After a successful session with Advent Bingo, a catechist asked me whether Lent Bingo existed. While I don’t have a formal game board for that, there’s no reason we catechists can’t play Lent Bingo and other Lenten-themed games with our groups. While Lent is seen as a more solemn season than others in the liturgical year, and rightly so, there’s no reason we can’t lighten the mood in our classrooms with a game, even as we discuss serious subjects.
So how do we play that Lent Bingo? Make our own cards! Adapting the directions for the Resurrection Bingo outlined here, invite young people to create grids (or provide a grid for them) and fill in terms from your Lenten sessions. A starting list might include terms such as: Ash Wednesday, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, repent, temptation, Stations of the Cross, and Holy Week.
Other ways to review vocabulary terms include Pilgrim’s Progress or Wheel of Words. Act out terms, ways to act during Lent, or seasonal Bible stories with a game of charades. Winners of games might be given a small prize, but I’ve found my students love playing the games for bragging rights as much as any prize I might offer.
Dig into the Lenten Scriptures with a Bible race. Give young people the verse citations for Jesus’ Temptation (Luke 4:1–13), the Transfiguration (Luke 9:28–36), the Forgiving Father/Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32), and the Raising of Lazarus (John 11:1–45), and invite them to look them up in the Bible. The first person to find the passage is the winner and reads aloud the Scripture to the group (or another volunteer is chosen, so no one who feels uncomfortable reading aloud is forced to do so, or to “throw the game” to avoid reading). Depending on time and the age of your group, you may also choose to use Old Testament Scriptures for this activity—which certainly isn’t Lent-specific.
Adapt a road-trip game to the themes of your session with Going on a Mission. Each player makes a statement in the format, “I am going on a mission, and I’m bringing _____ .” Fill in the blank with a word appropriate to the season: Actions That Show Care, Bible, Catechism, and so forth. Each player repeats what the last said and continues the pattern. Be sure to conclude by challenging the first player to remember all of the statements made by the other players.
Whatever game you choose, remember it’s an opportunity to creatively engage the young people with themes of the session. Different games will play to the strengths of different children, so mix up the types of games you play throughout the year to find games everyone can enjoy playing—including you!
What games have you used during Lent to emphasize the season’s themes?
The With My Family section at the end of Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts sessions has ideas for celebrating the liturgical seasons at home, including Lent. For more Lent ideas, visit LoyolaPress.com/Lent.
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