Celebrating Lent with Young Kids
Lent truly is a countdown to Easter.
- and fasting
as we await the resurrection of our Lord.
A countdown chain gives kids a more concrete understanding of how many days are in Lent and a visual for how long Lent will continue.
A paper chain is also simple and quick with little mess, all bonuses when it comes to crafting with preschoolers and toddlers.
How to Make a Lent Paper Chain
You will need:
- 4 pieces of purple construction paper
- 1 piece of white or off white construction paper
- Scissors or I prefer to use my Paper Trimmer
- Glue – I prefer Elmer’s Disappearing Purple
Now, get it done!
1. Measure across the construction paper and mark at every inch.
2. Cut your strips.
- You will need to make 40 purple strips and 7 white strips.
Tip: I cut all the construction paper into equal pieces so there are extra strips if needed. This is sometimes a necessity when making anything with little ones, especially when using paper, scissors, and glue.
3. Make the Chain
Start the Chain
Take one purple paper strip and bend it to form a circle. Glue the ends together.
Loop another purple paper strip through the first and glue the ends to form a chain.
Repeat with two more purple loops, till you have four purple loops in your chain.
These four purple loops are Ash Wednesday through the first Saturday in Lent.
Then, add a white loop to the chain for Sunday.
Complete the Chain
Then add to the chain, six purple loops followed by one white loop.
Repeat this process alternating six purple chains followed by one white chain six more times.
These loops represent the remaining days until Eater.
The ending pattern will be:
- 4 purple loops + 1 white loop
- then 6 purple loops + 1 white loop (repeat this step 6 times).
Hang or display the chain. We have ours hanging over the window’s curtain rod.
Cut or tear one chain for each day leading up to lent.
What is Lent?
Lent is an opportunity to prepare for Easter.
As Catholics, we use Lent to honor Jesus’s sacrifice when he withdrew into the desert for 40 days.
We do this in three main ways.
- (talking to God)
- (giving to those in need)
- (willingly not eating or drinking something)
When is Lent?
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday.
Why is Lent so long?
Most youngsters won’t realize that even though there are 40 days of lent, there are 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
There are 46 loops in the paper chain we just created.
The quick answer is that we don’t “count” the Sundays. A more thorough explanation of how this came to be can be found on U.S. Catholic.
If your kids are patient enough and you have enough energy and sanity left this is an easy craft for them to help make. If not, they still totally reap all the benefits of cutting a chain a day if you just glue or staple it together yourself after they’re in bed
Go easy on yourself Momma, , this activity is meant to foster connection and understanding, not be another challenge to fight through!
The chain makes for a wonderful tradition. It’s also one of the first traditions kids can start doing on their own.
If gluing them altogether with very young kids (like me) it helps to divide and conquer, i.e. everyone gets to do seven chains or do a little each day until it’s done.
Pin For Next Year
And more good news, if by the time you are reading this Lent has already started you can still do this for all the days left….
or the image below is perfect for pining for next year.
Praying you have a blessed Lent,