Activities can make Lent more meaningful to kids. Lenten activities can include many elements of preparation, including the Passover sacrifice, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper and elements of Jesus’ crucifixion, such as the crown of thorns, his wounds and the trip down the Via Dolorosa. Lent lasts more than 40 days, counting Sundays, so you can use many activities during this season.
According to Matthew 27:26-31, Pilate’s soldier beat Jesus and then mocked him with a red robe and a crown of thorns. In 1 Timothy 6:14-16, Revelation 17:14 and Revelation 19:16, Jesus wears a different type of crown as the King of Kings. Have your child make two crowns, a crown of thorns and a royal crown for Jesus. Your child can cut two identical strips of paper large enough to fit around your child’s head. On one strip, he can color a braided pattern with thorns and on the other crown, he can draw jewels and add glitter. You can say, “The soldiers didn’t understand that Jesus really was a king when they mocked him with a robe and crown."
Praise and Scorn
The Sunday before Jesus was arrested, the crowds cheered him as he made his way to Jerusalem, but they jeered him on Good Friday, according to Luke 19:28-40 and Luke 23:13-25. The crown of thorns represented the scorn those in Pilate’s courtyard had for Jesus. Have your child make a crown of thorns using three ropes of bread dough from your grocer’s dairy case. She can braid the ropes together and mash the ends together to keep it in a ring. Instruct her to stick a handful of toothpicks into the dough before you bake it in the oven, following the package directions. After the dough is baked, she can remove one toothpick each time she prays a blessing on someone.
The Lamb's Blood
Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, an event where the blood of the sacrificed lamb preserved the lives of the firstborn Jews in Egyptian captivity, according to Exodus 12:1-30. In John 1:29-30, John the Baptist proclaims that Jesus is the Lamb of God who comes to take away the world’s sins. Tell your child, “When Jesus was killed just before the Passover celebration began, he was the ultimate sacrificial lamb for all the world.” Cut a 3-inch wide strip from the length of a sheet of typing paper. Split that strip into 1-inch strips, leaving 1/2 inch of the strip uncut at one end of the 3-inch strip. Have your child weave the three strips together into a braid, stapling the braided end to the uncut end to complete the crown. Cut short gashes in the edges of the braided paper to create the thorns. Place the completed crown on a stuffed lamb to remind your child that Jesus shed blood to save the world.
At the crucifixion, Jesus was stripped of his robe and hung on the cross, according to John 19:16-25. Tell your child, “To those who looked on, this probably appeared to be the end Jesus’ life and ministry, but it wasn’t. After Jesus died, they buried him and he rose on Easter.” To remind your child that Jesus didn’t stay dead, take one of the thorny crowns and drop it over the crossbar on an empty cross. Drape a strip of purple cloth across the crossbars and repeat the traditional Easter greeting, “He is risen! He is risen indeed!”