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Look who's sitting on our towel bar this Lent!
We include the Agnus Dei in the Lenten curriculum, because this is an appropriate time to think of Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away our sins. "Agnus Dei" is Latin for Lamb of God. This activity will help your child better understand, "Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world…" Jesus' pure and precious blood saves us from our sins. Just as the ancient Israelites sacrificed a Lamb to seal a covenant, or to atone for sin, or to save their household from the Angel of Death at Passover, Jesus saves us with His sacrifice of His own blood. For older children, it can help to read the story of Abraham and Isaac or of the Flight from Egypt from a children's Bible.
This activity can help your young child remember this simpler fact: We say Jesus is the Lamb of God because He took away our sins by dying on the Cross for us. When we sin, we do things we know God does not want us to do. This makes our souls "dirty" and unfit for Heaven. The Lamb of God takes away our sins so we can be clean again and fit for Heaven! Our Lamb washcloths can take away the dirt from our bodies at bathtime, to help us remember what Jesus did for us.
This project requires parent involvement.
You will need:
A white washcloth
Sturdy purple ribbon (choose ribbon that can get wet, about 18" in length)
A black permanent marker
A 2" rubber ball (found easily in pet stores)
Some white felt
1. Wrap the center of the washcloth around the rubber ball and tie tightly with the ribbon. Use double knots.
2. Use the patterns to help you draw on the face in permanent marker. When drawing on terry cloth, it helps to dab the color onto the cloth. PRINT PATTERNS
3. Use the patterns to cut the ears out of the felt.
4. Thread the needle with dental floss and sew on the ears, gathering them at the top as you sew.
5. Use your lamb in the tub to take away the dirt and remember that Jesus, the Lamb of God, takes away our sins.
A traditional Lenten treat, Hot Cross Buns are a not-too-sweet dessert that feature a cross made of dough or icing. This English tradition of a Lenten treat substitute with symbolic imagery is similar to the German pretzel. The origin of the Hot Cross Bun is ambiguous with several plausible stories. We developed this recipe for a family cooking activity. Children can help form dough balls and drizzle icing while singing the Lenten song: Hot Cross Buns!
Homemade Hot Cross Buns
1 C milk plus 1 T for eggwash
2 T honey
¼ C butter, soft
1 package dry yeast
4 C flour plus more for kneading
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
1 tsp salt
½ C sugar
2 eggs at room temperature – plus 1 yolk for eggwash
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 large orange or 2 small oranges
½ C currants
¾ C powdered sugar
Warm 1C milk in microwave or stovetop. It should be cool enough to put your finger in, but still feel hot, like a very warm tub. Mix in honey until dissolved.
Mix the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, allspice and yeast in a large bowl of standing mixer (or any large bowl if done by hand).
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together in a stand mixer and mix with dough hook (or wooden spoon followed by hand kneeding). Add eggs and mix until a soft, elastic dough is formed. (3 minutes or so)
Add the butter in pieces. Continue mixing until the butter mixes in (5 minutes). Add the zests and currants until incorporated (another minute or so).
Turn out onto a floured surface a kneed for a few turns. Do not mix in too much flour (no more than ¼ cup), this should be a soft dough.
Put in a large, buttered bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1½ hours, until doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven to 400.
Punch down. Divide into 18 pieces, form into balls (kids like to help with this), and place on a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet lined with greased foil or parchment paper.
Cut a cross into the top of each roll, cover and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
Mix 1 egg yolk with 1 T milk and brush on the top of each bun.
Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until golden brown.
Cool on rack.
Prepare glaze: Mix powdered sugar with 1-2 Tbs of juice of either the lemon or orange. Make a thin glaze to drizzle on the crosses. Add more sugar to make a thicker icing for piping crosses.
In the song Turn Around, we explore the themes of repentance and conversion so important during Lent. Our faith is filled with Shepherd imagery, which was personal and meaningful to the ancient Jewish people. We discuss the "Lamb of God" in Activity 1, and here we introduce Jesus the Good Shepherd. Now, we are the sheep who can choose the safety and security provided by a good and faithful shepherd, or we can seek out greener pastures alone. We know how vulnerable a sheep without a shepherd would be. This activity creates a turning sheep. We can explain to our children that the sheep may turn toward the shepherd and be safe and happy or turn away and do things "my own way" and be alone and in danger. This is a great lesson in choosing God's laws over our own desires and in remembering that we can always re-TURN back to our Good Shepherd.
1. Print the pattern on cardstock.
2. Cut out both sides of the sheep and color or decorate by gluing on cotton balls. You will get a better look if you loosen up the cotton balls first.
3. Color or use google eyes for the eyes. You can make ears by shaping bits of cotton into ear shapes and gluing them on.
4. Tape a drinking straw or unsharpened pencil to the back of one of the sheep and glue the other side of the sheep on so that the straw is in between the two.
5. Spread the cotton over the seams.
6. Once your sheep dries, you can use it to discuss conversion: Turn it back and forth between good and bad choices, between God's ways and some selfish things we may want that do not help us in our path to Heaven.
