Ways to Celebrate ASH Wednesday, Lent, Palm Sunday, or Good Friday with Children

Share your ideas about celebrating Ash Wednesday, Lent, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, or Easter, with CHILDREN, in worship, at home, or in a special event. Scroll down to the bottom and use the "Post Reply" button.

If you are posting a LESSON idea that fits a specific Bible story, please post it in the correct Bible story topical thread here in the Holy Week forum.

Original Post

For older children (8-12):
If you have a Tenebrae service (Service of Darkness) children could light candles at the beginning of the service, then extinguish them one by one, after selected scripture readings. Or, oftentimes the sanctuary is stripped of decorations during, or at the end of the Tenebrae service. Children could remove items such as the paraments, candles, crosses, etc.


Julie Burton

For the past 8 years, we've been creating a Good Friday morning service for and led by children because almost all of them have the day off from school. We base the service on the workshops we've been doing during Lent (some years, for example, we memorize Psalm 23 or the Apostles Creed and use that in the service).

We have a chapel which is just the right size (seats about 75 folks). We also have a children's choir that helps provide music. And we do communion "by intinction." A big part of the Lenten preparation is usually devoted to Last Supper/Communion. For the sermon we've often done a question and answer format between the Director of Christian Education and the Pastor. Questions like: "If this is the day Jesus died, why do we call it 'Good' Friday?" The Q&A seems to work well at holding the kids' attention, but the "sermon" is less than 10 minutes.

I'd be happy to share the worksheets for several services if you're interested. We do the service at 10 a.m.; it's over by 10:40 and gives families a way to observe Good Friday without spending the whole day at church.



I've attached the actual "order of worship" for one Good Friday -- this must be adapted to your church's worship style. There's no need to copy the very "high church" style our church uses, just follow your own traditions. The Bible Background from that year shows that we had studied the Lord's Prayer. But we also "rehearsed" the "order of worship" or at least several parts of it in ever workshop.


Ash Wednesday Website Ideas
Christian Crafters - Ash Wednesday

Magic Coloured Scratch Cross Ornaments - they start off black (ashes), scratch away for design to appear. (Maybe stretching things, but a thought) Oriental Trading

Another idea:
We did this for Pentecost (cooking workshop) but idea would work for Ash Wednesday with a simple adjustment of incorporating ashes. Each child also got a recipe card (in our case The Holy Spirit). You could give each child a recipe or the story behind Ash Wednesday to take home (maybe kids could decorate cards as well).


  • Pre-make cupcakes (White or Chocolate)
  • White Icing (Ready Make or Homemade)
  • Cookie Cutter Crosses (small enough to fit on a cupcake, should be available now in cooking/kitchen stores)
  • Ready-to-use Rolled Fondant (icing premade and already rolled, comes in different colours, buy at Craft Store or Cooking Store)
  • Chocolate (either sprinkles or a chuck of chocolate or chocolate bars)
  • Grater (if grating chocolate - older kids)

Lesson Plan
Tell them the meaning behind Ash Wednesday (see above links for meaning of Ash Wednesday)

Have each child decorate a cupcake by icing it, cutting out a cross from the fondant and placing it on top of their cupcake.

Finishing touch would be to sprinkle on ashes (represented by chocolate).

Note: you could skip the fondant cross and have them just lay the cookie cutter on top or a cross cut out of a piece of paper and sprinkle the shape of a cross onto their cupcake.

Those are great projects. The Lenten readings tend to be about searching and obedience to God. We will be doing a Rotation with theLabyrinth...the idea that we must be willing to go to God...you could make it a craft idea by doing one large "maze" on the floor or by haveing a contest to finish small ones on paper. You can probably find some on the internet too if you want to make it computer crafts

Those Impossible Eggs


A post moved here to consolidate the topic...

Posted March 22, 2003

I think I may have gotten this idea from Children's Ministry Magazine. I have used these in 3 different churches, giving them out on Ash Wednesday. I have had a special Children's event during the Ash Wednesday service where the children "stuff" the eggs with the scriptures after we have talked about them. As the adults leave the service, the children give out the eggs with the "explanation sheet." I've gotten wonderful and powerful testimonies from this activity, including my own!

