would be a great visual in the he hallway for the other students to learn from too.