For Christian families, Lent isn’t just a time to give up sweets, meats, or social media. It’s much more than that! It’s a time for prayer, preparation for the Easter celebration of Christ’s resurrection, and time to strengthen our family relationships.
However, in the hustle-bustle of daily life, the purpose of Lent can sometimes be overshadowed when our hearts are focused on the lack of rather than the why and purpose.
When we keep our hearts focused on Jesus Christ’s example, then our small sacrifice becomes a small drop in the ultimate act of love he performed.
And helping our children understand this act of love is what Lent is all about. And that’s where these activities come in – they’re going to help you teach your kids about Jesus this Lenten season.
35 Free Lent Activities for Christian Family Fun
You’re going to love how simple these activities are for your family. And a great way to make doing this as easy as possible for you is to know these activities are free. Any Lenten resources you might need are common household items.
So let’s dive in and take a look at these 35 free and simple Lent activities for Christian families.
Make a Prayer Wreath
Materials required: Construction paper, scissors, glue, and markers
Directions: Cut a large circle out of the paper and a smaller one from the center to create a wreath. Then, cut out colorful paper strips. Each time someone in the family offers a prayer, write it on a strip and stick it on the wreath. By the end of Lent, you’ll have created a beautiful memory of all the prayers offered during this special time.
Read a Lenten Devotional
Materials required: A Lenten devotional book, a Bible, or free online resource
Directions: Choose a daily devotional to read as a family. My family and I love reading verses from the 4 Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Our older kids will read a verse and our young children will draw a picture while they listen. This helps everyone stay connected to the purpose of Lent and provide some much-needed spiritual nourishment in our busy lives.
Teach Kids How To Pray
Prayer is the heartbeat of Lent. Spend time teaching your kids simple prayers for different occasions. They can learn The Lord’s Prayer, a prayer for meal times, or a prayer for peace. The words might be simple, but the understanding can be profound. If you want a little extra help teaching little kids how to pray, these prayer games are perfect for families with small children.
Attend Mass on Ash Wednesday
By attending mass together, you not only show reverence for the significance of this day but also carve out time to create a family tradition during the season of Lent.
Read the Bible (Use These Kid’s Bible Cards)
Sometimes kids have a hard time sitting still, especially when what they need to listen to doesn’t have pictures. Use these Bible picture cards for children to bring the stories to life. You can use this free resource at home or with your Sunday School class.
Create a Sacrifice Jar
This, in its simplicity, is genius. Every time a family member has a successful day with their sacrifice, they place a coin in a jar. At the end of the Easter season you can donate the coins to a local charity. This is a great opportunity to teach kids the importance of giving back and making sacrifices for others.
Advent Paper Chain With Acts of Kindness
If you don’t have construction paper, you can always use plain computer paper. The purpose is to create a chain of papers, so every member of the family can remove a chain when they’ve done a good deed for the day.
If you choose not to do acts of kindness, you can always create a prayer chain. Encouraging your children to say extra prayers for others during the season of Lent is a great way to foster empathy and compassion in young hearts.
The scriptures focus during the Holy Week on two things: the first being Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, and the second being his final organization of his church. Just as Christ organized and gave his apostles leadership in being his representatives on the earth, we too can clean and organize our lives.
Last year my family decluttered and donated a lot of gently used toys, bags of clothes, and household items. We also took the time to deep clean our house and reorganize all of our spaces. It was a physical representation of preparing ourselves for new beginnings, just as the resurrection of Jesus Christ brought new life and hope to the world.
Attend Church on Good Friday
By attending church on Good Friday, you give your kids the chance to witness the collective mourning and the joy that springs from our deepest sorrows. You can read the Bible story of the crucifixion together and discuss its significance. It’s a powerful way to teach children about Jesus’ sacrifice, love, and redemption.
Planting Seeds of Faith
Spring is the perfect time to plant seeds in a garden or planter box. As you watch your seeds grow into beautiful plants and flowers, you can talk about how our faith also grows when we nurture it with prayer, scripture study, and acts of kindness. You can also use this opportunity to teach your children about the parable of the sower and how we must cultivate our hearts to receive and nurture God’s word.
Giving Back to Your Community
During the season of Lent, consider finding different ways to give back to your community. This could be through volunteering at a local charity, donating to a cause that is important to your family, or simply performing small acts of kindness for those around you. The best place to look for needs in your community is on Just Serve. By serving others, we follow in Christ’s example of selflessness and compassion.