Explanation sheet (you can two of these on a sheet)

Those Impossible Eggs

The egg has always been important especially as a symbol of new life. That is why it has particular meaning and significance during the Lenten and Easter season. Some one has called it the "impossible egg." Outwardly it seems almost impossible that a living creature could emerge from such an enclosure without access to the outside world for sustenance. But a living creature does break that shell and steps out into a vast new universe. Today at the beginning of Lent each of us has our own personal impossible egg.
Surely everyone has a secret wish or deep sincere desire for yourself or another which seems almost impossible to attain. With prayer and dedication, your egg can be a daily reminder that God can do the impossible. Let Him speak to you through your egg from now until Easter.

Prayer: Our Father, we know every good and perfect gift comes from You. Help us to ask in faith believing You will answer as we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Open your egg. After reading your verse, turn over the paper, and write on the back your sincere desire, your seemingly impossible dream. Fold the paper, put it back into the egg, and join the shells together again. Take the egg home and put it on your table or some other prominent place where you will see it every day. Do not open it again until Easter. Allow it to incubate. Repeat your verse daily. Let prayer nurture your desire until it becomes the substance of things hoped for and evidence in tangible form.

Prayer: Father, we go in faith. As Jesus emerged from the tomb, may our hidden desires find new life. As living creatures break forth from confining shells may we see our requests become reality. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Scriptures ( Put one in each egg:

Luke 11:9 So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matt. 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Mark 9:23 Everything is possible for him who believes.

Matt. 8:13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour.

John 20:31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Gal. 3:22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised being through faith is Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

Luke 1:37 For nothing is impossible with God.

Heb. 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Eph. 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

Heb. 13:5 Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.

Editor's Note:
CreativeCarol updated this idea and re-posted it in the Holy Week "General" forum, "MISC ART PROJECTS" thread.

Palm Sunday

My books "Bible Time With Kids" (Abingdon, 1997) and "Worship Time With Kids" (Abingdon, 1998) have several creative ideas for Palm Sunday. They can be ordered from the publisher, from Amazon.com, Borders, Barnes and Noble or from Christian bookstores.

Cindy Dingwall

Editor's Note:
Cindy is the author of these books.

Palm Sunday

We have had the kids sing songs after we process. One song they really liked was "Hosanna! Hosanna!" by the Donut Man (can't remember publisher). There is a video of Donut Man (a song collection) that the kids learned the song and motions during practices (so you don't need any piano/guitar). We had the congregation sing it with us after the kids sang it once. The motions and palms add alot to getting the kids into the song.

This won't help this year because Lent has started, but maybe someone will see this for next year.

Week 1 - We buried the "Hallelujah" (which we don't sing during Lent) by placing the word in an extremely large box and wrapping it with purple wrapping paper. We cut a slot in the top. The children all touched the box as we said a prayer about our Lenten journey.

Week 2 - "L -- Lies" We asked children to tell us time that they had told lies. We wrote these on slips of paper for the children. Then had them slip their papers in the box. Everyone touched the box as we said a prayer asking God to forgive us for lying. We put a giant "L" on the outside of the box.

Week 3 - "E -- Envy" Same process as week 2

Week 4 - "N -- Nothing" (Sins of omission) Same process as week 2

Week 5 - "T -- Teasing" Same process as week 2

Week 6 - Holy Week. Placed nails inside the box and sealed a cross on the top slot.

That Saturday, I carefully opened the wrapping paper. I took out the nails and papers with sins on it and the "Hallelujah" that had been written on it. I filled the box with gold and white helium filled balloons attached to the word "Hallelujah" decorated in glitter on posterboard. Make sure you get balloons that they put a coating in to ensure that they'll be aloft the next morning -- don't do it yourself. You will have to experiment to make sure the balloons are powerful enough to lift the posterboard Hallelujah -- I had to cut my first example back so that it could be lifted up. Also, if you have a vaulted sanctuary, make sure you have one very long string attached so you can pull the balloons back after service.

Easter morning - I called the children forward and reviewed what we'd done the last six weeks. I said that now that it was Easter morning it was time to take our Hallelujah out of the box. The children helped open it up and voila -- the balloons rose to the ceiling with the word Hallelujah. And the sins were gone!

Even the adults are still talking about it.


