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This topic is collecting "more" great ideas for teaching children about Lent and the Lenten stories. Post yours!

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Ash Wednesday "Soap" Ideas

"Create in me a clean heart"

Lectionary passage: Psalm 51:10

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me".

Oddly enough, old-fashioned handmade soap is made from ashes. I wouldn't make it that way for kids because the ash-soap making produces lye which can be caustic, but making your own soap with ashes was the way many of our ancestors did it. Interesting how ashes can be associated with cleaning/cleansing, penitence and mourning.

soapHeartIDEA 1: Kids create "clean heart soap" to take home

1. Shred bars of ivory soap in a food processor (don't worry, it cleans up nice and clean!)
2. Reform shredded soap into "soap balls" using a little bit of water.
3. Roll out soap between two sheets of wax paper using a rolling pin.
4. Press into shapes/cookie cutters. Heart shapes, gingerbread (me) shapes. etc.
5. Press-draw letters/words from the verse into the soap surface about 1/4" using tip of a plastic knife.

Soap can be colored in advance or after it is rolled out using soap gel colors (search online, such as Amazon).

Experiment "rolling ropes" of different colored soap together then rolling flat and cutting into shapes.soap sprinkles

Add "soap sprinkles" to the soap as you talk about the Fruit of the "right Spirit within you."

See photos of the process at https://kidfriendlythingstodo....riendly-thing-to-do/

IDEA 2: Make Soap Paint

To Make Soap Paint you need,

3 parts Pure Soap Flakes combined with 1 – 2 parts Water (you want your Soap Paint to begin as a sloppy consistency as the soap will soak up the water), then just mix in a few squirts of Washable Kids Paint or Soap Gels made for coloring soap.

IDEA 3: "Psaint" the Psalm with "Psoap"


  • Clear Liquid Soap
  • Cornstarch
  • Food Dye


  1. Mix liquid soap and Cornstarch (2:1)
  2. Portion out into individual cups
  3. Add Food Dye and stir.
  4. Paint!
  5. Speed dry with a blow dryer.

I wonder what soap-paint would look like painted onto a "sponge" to go home?


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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I'm posting this "Rocks of Lent" idea which is based on the "The Rocks of Holy Week" lesson posted a while back.

In that Holy Week lesson/children's sermon, the story/activity was about the rocks found in all the major stories of Holy Week.

  1. Palm Sunday stones will sing
  2. Jesus teaches in the Temple built on the rock
  3. Gethsemane's rocky garden
  4. The rock of Calvary
  5. The Rocky Tomb
  6. The Stone that got out of the way
  7. Ascension from the rocky top

For LENT, I'd simply adapt the Rocks of Holy Week Lesson to teach Lent-Confessional lesson about the Rocks in our lives. 

  1. the HEAVY things people carry in their hearts,
  2. the WEIGHT of sin (how long can you hold that rock in your outstretched hand?)
  3. the OBSTACLES to loving/forgiving,
  4. the ROCKS that threaten to crush our spirit. What's your breaking point?
  5. the STONES WE THROW at others when we ourselves live in glass houses
  6. the DUMB AS A ROCK things we do and say
  7. the ROCK covering the Tomb (our faith) that needs to be rolled away.

    What other ROCK metaphors can you think of??

    How do we remove them? Get help? 
    Jesus is a Rock Taker, a Rock Breaker. Come to me...and I will give you rest from your rocks.
    "Light as a feather" demonstration (lifting something too heavy by getting lots of help).


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Lent Art Project for class or church event.

I posted this photo of our Psalm 8 "When I look to the heavens" decoupaged jar, and it dawns on me that it could easily be redesigned as a "Lenten Journey Jar" with the symbol of a "path" on it, along with other Lenten symbols.

Inside the jar could be slips of paper with "things to do/pray today" or use it to collect some of those "40" ideas suggested here.

