Lent and Easter Activity Ideas for Families
During these 40 days of Lent, your family can engage in prayer, activities, and projects to help strengthen your spiritual growth, growing closer to each other and Jesus.
Although many Lenten activities often revolve around prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, these activities may be hard concepts for children to grasp, especially younger children. Many may consider them as punishments rather than a purpose to draw closer to God.
That’s why we’ve come up with a list of 20 of our favorite family activities, based on Lenten principles and concepts, to help find age-appropriate activities for your entire family! You can pick the ones best suited for you and your family.
If your family would like to do daily Lenten activities together, be sure to check out the Free Printable Lent Activity Calendar at the bottom of this blog.
1. Make a cross with things you find in nature.
This simple and inexpensive craft is a great way to work together as a family to create something special. Using things only found in nature, such as sticks or rocks, create a cross in the ground or glue to a piece of cardstock or cardboard. Talk to your little ones about why the cross is often associated with Lent and Easter.
2. Share a meal with someone.
Food always helps to bring friends and family together. Consider making or taking a meal to a family member, neighbor, or friend. Don’t worry about making it fancy—pasta and breadsticks with boxed brownies for dessert are perfect. The activity is about taking the time to help feed another individual.
3. Learn an Easter song.
If your family loves music, you can learn or sign various Easter songs or hymns. Learning a new song can be a fun experience during the entire Lent Season. Doing this activity at the beginning of Lent will give your family plenty of time to learn songs before Easter.
4. Give away something to someone.
Together as a family, you can decide if there is anything you can donate or give to another person, group, or family. You can gather up old stuffed animals that are no longer used and donate them to a local charity. Or donate old clothes or go shopping for groceries for a local food bank. It can even be something as simple as giving something to a friend or relative, it doesn’t have to be big or expensive; it’s just about learning to give something that was yours to someone else who can use it.
5. Surprise someone with a special note.
Mail or handwritten notes from children of all ages are cherished, especially to older family members or church members. Consider surprising someone with a piece of mail carrying a special note letting them know that you’re thinking of them. Each family member can choose a different person to write a note to, or you can all write a note to the same person and mail it together as a bundle.
You even can use our Free Printable Greeting Postcards to help you get started.
6. Pray for someone.
If your little ones are like ours, nightly prayers and meal prayers tend to be routine and repetitive, which is awesome for little believers! However, leading up to Easter, try to challenge yourself and your family to pray for someone you may not normally pray for. If you are struggling to think of someone as a family, try using your church photo directory as a place to start!
7. Go on a walk or bike ride and talk about Jesus’ travels.
Together as a family, go to your favorite spot to go on a walk or bike ride together. It doesn’t have to be a pretty day, in fact, if the day may be dreary, it’s a great opportunity to talk to your little disciples about how Jesus had to travel. Talk about the discipleship and hardship that Jesus and his follower had to overcome as they walked for miles and miles, not always in nice conditions, to be sure that everyone knew about the Gospel.
8. Help with yardwork or pick up litter.
With spring just around the corner, another great service activity you can do as a family is to do yardwork for a grandparent, elderly neighbor, member of your church, or family friend who may need some extra help. Another way to find an opportunity to help is to walk through your neighborhood or local park and collect trash to help clean up your community.
9. Have a palm parade around your home.
This is a great family activity to do closer to Palm Sunday. Find artificial or real palm fronds or trace and cut out your children’s hands-on green paper and glue them to popsicle sticks to create your own “palms”. Then march around your home having your own parade.
10. Draw or purchase an Easter Lily for a friend.
The Easter Lily has many symbolic references when it comes to Easter, including hope and resurrection. If your church or a local church is having an Easter Lily fundraiser, consider purchasing one as a family for a friend, relative, or neighbor. Include a little note about your family’s hope in the risen Lord. If Easter lilies are not available, find a free coloring page or draw an Easter Lily, color it, and mail it to someone in your circle.
11. Make a cotton ball lamb.
Using simple cotton balls and some paper, glue cotton balls to a piece of paper and draw a face and legs to make a lamb. Talk about as a family how Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29) and what that means to your family.
12. Have a foot-washing ceremony.
This idea comes from the foot-washing ceremony found in John 13:1-17. Here, Jesus knelt to wash the feet of his disciples, a job only servants did. Practicing washing one another’s feet is a great opportunity to talk about humbling ourselves to serve others. First, wash the feet of your children and then turn around and have your children wash your feet! If you have several family members, consider drawing names. It is a great family activity that is both enduring and silly.