Fast From Candy
For kids, sweets are the currency of happiness. By giving up candy, they learn about delayed gratification and that sometimes, the sweetest rewards are those that test our resolve. If your child struggles with the sacrificial Lenten activities, explain the purpose behind fasting and how it can bring us closer to God. Encourage them to offer up their sacrifices for those in need or for a specific intention.
Fast From Soda
A ‘dry’ Lent, but with fizzy drinks. Make a list of colorful, healthier beverages (including juice or water) that can jazz up meal times without switching on the sugar-rush that comes from sodas.
Study the Life of Christ in the Scriptures
Start the Holy Week off by reading the story of Palm Sunday in the Gospels. Throughout the days of Lent, continue reading and studying the life of Christ leading up to His crucifixion and resurrection. Use this time to discuss with your family how we can apply His teachings and example in our own lives.
Create A Stations of The Cross
To bring the last week of Christ’s life for your children, create a stations of the cross inside your home. This can be done by simply placing pictures or symbols representing each station in different locations throughout your house. You can also have these pictures ready to download on your phone, so your kids can see them up close and follow along as you pray the stations together.
This activity can bring a deeper understanding and appreciation for the sacrifice that Christ made for us. Remember to explain each station to your children, making it relatable and understandable for them.
Create A Scripture Advent Wreath
Have every family member write or draw a favorite Bible verse or a special prayer for each week of Lent. Place them in your home where people stay and visit, such as the kitchen or living room. This can be a meaningful way to reflect on and remember the importance of Lent as a family, while sharing your testimony with those who come into your home.
Build a Lenten Cross
If you don’t have basic crafting supplies at home, you can still create a meaningful Lenten cross using simple materials like paper, glue, and scissors. Cut out a large cross from a piece of paper and have your family write or draw their reflections on Lent onto smaller pieces of paper. Then glue these pieces onto the larger cross to form a mosaic. Hang it up in your home as a visual reminder of the season and a symbol of your family’s journey through Lent.
Hold Family Prayer Nights
Designate one night each week as a family prayer night during Lent. This can be a time to come together and pray for specific intentions, read Scripture passages, and share personal reflections on the season.
Pray for Others
When your entire family prays together, make a special effort to pray for others who may be struggling during this time. This can include those who are sick, lonely, or going through difficult experiences. By praying for others, we can grow in compassion and deepen our understanding of the Lenten themes of sacrifice and mercy.
Share Your Testimony And A Plate of Cookies
Gather the family, share personal stories of faith, make cookies together, and then share this treat with a neighbor or friend. Each family member can share a way their faith has helped them or a lesson they’ve learned during Lent.
Invite Your Kids To Teach
Children are a sponge for information, and often have unique perspectives on faith. Consider inviting your kids to make simple lesson plans and teach the family about Lent. Younger children can share a simple testimony, their favorite Bible story in their own words, or read a verse of scripture This will not only give them a chance to share their knowledge, but also deepen their own understanding of Lent.
Family Dinner Every Night
Our schedules become full and we may not spend enough time with those we love. Take a break from the busyness and create family dinner time every night during Lent. Use this time to talk, laugh, share stories, and simply enjoy each other’s company. This will not only strengthen your relationships, but also provide a sense of peace and joy during the busy season of Lent. And I guarantee that Easter Sunday will be one of your favorite family dinners together.
Create Your Own Lenten Calendar
Sometimes families have their own unique and special Lenten traditions that they look forward to every year. One idea is creating a Lenten calendar with small daily activities or acts of service for each day leading up to Easter. This can include simple things like writing a kind note, doing a chore for someone else, or taking time to pray or reflect on the meaning of Lent. Making this a project for the whole family creates an opportunity for bonding and spiritual growth together.
Bake Hot Cross Buns
A delicious tradition during Lent is baking hot cross buns. These sweet, spiced buns with a cross on top symbolize the crucifixion of Jesus and are typically eaten on Good Friday. Get your family involved in making these tasty treats and use the time to talk about the significance of the cross and what it means for us as Christians. You can even share some fun facts about the history of hot cross buns or come up with your own family recipe.