An Ash Wednesday discussion about soap (because the Lectionary verse was Psalm 51:10

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



Neil MacQueen had asked:

I know they used to use ASH to make soap.

Anybody made soap with kids before?



Chris18 had replied:

How about soap painting?  Using a soap medium (or I've read that modge podge works too), and acrylic paints you can paint one side of a bar of soap- then you just use it from the other side.  We did a brief study on styles of crosses and they painted a cross onto their soap.



Anne Camp had replied:

Not making soap, but painting with soap bubble art is fun. I found instructions at e-How.

The results can be very surprising.




If you have ideas about soap making or other ways to celebrate Ash Wednesday, Lent, Palm Sunday or Good Friday in a non-workshop way... Use POST REPLY to add your thoughts.




Rotation.org Moderator updated this post by adding material from the Help forum to consolidate this topic.

We have made simple goats milk soap before. We actually packaged it nicely and sold to the congregation to make $$ for missions.  Here is the recipe and directions (we made enough for about 120 kids, so adjust for a smaller group)


Simple Lavender Goat's Milk Soap



  • 30 cups soap flakes 
  • 10 scoops goat's milk powder 
  • 2-3 cups water  
  • Lavender (or other scent) essential oil - 30-40 drops
  • Vegetable oil
  • Foam plates 
  • Wax paper 6-inch sheets, 2 per child 
  • Large mixing bowls
  • Plastic wrap
  • Measuring cups
  • Paper towels
  • metal cooling racks



rubber soap stamps -- you can get these at craft stores such as Michael's or Hobby Lobby, they add a nice decorative touch!


For packaging:

  • Netting or tulle (get one of those ~8 inch rolls and cut sections that will wrap around the soap)
  • decorative ribbon
  • tags (Lavender Goats Milk Soap - we always add that it is handmade by our kids and indicate the mission to which the proceeds go)
  • hole punch


Advanced Preparations:

Tear wax paper sheets into 6 inch sections, 2 per child.

Pour a small amount of vegetable oil onto a foam plate for children to oil their hands.

Cover a large table with several layers of paper towels.



  1. Measure out soap flakes. Add goat's milk powder. Mix well.
  2. Add essential oil -- you want the lavender fragrance to be more fragrant than the goat's milk powder - and mix.
  3. Add water and mix well. (Start with 1 cup and add more if needed. Soap should be smooth and moldable and hold its shape -- moist but not sopping wet). A small amount of vegetable oil on hands will help keep soap from sticking as you work with it. (soap mixture can be prepared ahead of time and covered with plastic wrap, if you don't want the kids to mix up the soap. For our purposes when we did this with 120 kids, we made it up ahead of time and rolled the soap into 3 inch balls, put in a bowl and covered with plastic wrap. It's more fun for the kids if you have time to let them mix.)
  4. Give each child a section of wax paper and ~3-inch ball of soap. 
  5. Demonstrate how to press the soap into a circle/oval/square (about ½ inch thick) onto the wax paper.
  6. Smooth the edges of the soap with your fingers. If using the rubber stamp, press gently but firmly into the top of the soap, then remove. 
  7. If taking the soap home - Fold the wax paper loosely over the soap to go home and staple to protect it.  
  8. If leaving soap at church, set on the drying racks on top of paper towels. Soap must "cure" (allow to dry and harden) for about 3-4 days before use.
  9. Once cured, package the soap. We used tulle and ribbon with little card stock tags explaining the mission. If decorated, place the soap upside down on the tulle section. Bring the ends up around the soap and tie with decorative ribbon. Thread the tag through the ribbon. Give away or sell as gifts. Our older members LOVED this! They ask us to make these each year!

Thought I had some pictures, but I can't find them. Enjoy!



Ash Wednesday, Season of Lent, Penitent, Confession

Writing confessions with ashes (ashes mixed in glue or paint).

Approaching the Table.

Writing on "sackcloth"   Wearing or hanging of sackcloth.

Hanging, tieing burlap strips to a cross.


(I would encourage people to think of words to write. Provide them with a list of possible words. Add your name. Etc.) 


Write confessions on sackcloth (as in "sackcloth and ashes").  Paint pens, marker or ashes mixed into glue or paint and brushed on.


burlap cloth

Hanging or nailing burlap strips to a wooden cross on Ash Wednesday.


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