Sunday, February 26, 2017

Stations of the Cross for Children & Lent Literature, Crafts, & Websites

While Advent is a time of preparation and exciting festivities, Lent can be a more difficult journey for students to grasp; perhaps because it is more somber, includes sacrifice and self-denial, and waiting patiently for Jesus' resurrection.  Included below are some of my favorite Lenten activities I have incorporated into my religion classes throughout the years. 

Six children's books for teaching about The Stations of the Cross

1.  The Centurion at the Cross retells the Crucifixion through the eyes of a soldier present at the events.  This easily lends itself to a lesson on point of view.  You could have students tell of the events from others' perspectives present that day as well.

2. The Day Jesus Died is a short read about Jesus' passion on Good Friday. Rhyming verse and bold illustrations make the a quick but informative read.  I like to use this book to help with chronological order.  I would have students divide a paper into sections and then draw and label each of the events in order to help with comprehension.

3. With new illustrations, The Legend of the Sand Dollar is a beautiful story about two cousins at the shore who discover the meaning of Jesus' sacrifice by examining sand dollars. Use this book with a lesson on symbolism.  Challenge your students to create their own symbolic objects to remind them of Jesus' love for them.

4. Make Room: A Child's Guide to Lent and Easter provides several hands-on activities to help your students live out Lent.  I use this book to reinforce Random Acts of Kindness in our school (serving others).  You could make a paper chain with a different activity on each chain link with different ways students could help those around them and then complete one activity each day.

5. The Story of the Easter Robin relates the events of Good Friday to a robin caring for its young. One of the morals found in this book is compassion, which is a very important trait for students to learn during Lent (and all year long).  Use with a lesson about teaching what compassion is and what it looks like in action.

6.  The Story of the Empty Tomb is another easy and quick read about the events that took place after Jesus' crucifixion.  This book will give your students hope after the grim events that took place on Good Friday. Discuss with your students what brings them hope. 

Four multimedia websites: Stations of the Cross

The following websites can be used alongside any Stations activity you are doing; but be aware that some of the links are for older students (more graphic), and others are a little more conservative.  Most of them have reflection questions for students to ponder at each station.

1.  Loyola Press
2. The Word Among Us
3. Busted Halo Visual Stations
4. Catholic Online

Six crafts/activities for Lent

The following are crafts I have done with my students and children throughout the years to help them find more meaning in this season. Hands on activities always seem to stick in my students' minds more readily.

1. Busted Halo: Lent Photo Challenge #BHLent2017
Make a photo collage with this picture-a-day Lent Photo Challenge.
2. Crucifixion Silhouettes  Paint these silhouettes for a beautiful Lenten bulletin board. Add a writing element by asking students to imagine what Jesus saw while he was on the cross.
3. Just Like Mary: Lent Lapbook
Your students will enjoy creating this Lenten Lapbook.  There are many elements and a Lenten calendar in this lapbook.
4. Look to Him & Be Radiant: Lenten Acts of Charity
This easy to assemble pop-up includes 40 ways to give to and pray for others.
5. The Domestic Notebook: Holy Week Poster
This activity will help kids visualize the events and scripture readings during Holy Week.
6. Look to Him & Be Radiant: Hands of Prayer
Sketch Notes are all the rage!  This printable will allow your students to pray for different persons in their lives for each different finger on a hand.

Also, I have created a Stations of the Cross booklet to be used anytime throughout Lent.  Your students will have the opportunity to reflect on each station and write brief messages to Jesus and others present on Good Friday.  Just click on the picture for more information.

Stations of the Cross booklet by Sugar Cube Learning Resources
What would you have said to Jesus if you had been there that Good Friday?
  I pray these Lenten ideas help bring Lent to life for your students.  Lent can be a challenging season for students to fully grasp, but I hope these activities will make it more meaningful for them.

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