I've said it before. I'll say it again. I enjoy Lent. I like the start of every season, really. But Lent is so deep, so thoughtful, so beautiful. Today, I did a toy rotation and set up our Lenten activities at home and prepped for my children's Sunday School class at St. Julian's.
I have recently discovered play sets from Tales of Glory. I've ordered several for use at home in different seasons, but for the beginning of Lent, I have out the Disciples and Jesus on the boat in the sea of Galilee. The playset comes with the story of the calling of the disciples, the "Fishers of Men" story. But the boat and figures can be used to tell the story of Jesus calming the sea and walking on water. I have a picture book of Jesus's life that I'll read along with the playsest the first two weeks of Lent. Then I'll replace that with a felt storyboard of Jesus's miracles. And finally, that will be replaced the week before Holy Week with a Palm Sunday set I ordered from Oriental Trading. I bought their Resurrection scene a few years ago, and while it is not very sturdily made, we have enjoyed playing with it. That set will come out during Holy Week also.
I have a great stash of books about Jesus's life and ministry and Easter. My favorite is My Easter Basket. I'll start with books more focuses on Jesus's life and add to them each week of Lent, adding that one toward the end. I also bought the book Benjamin's Box today to go with our Resurrection Eggs, which I'll bring out during Holy Week.
We'll do our blessing tree again, and I've stocked the basket with new ribbons. The blessing tree starts as a bare branch in a pot. Each evening, one of our family members thanks God for a blessing in our lives and ties a ribbon to the branch. By Easter, we have a "blooming" tree to show us how blessed we are. I've also put out the Christmas cards we received this past year on our dinner table, and we'll choose one or two at dinner each evening to pray for the family who sent the card.
In Sunday School:
We'll follow the Godly Play Lenten unit and start with the Holy Family story as I change the underlay from the green of ordinary time to the purple of Lent. Then I'll share with the kids the Mystery of Easter using a cross puzzle of six pieces (because Lent is six weeks long -- even longer than Advent! Maybe the mystery of Easter is even more important than Christmas...) One side is purple, but the other side is white -- beautiful, joyous white -- Jesus doesn't stay on that cross or in that tomb! I made our cross using die cut crosses I bought in a pack of 30 at Hobby Lobby (for $1.99, I think.) I colored one side purple with a marker, and then cut it into six pieces. I picked up a small purple tote bag at Hobby Lobby also to keep it in. I took several more of the die cut crosses from the pack and drew in pencil six pieces on each so kids who choose can create their own puzzle to take home. They'll just need to color one side purple and then cut along the lines I drew. I hope they'll share they Mystery of Easter with their families at home! I also found some neat weaving crosses at Hobby Lobby that I'll offer as a response activity during Lent. I know Caroline has really enjoyed paper weaving before, and these came 24 in a package for $8.99. I used my 40 percent off coupon, though, of course! For the rest of Lent, we'll synthesize what we've learned so far this year using the Faces of Easter cards. We did not have education hour on the Sunday we usually do the baptism lesson, so I may do two lessons one of the early weeks of Lent and teach the baptism lesson along with one of the face cards.
I discovered two blogs today that I've added to my Google Reader to help me in my Godly Play planning and practice. And they're hosting a Lenten Link Party that I've decided to join in on. Thank you for having me, Wonderful in an Easter Kind of Way and Explore and Express!