The shape of the plastic canister seen below also reminds me of a soda can. How interesting would it be to decoupage cans of drinking water for a Lenten Journey refreshment.  Recall the angel provided Elijah jar of water and bread in the wilderness when he was running from Ahab heading for Horeb (1 Kings 19:5-18).

Add a message to the can and you also have something you can SHARE with church and family members (I like that "sharing aspect").

Decoupaging here simply means "gluing" pieces of tissue paper to a surface, such as a plastic jar. Mod-Podge brand glue is great for this and dries to the touch in 20 minutes and to a hard sheen in hours.

For our "jar" we purchased a case of see-through acrylic "cans" from Oriental Trading Co. You can find other plastic jars online.

The "journey" could be represented by a winding path made of different strips or colors of tissue. Notice that in our Psalm 8 jar above we added to pieces of tissue that look like people (and they are).


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Here is a commercially available lesson with an Ash Wednesday Labyrinth Meditation  from Illustrated Ministry. The description says it can be used for groups as well as for individuals.


You can also check out our (free) labyrinth prayer ideas and lessons here.


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Last edited by Luanne Payne

This article is a great suggestion for at home family worship and learning.

Lent in a Bag: “small bags – cloth, paper, or ziplock bags – with symbols of the season to assist individuals and families in practicing Lent at home. In addition to the items in the bag, we include instructions and reflections (on purple paper of course) to go with each item.”


The suggestions given could be expanded into a spiritual practices workshop lesson or into an inter-generational event.


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Family at-home page for the Season of Lent

I have created a page for parents and families that has at-home activities and discussion starters, to help families experience the Lenten season and practices together.

You may share these with your congregation or adapt as necessary for your community. Please include as the source of this material.


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Last edited by CreativeCarol

Here's the brand new book of "at home" Lenten practices and devotions recommended by Donna Foster in our January 2022 Coffee Chat and lauded by others.

Faithful Families for Lent, Easter, and Resurrection: Simple Ways to Create Meaning for the Season

by Traci Smith, Chalice Press

Amazon Link:

Screenshots of chapter content:



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Lent in a Bag

lent-bagThis resource from Stout UMC can be used as a series of children's sermon, during "gathering time" with kids, or as a Sunday School lesson.

The "Lent in a Bag" is a special bag you pull visual props out of each week that represent various ideas and Bible stories traditionally taught during Lent. You talk about each item's connection to that day's story/point. See the script for each item from Stout Memorial UMC in Parkersburg WV at


See my list of "alternative" props below along with items I would give each child every week.

1. I would suggest letting the children put their hand in the bag and feel the items (without saying out loud what it is) to create a sense of anticipation and some tactile connection to the props.

2. I would have given each child their own "Lenten Bag" so that I could GIVE each child a copy of the item I pulled from my bag to put in their own. I'd make sure each child would receive their "Lent Bag" when they come for the first time so that none feel left out. Logistically this might be hard since the same kids aren't there every week and won't remember to bring their bags, but I could give them the props to hand-off to a parent sitting in the pew so that it went home. Those who hadn't been there to receive their bag the first time could pick up a Lent Bag as they left the presentation.


Lent in a Bag equips you with symbols of the season of Lent to help you have prayer and/or conversation at home. Each week we will give you a devotion that focuses on one of the symbols in the bag. Questions are intended to start the conversation. Use whatever version of the bible passages you like. Use these props and devotions during your weekly Lenten meditation as you journey with Jesus to the cross.

A List of the items you will use during your reflection:

Week 1 - Sand
Week 2 - Rock
Week 3 - Shell
Week 4 - Human Figure
Week 5 - Seeds / Butterfly  (This part of their script is missing on their site)
Week 6 - Candle
Holy Week & Easter - Cross

Possible alternative props suggested by Neil:

Week 1 - Sand --After they discover the sand in the bag and you've poured it out as you talk about it (see the script), give each of them a "sand bracelet" or pendant (super cheap at Oriental Trading) and a small bag of sand exactly like the sand you had in your bag. Show them (and their parents) how to pour the sand into the bracelet using a paper funnel when they get home).