Bake Pretzels To Enjoy & Share
Did you know that pretzels have a religious origin? Legend has it that in medieval times, a monk created the shape of pretzels to resemble arms crossed in prayer. During Lent, try baking your own pretzels and sharing them with friends, neighbors, or even strangers as an act of kindness and generosity. You can also use this time to talk about how we can show love and compassion to others during this season.
Host A Fish Fry
Eating fish on Fridays is a common tradition during Lent, so why not make it a fun event for the whole family? Gather your loved ones and friends for a fish fry where everyone can bring their favorite seafood dishes or try new recipes together. This is also a great opportunity to invite non-Catholic families or neighbors to learn about the traditions of Lent and enjoy some delicious food together.
Light Lenten Candles Together
Your family can create a special ritual by lighting Lenten candles together. These candles symbolize Jesus as the light of the world and can be lit during prayer or quiet reflection time. You can also use this as an opportunity to discuss what it means to be a light for others and how we can live out our faith during Lent.
Go On A Nature Walk
Lent is a season of sacrifice and reflection, so why not take some time to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation? Go on a nature walk with your family or friends and use this time to reflect on the blessings in your life. You can also pick up any litter you see along the way as an act of stewardship for the environment.
Volunteer At A Food Bank
Jesus taught us to love our neighbors and help those in need. If your children are old enough during Lent, try and make a special effort to volunteer at a local food bank or soup kitchen. Not only will you be helping those in need, but you’ll also be practicing selflessness and compassion – important aspects of the Lenten season.
Give Up Video Games
So many young people find enjoyment in giving up their precious energy for video games. Why not use Lent as an opportunity to give them up for a while? Not only will it help teach them self-control and discipline, but it can also give them more time to focus on their spiritual growth and relationships with others.
Attend Church Service
There’s something special about attending church services during Lent. The atmosphere is often more reflective and somber, reminding us of the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Make it a priority to attend Mass or services with your family and use this time to pray and worship God together.
Read The Easter Story As A Family
While everyone’s preparing Easter baskets and dying eggs, you and your family can take some time to sit down and read the Easter story together. It’s important for children to understand the true meaning of this holiday and reading the biblical account can help them do just that.
Study The Crown of Thorns
One of the many stations of the cross activities you and your family can take part in is studying the crown of thorns. This powerful symbol represents the suffering and sacrifice Jesus endured for us. Use this time to discuss its significance with your children, helping them better understand the true depth of Jesus’ love for them. Let them see the light of Christ in your eyes as you bear testimony of the love of God to them.
Sing A Lent Song Each Day
You can sing a Lent song together as a family, or even just listen to one before your family’s morning or evening prayers together. Music is a beautiful thing that brings a special peace into our home as we reflect on the meaning of Lent and prepare our hearts for Easter.
Build An Almsgiving Box
Can you imagine how much of a difference we could make in the world if everyone gave just a little bit more? Encourage your family to give back during Lent by building an almsgiving box. Each day, have each member of your family put aside the pennies you find on your walk home from school, or the change you get from the store. At the end of Lent, donate it all to a charity of your choice. Not only will this teach your children about generosity, but it will also help them see how even small acts can have a big impact.
Concluding the Lenten Adventure
You’ve read a lot of Lenten ideas that I’m sure you want to use with your family. The best way to keep your thoughts organized is to use a printable Lenten calendar.
This is just a printable calendar where you write down what you want to do on each day of Lent. Remember, Lent isn’t just a checklist; it’s an adventure, a set of paths where we explore the depths of our faith, our family, and ourselves.
The various Lenten activities aren’t required or mandated, but that’s what makes them so special. They’re something extra we can do to prepare our hearts and minds for Easter.
So take some time this Lenten season to truly embrace the journey, try out different activities, and see what works best for your family. Who knows, you may find a new tradition that will become a cherished part of your Easter celebrations for years to come.
Let’s make this Lent a time of growth, reflection, and love. May the knowledge and understanding we gain during this season stay with us throughout the year, reminding us of Jesus’ incredible sacrifice and love for each one of us.
Wishing you all a blessed Lenten adventure!
Micah Klug is a wife, homeschooling mother to five children, and author. She teaches time-tested solutions to help parents remember what matters most in life, including strengthening their home, faith, and family relationships. To learn how a child who grew up in an authoritarian home is now creating an environment of peace and joy in her own home visit this page. If you want to contact Micah, send her an email here or email [email protected].