13 Fun Things to Do for Lent With Your Kids
Add some spice to your family teachings of Lent by peppering this sacred time with diverse activities for the family. Keep your kids thinking about Jesus and His sacrifices throughout the Lent period in a way that extends beyond the typical lack of chocolate or sweets. Lent for children may feel complex and confusing—activities with the family breaks it down into bite-sized chunks.
Use these things to do for Lent when choosing what to do for Lent with kids, from crafts and books to baking and decluttering.
What Is Lent?
Lent marks the build-up to Jesus’s death and resurrection, a time of deep suffering and sacrifice, but young kids may struggle to grasp such complex themes. Typically, Christians observe Lent as a time for self-reflection and repentance, giving up something they enjoy for 40 days and 40 nights, as Jesus did Himself. Check out a full definition of the meaning of Lent here!
1. Practice Prayer
What better time to help your little ones revamp their habits of faith than over the lent period? The truth is that most kids don’t have an active prayer life, and the reason for this might be closer to home than you may like to think.
Fewer and fewer Christian adults hold themselves to a strict regimen for prayer and appreciation, and children are catching on. Carve out daily time to pray as a family, and work together to improve your focus on the things that truly matter through conversation with God.
2. Give It Up Together
Some families allow each member to choose what they give up, to reflect what they value most in life. But, when you select something as a family, it will bring you closer together as a unit. Decide what to sacrifice together during this sacred time, and stay strict on it knowing you are in it together.
There are no strict rules on how to navigate the Lenten period: you could give up going out for meals, ditch sugary sweets, or even eliminate screen time from your life. The key is that it must be a sacrifice of something you enjoy (giving up a vegetable you hate doesn’t count!).
3. 40 Bags in 40 Days
Learn to limit your connection to material possessions while clearing your house of clutter by trialing the 40 bags in 40 days challenge. You get to decide the size of the bag and what you want to ditch, but the purpose is to push you to your decluttering limits. It’s easy to rid yourselves of a bag of clothes once a year, but 40 bags in 40 days? Now that’s tough.
Take the time to Marie Kondo your way into a minimalist life, free from excess clutter and everyday mess. Dive into your study drawers, kids' old toys, and kitchen cupboards—nothing is off-limits with this life-clearing task. Just think of how clean your home will be by Easter! Learn more about the beauty of decluttering as a spiritual practice here.
4. Build a Lenten Cross
You may burn an advent candle over Christmas, but do you mark the moments of Lent with a Lenten cross? Lenten Christian activities for kids should be fun, so get them involved in a ritual craft-making project. Here is how you do it:
- On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, form a wooden cross and hollow out six small holes (you could even save your Christmas tree for this exact purpose!).
- Mount six candles into the holes for ritual lighting on the sacred days of Lent.
- Light one as one of your Ash Sunday activities, and again on each of the six days of Lent.
- Top tip: Let your kids get involved in the cross-making and decorating process, and let them light the candles too!
5. Observe Passover With a Christian Passover Dinner
Passover is a major Jewish holiday celebrating the Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt. This Biblical story is relevant to Christians too, so why not teach your family a little about Judaism while sharing in a Passover meal? A seder plate recalls Jesus’ Last Supper and contains five central elements.
- Lamb shank bone (zeroa)
- Egg (beitzah)
- Bitter herbs (maror)
- Vegetables (karpas)
- Sweet paste (haroset)
6. Read Easter Books
If reading as a family isn’t a habit you typically engage in, take the opportunity this Easter to share in some storytelling sessions. Reading is one of the simplest Lenten activities for families. Our favorites are:
- The Donkey That No One Could Ride – Anthony DeStefano
- The Week That Led to Easter — Joanne Larrison
- Margaret's First Holy Week — Jon M. Sweeney
- Louie's Lent — Claudia Cangilla McAdam
- Little Colt's Palm Sunday — Michelle Medlock Adams
7. Make a Lamb of God Craft
Lents and crafts go hand in hand; create a lamb mobile with your little kids as a route into discussing Jesus as the lamb of sacrifice for humanity. Get your kids to cut out a little piece of card, stick cotton wool on it, and draw a happy little lamb face. If your children are young, offer a helping hand with the trickier tasks! Then, attach all of their cute creations onto a mobile, discussing Jesus’s sacrifices along the way.
8. Get Experimental With Object Lessons
Object lessons are an exciting interactive way to teach your little ones lessons from the Bible, and should be at the heart of all Lent lesson plans. Blending sensory experience with experimental practices, object lessons help kids understand the truth of God within the world around them. Lent Sunday school lessons wouldn’t be complete without an object lesson—here are our top ten object lessons for the whole family to enjoy.
9. Create a Set of Resurrection Eggs
Make and use a set of 12 Easter eggs to tell the Easter story. There is ample room for adaptation in this task, helping you to get creative with it yourself! Either buy plastic easter eggs and fill each one with a trinket relating to a different stage of the story, or cut some out on card paper and get your children to help you decorate them. You can even use an Easter story printable guide if you are running short of time!
10. Make a Prayer Chain
Prayer chains are one of the top Christians activities for kids, as all it involves are 40 strips of paper and a pensive moment with God. Ask them to choose a selection of different prayers to write down (with or without your assistance, depending on their age) and join together as a chain. Use colorful paper to create an aesthetic display, and hang it in your home during the Lenten period.
11. Start a Gardening Project
Growing something with your kids is a great way to show them the value of life, plants, and patience. Showing them how to cultivate something teaches valuable life lessons, whether you choose a sunflower, a cress patch, or an apple tree. Teach them the story of The Parable of the Lily to highlight how something incredible can grow from something which seems dead.
12. Write a Thank You Note to Your Pastor
Don't wait for Pastor Appreciation Month—tell your minister how much you appreciate them all year round! Support your kids in demonstrating gratitude by encouraging them to write their pastor a thank you card decorated with Easter themes. A simple note of appreciation for all they do will go a long way for your kids' ministry.
13. Bake Bread Together
Pretzels are typically baked during Lent because they can be made with only water, flour, and salt, creating a modest yet tasty treat. If you look closely, the shape mirrors a posture of prayer, with arms crossed and hands on opposite shoulders. Check out this Lenten pretzel recipe and get baking with your little ones!
Why We Love Lenten Activities for Families
It doesn't matter how you choose to observe Lent with your family—what matters is that you do it. Spend some time talking to your kids about Jesus and His sacrifice. Discuss the value of all He gave up, and remind your kids that He loves them infinitely. As the Lenten period is a sacred time for families to give thanks and create traditions together, don’t be afraid to create your own Lent path, whatever it may involve. Go on long walks, play your favorite Christian movies, or hold an Easter sing-a-long. The choice is yours.