Week 2 - Rock  --After letting them discover the rock in the bag and talking about it, give each of them a rock onto which you've glued or painted "googly eyes" to remind them that they are like the rock you described in your comments and Jesus can heal you too!

Week 3 - Shell -- Instead, after feeling the water bottle in the bag and talking about "water for baptism and for the journey," GIVE each child a church-logo'd water bottle they can take home.

Week 4 - Human Figure  -- After having them touch the figure and explaining its connection to the point (see their website), GIVE each child a "WWJD" wristband (because it connects with the point made in the script).

Week 5 - Seeds / Butterfly   --since this part was missing on their website at the time of this posting, why not come up with your own bag of sunflower seeds, the kind that grow early, fast, and tall !  ...and distribute these.

Week 6 - Candle --  Jesus light of the world. Instead of a candle, put a flashlight in your bag. Then you can give each child a mini-flashlight (they're super-cheap at Oriental Trading).

Holy Week & Easter - Cross      I'd use this week to invite the kids to "bring their Lenten Bag" and do a review of all the things they received and what they meant. I'd also make sure every child received the items we passed out each week. I might have jellybeans to share into their bags and say a few words about why we eat jellybeans for Easter.


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I developed this lesson to explain Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, and Lent (and Lenten practices) for a program for a variety of ages of children (K-6th) on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday. It is adapted from a game lesson on the Temptation of Jesus by Neil MacQueen.

A SUPERMAN AND SUPER-JESUS GAME LESSON: Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness + our Lenten journey


  • King cake
  • Bibles – 2 per student
  • Superman costume garbage bagSuperman costume: a white plastic bag with a large Superman emblem on the chest, and holes cut for arms and head. The cape is a red towel. Red slippers for the “boots.” (Like many relay games of this type, the humor is in seeing the kids try to get the costume on and off.)

  • Doll

  • burning building block towerBlock tower (or shelf) – with “flames” and “Help!” speech bubble sign
  • Laundry basket to catch baby – labeled “MOM”
  • Masking tape to mark game spots on the floor
  • Crackers
  • Stepladder
  • Bible costume (robe, headdress, belt)
  • Key verses on cards
    • “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
    • “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Matthew 4:7
    • “For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Matthew 4:10
  • Papers with true and false riches verses on them (about 50 half pages, crumpled)
  • Table labeled “True Treasure”
  • Copies of prayer calendar (choose one or more from here or search for the current year calendar) and instructions for each child to take home (instructions are attached as a doc file as well as a pdf in case you want to personalize them for your community)

    NOTE: you can do the games as relay races if you have enough students. You will need two of each costume, two baby dolls, etc.

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 4:1-11

Introduction: (while enjoying King Cake and conversation about parades)

  • Talk about “what is Mardi Gras?” and “what is Lent?”
  • Explain idea of Fat Tuesday – eating all the sweets in the house before the start of Lent.
  • Lent is a period of 40 days before Easter (not counting Sundays, which are Feast Days, not Fast Days). A time for reflection.
  • Some of our friends might give something up for Lent.
  • Sometimes people take on something (a spiritual practice) for Lent.
  • This evening we will explore one of the Bible stories that helps explain the 40 days and also helps us think about spiritual practices.
  • But first, we are going to talk about superheroes and play a funny game.
    (NOTE: I didn’t think we would have enough kids to play any of these games as relay races, so they were fun one at a time races with everyone cheering each other. We did time everyone to see who was the fastest. But it might be more fun to enjoy silliness and not worry about competition.)

The Superman Race

Overview: This is a "warmup" relay game to kick off the lesson. One at a time, each participant puts on a superman costume in the "phone booth" (a masking tape box on the floor), “flies” to rescue a baby doll from a flaming building, and flies the doll to a spot where they toss the doll into a basket (mother’s arms) from about 8 feet. If it stayed in the basket, Superman could fly and give his/her costume to the next person in line (while someone puts the baby back in the burning building).

