Friday, March 3, 2017

Family Lenten Activities with Grandparents, 2017

Every year the Church gives us the season of Lent. A season of penance and renewal.  Penance is the turning away from sin and the opening of our hearts to more fully receive God’s gifts. The renewal is a reminder of our baptism when through water and the words of the priest or deacon, the Holy Spirit of God first entered our souls, removing original sin and flooding us with grace. As Catholic grandparents, how can we help our grandchildren to make room for Jesus and experience more of his life and grace this Lent? The following are a few suggestions.

Praying Arms - Pretzel
If you live near your grandchildren, invite them over to make pretzels! Pretzels were traditionally Lenten fare. Made originally of flour, water and salt, their shape is in the form of arms folded in prayer. Serve the pretzel and use it as a springboard to explain prayer as a conversation with Jesus. Burying the Alleluia is a fun and instructive activity. Catholics do not say the Alleluia at Mass during Lent, the Church’s penitential season. Alleluia means “praise Yahweh.” The Alleluia returns at the Easter Vigil Mass, the Church’s season of rejoicing. For instructions for burying the alleluia or making palm crosses, go to

The Stations of the Cross are prayed in many parishes. When you go, invite your grandchildren to join you.  For younger grandchildren, outdoor Stations of the Cross are a better option, or The Stations of the Cross coloring book from Pauline Books & Media. Children’s Station of the Cross booklets are available from

Lenten Calendar from
Children need concrete activities. There are printable Lenten maps which take the child day by day on a journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. You and your grandchild determine the activities.  I like the linked paper chain activity made from purple construction paper. Every good deed adds a link to the chain. The challenge is to see how many good deeds can be made before Easter arrives! There are more children’s activities at  

Bread Dough Crown of Thorns

For your crafter/artist a bread dough crown of thorns or crucifix will draw them into the deeper meaning of Lent. 

Scones for the Annunciation

Hot cross buns, scones for the Annunciation and ceam puffs for the solemnity of St. Joseph will keep baking hands busy,, archive 2015.

Lent is a time for fasting. We associate fasting with food but it is also a time to fast from TV, electronics and technology. We can help our grandchildren fill their time with good books. Suggest reading  a saint whose feast day falls during Lent to fill their technology fast!  The Lent-Easter Book by Joan Marie Arbogast is full of activities, stories and printables suitable for grades K – 3 and 4- 8. More books for children can be found on 
Singh family benefits from Operation Rice Bowl with new farming techniques

Operation Rice Bowl or a similar charity is a way to share money saved from sacrificed treats.  Show your grandchildren pictures of how the money will be used, so they can see how their sacrifices help others.

Our love for Christ and the Church is the greatest gift we can share with our children and grandchildren.  Immerse yourself in the season, and be assured of the many graces and blessings the Lord will bestow on you and your family.