Although Divine Mercy Sunday is actually after Easter Sunday, we explore the Chaplet of Divine Mercy during Lent with a simple chant by Jennifer Naimo. This is an easy way for young children to focus on the Passion of our Lord through the Season of Lent. The Chaplet can be said on a set of Rosary Beads or as a simple decade on a set of Chaplet Beads. Here is an activity to help explain and explore the use of chaplet beads. There is a simple chaplet for younger children, or one with the written prayers on each bead for older children. For a coloring page with the chant, CLICK HERE.
You will need: Patterns printed on cardstock or construction paper, scissors (safety scissors if children are cutting), crayons, hole punch, 29" piece of yarn, scotch tape
1. Print the pattern (with or without the written prayers) on cardstock or construction paper.
2. Cut out the pieces and let your child color them.
3. With a hole punch, punch a hole over each X. Be careful not to punch through the edge. You can fix it with scotch tape if you do.
4. Create a needle on a 29" piece of yarn by wrapping the end with scotch tape.
5. Tie the yarn to the cross and help your child lace the chaplet together going in at the bottom of each bead and out through the top.
6. Tie the yarn to the final bead and trim any excess.
*Note to parents: Our chant keeps things simple for little ones with the more repetitious parts of the prayer. If you'd like you child to know the first prayer of the Chaplet, you can write it on the back of the cross, or print it out and have them glue it to the cross:
Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
CLICK HERE to learn to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy on Rosary Beads.
In the African-American Spiritual, Standing in the Need of Grace, we are reminded to look at our own faults instead of those of others. This activity gives you a chance to discuss this with your child. Consider reading Matthew 7:3-5 before exploring the lyrics, "Not my sister, not my brother, but it's me oh Lord, standing in the need of grace." Follow up with this puzzle activity which can be used again and again to remember this concept.
You will need:
- An 8.5 x 11" piece of cardboard
- An 8.5 x 11" piece of foam board or heavier corrugated cardboard
- Crayons or colored pencils
- School glue and a paintbrush or foam brush
- Scissors, sharp knife or Exacto knife
2. Have your child draw a picture of himself on the puzzle picture page and then cut out the picture on the black line.
3. Use the puzzle pattern to cut the large rectangle out of the foam board or corrugated cardboard with the knife. You want to keep both pieces intact, so cut carefully. (The outside piece will become the frame)
4. Put a couple Tablespoons of glue in a small dish and thin it with 1-2 teaspoons of water.
5. Help your child brush the glue onto the cardboard or foamboard. Make sure you coat the entire board. Attach the picture to one side and the puzzle pattern to the other.
6. Glue the frame left over from the foamboard/corrugated cardboard to the 8.5 x 11' piece of cardboard.
7. After everything has dried, cut the puzzle apart, following the pattern. This will work best if done with the knife.
8. Inside the frame, where the puzzle will go write, "Who needs Jesus?" or "Who needs God's grace?" in large letters.
9. Let your child assemble the puzzle!
* You can add a layer of contact paper before cutting the puzzle apart to help your finished product last longer.
At Making Music Praying Twice, we take great care to emphasize the Liturgical Seasons. With some help, children can make their own wooden crosses and shroud them for Lent, Easter and Pentecost.
Thanks to Virginia Kearns, one of our book illustrator and Art Teacher of 20 years, for sharing this great project with us!
- 8"x10" piece of cardboard (heavier is better)
- Cross Template – download here
- 8-10 Spring Clothespins – taken apart
- Elmer's Glue-All (not school glue)
- Newspaper or other covering to protect from glue, stain, and paint
- 22"x5" pieces of cloth cut on an angle as in the picture. Tshirt material works well. Purple for Lent, White for Easter, Red for Pentecost. Wide ribbon may be used as well.
- Acrylic Paint or Wood Stain if desired
- Spray Shellac or Polyurethane if desired
1. Use the cross template to trace and cut out a cross from the cardboard. Adults will have to help younger children with this. Your finished cross should be 8"x10".
2. Lay out your clothespins. Apply glue and spread evenly and generously all over the cardboard cross. Adhere clothespins in groups of 3 as shown. Dry overnight.
3. Paint or stain the cross, as desired. Be sure to follow packaging directions. Crosses can be left natural, stained a darker wood, or painted to reflect an Easter or Lenten theme. Once dry, you may want to spray with polyurethane or shellac to add protection and luster.
4. While the paint or stain is drying, prepare the shrouds. Cut the shrouds from old white T shirts, cloth or wide ribbon. Angle the edges for a nicer look. 22" x 5" works well. You can use purple material for Lent or dye your white material purple. We used RIT dye from our local grocery store, and it was easy and inexpensive. Your child can change the shroud from purple for Lent, white for Easter, and red for Pentecost.
On Holy Thursday, we remember that at the Passover Supper, the Hebrew people were commanded to offer and consume a lamb without blemish. Jesus offers himself, the only man without sin, for us to consume in the Eucharist and for our salvation in His sacrifice on the cross. To emphasize this theological truth and revisit the imagery of the lamb which we focus on in the Lent curriculum, use this coloring page.
If you color EVERYTHING inside the border, except the Lamb, you will find the Lamb without blemish. Note the halo, and banner with the cross, symbols that this lamb represents Jesus.