I know, I know, we’re already quite a bit into Lent, and I’m just getting around to posting this. Ash Wednesday came along and I decided that the munchkin was too young to even understand what was going on, he’s 4. Ok, so maybe I was procrastinating and trying to convince myself I could put it off for another year. I mean really, how can you teach a 4 yr. old self sacrifice? Well, lo and behold we got a special assignment from our Pre-K teacher Mrs. Kelley. She is the wonderful teacher behind the prayer box project I posted a few months ago.
There were three assignments. The first was to set-up a prayer table at home where the family could pray together, take a picture and send it to the teacher so it could be shared with the class. The second one was to encourage the children to do acts of kindness appropriate for their age (like sharing, giving mom and dad a hug, etc.) and to write them down on the leaf template provided. The leaves were to be placed on the Lenten Tree of Love and Kindness on the class bulletin board. The third one was to give the child a penny every time he/she completed a chore and then bring the pennies in to class. At the conlcusion of Lent the class money will be given to the Knights of Columbus Food Drive Program. The class is also collecting cans for the food drive. Can you believe it? We love Catholic schools!
The munchkin is really excited about all of it. He’s a bit of a whiner when it comes to chores and ever since we started collecting pennies, I haven’t heard a word of protest from him. In fact he tries to bargain with me for more pennies per chore! He’s being especially kind and mindful to others, and every time we go to the grocery store we have to buy something for Jesus’ friends who need our help. Thank you so much Mrs. Kelley for sharing your ideas with us!
Family Prayer Table
A small table or even a box would work nicely. Cover the table with a purple piece of cloth or constuction paper (purple is the liturgical color for Lent). Ask each member of your family to provide an item to help set up the table. Items might include a cross, Bible, statue, candle, prayer card, rosary, etc. Anything that might help them focus on the special prayer time your family will share everyday. Plan to join together in prayer in this special place each day of Lent. Pray simple prayers, read a bible story, or offer your day to God. (Try not to choose the bar your father-in-law brought back from the Phillipines as a prayer table, unless you want your child sharing that the table is where the family stores the poisonous drinks mom and dad like so much! Ooops!)
Tree of Love and Kindness
You can set up your own version of this tree made with construction paper at home. To start, the branches of the tree should be empty. Every day each member of the family can write down an act of kindness they have done, color their leaf, and paste it on the tree. Another option is to have someone else write down the act of kidness they observed another family member do and put it on the tree. Limit one leaf per day, per person. Download leaf template here.
Pennies and Prayers
Have the children earn pennies through simple household chores. The children can then place their pennies in a piggie bank (we used a mason jar as a our penny bank, but any container will do). Keep the jar of pennies on the prayer table, so as the pennies are added to the jar the children can pray asking God to use these gifts for those in need. At the conclusion of Lent the children can give the money to their charity of choice.