13. Play a game in the dark.
This can be any game that is played in the dark, either using a flashlight, headlamps, nightlights, or just natural night-vision and feel! One of our favorites in the dark games is Flashlight Tag or playing Go-Fish using just flashlights. After completing the game, it’s an opportunity to talk about the darkness that covered the earth after Christ’s death (Mark 15:33).
14. Go on a scavenger hunt.
Give each child an Easter basket, bag, or bucket and tell them to go around and collect items that remind them of Lent and Easter. Items could be a cross, a palm, a Bible, a coin – anything that they can think of. If you have creative children, you may want to set some ground rules such as “no eggs from the fridge” or “nothing that is nailed down”. 😊
Set a time limit and at the end of the time, sit down together and go through each item asking each child to explain why they put it in their basket. This activity is great for the outdoors but can also be done inside if weather conditions are too cold or rainy.
15. Tell someone why you love Jesus.
The first step is to talk to your little learners about why you love Jesus. Then ask them why they love Jesus. Then ask them if they’d like to share that! For younger children, you can FaceTime a grandparent, uncle, aunt, family friend, or parent. Depending on your children’s ages, you may want to encourage them to share this with a friend at school, neighbor, or non-relative.
16. Give up something for a day.
Giving something up for Lent is a common practice many do. But it’s important to teach children why we do this. Lent is a sign of sacrifice and self-discipline for believers. This is one way for us to practice Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Allow each child to pick what they would like to give up for a day. It could be no sweets, not watching TV, or maybe not playing with their favorite toy. Help your child navigate to something that is achievable. It’s important the children associate this important Lent activity with success to help boost their confidence in their spiritual walk.
17. Make an Easter card.
Find a printable Easter card template to color or you can choose to make your own! One of our favorite religious Easter card crafts is to tear up pieces of bright color tissue paper or construction paper and glue that to the front of a piece of folded cardstock. Then cut out a black or dark-colored cross and glue it to the front. It’s easy, fun, and colorful.
Don’t know what to write on the inside? Consider just including a Scripture verse and then have each child sign the bottom. Here are some Bible verses to consider:
- Blessed are those who have not seen yet have believed. John 20:29
- For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25, ESV
- He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Matthew 28:6
- [Jesus] died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 1 Thessalonians 5:10, NIV
18. Perform a random act of kindness for someone.
Random acts of kindness are a great way to teach children that they can spread a little joy in the world by assisting others. Most children love surprising others and once they get started, many will want to do more than just one act! This can include holding the door open for someone, helping someone with a chore, collecting spare change in your home and donating it, giving someone a compliment, or even making someone laugh. When talking about acts of kindness, ask ways that Jesus and his disciples showed kindness to others.
19. Play “Stack the Peeps” or other games with Peeps.
This activity is just a fun family or church activity to do together. Purchase some Peeps (the Peep Bunnies work the best) from your local dollar store and have a contest on who can stack the most Peeps in a minute. Kids will have a blast learning the best way to stack their Peeps. Use a piece of paper to record scores.
You can also play other games like trying to eat a Peep with your hands behind your back or tossing peeps into buckets, bowls, or even plastic egg plates.
20. Read about Jesus’ resurrection.
Curl up together as a family or go outside for a picnic and bring along your Bible or favorite Children’s Bible to read about Jesus’ resurrection. This story can be found in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20.
Don’t feel like you must read it all at once! You can read just a few verses every night, the whole chapters every Saturday night a few times throughout Lent, or pick just a few verses to read during Holy Week.
Free Printable: Lent Activity Calendar for Families
Click on the link below the download the Free Lent and Easter Activity Calendar. This illustrated calendar features 40 different activity ideas, one for each day of Lent, that you can do together as a family or with friends.
These Lent activities include different ways to prepare for Easter, including different craft ideas, various service ideas, reading together, learning an Easter song, and giving up sweets for a day.
These great ideas to engage in Lenten activities together is perfect for young children and teens alike, it can become a great family tradition to repeat year after year. Even if your family doesn’t have any traditional Lent activities, it is still another great opportunity to talk about Jesus, His sacrifice, and His love for us.
May God’s Word guide you as you embark on your Lent adventure this year.
Kristen Greene is the Creative Director of Communication Resources, Inc. Being the daughter of a Publisher and active Church Leader, she grew up in the Church Publishing Industry. She has also been involved in multiple church roles and non-profit events – which makes solving real church and volunteer problems near and dear to her heart. Kristen enjoys painting with her “herd” of animals and camping with her husband.