Say: Ok, superheroes: how quickly do you think you can put on your Superman/woman costume and rescue the baby from a burning building? (Time them to see how long it takes.)

(If there is interest and time, run the race a again to see if they can beat their first time. Encourage them to help one another.)

Superman ready to fly from phone boothrescuing babyflying with babySuperwoman flying towards Oops missed mom

Bible study:

  • What sorts of superpowers does Superman have?
  • What makes someone a superhero?
  • Is Jesus a superhero? Does Jesus have superpowers?
  • Read Matthew 4:1-11.
  • What sorts of things did the devil ask Jesus to do?
  • What do you think – could Jesus have done all the things that the devil suggested if he wanted to? [Nothing is impossible for God.]
  • Could Jesus have done all the things that Superman did if he wanted to?
  • What “superpowers” did Jesus use in the passage we just read? [Talk about how Jesus quoted Scripture; he had it stored in his heart.]
  • Be sure to highlight the key verses (the ones Jesus quoted). They will be important in the next game. Look up the sources for those verses: (If possible, keep one Bible per student open to Matthew and open another to Deuteronomy so they can compare.)
    • “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 > Deuteronomy 8:3
    • “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Matthew 4:7 > Deuteronomy 6:16
    • “For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Matthew 4:10 > Deuteronomy 6:13

The Super-Jesus Race

Say: We played a Superman game. Now it is time for a Super-Jesus game.

Overview: One at a time, each student puts on the “Jesus” robe, goes to each of the three stations, and has to quote a key verse from the story from memory (or by reading a sign). We went over the verses in the story as we read and discussed it.

  1. eating a crackerRun to the table and eat a cracker; after finishing it, recite “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by….” Of course they can only move on when they say it right, which the crackers make challenging.

  2. Run to and climb the Pinnacle of the Temple (a stepladder, with an adult spotter) and recite “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”

  3. reading the treasuresRun to the Riches and Glory vs True Treasure area. – When the individual players get to this area, they find about 50 pieces of crumpled paper on the ground (the riches). They had to pick and toss 5 onto a table (the high mountain, which is about 5 feet away, so it isn’t easy to get the paper to stay on it) and then go open the riches (crumpled paper) to see if they had found “true riches.” If they didn’t, they had to go back and throw 5 more up on the table. The “true riches” paper had the words “You shall worship the Lord your God…” written on it. There are some “false riches” papers, too. (This is important to the gameplay because if only “true riches” had printing on their paper, then the kids would LOOK FOR the crumpled pieces that had printing rather than reading the verse.)

  4. Return to the Start and give the costume to the next student.


  • So I think we can agree that Jesus has superpowers.
  • What about you? Do you have superpowers?
  • Jesus chose things like the Word of God, Obedience, Love, Worship, and Service as his superpowers, and we can pray that the Holy Spirit will give these same powers to us.
  • Do you remember how long I said Lent is? How many days did Jesus spend in the wilderness? What did he do there?
  • Today we talked about how Jesus spent time praying in the wilderness. He also quoted Bible passages that he had stored in his heart.
  • Let’s review the verses that Jesus used to respond to the devil. How did they help Jesus?
  • I talked earlier about how Lent is a time to practice spiritual disciplines. What sorts of things do you think that would be? Maybe our superpowers?
  • Lent is a 40-day period starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Saturday, during which Christians prepare their hearts for Easter, and draw near to God through spiritual practices such as prayer, reading the Bible, fasting, and giving.
  • I am going to encourage you during the 40 days of Lent to spend time in prayer or Bible study. Here is a tool to help you. (Give them the Lent Calendars and explain how to use them.)

Conclude with prayer: Thank you Jesus for walking with us every day, especially during the upcoming Lent season as we prepare our hearts for Easter. Amen

Sources and Resources:

Praying in Color, Lenten calendars

Superhero Jesus:

games lesson sketch

games workshop

Your Ultimate Guide To Celebrating Lent…No Matter What Christian Tradition You’re From”

Some Bible background from our Writing Team


Last edited by Amy Crane

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