Holy Thursday is upon us, and many kids have school all day, parents working, and the transition to the evening service may feel abrupt. Many children have half-day of school for Good Friday, which makes another abrupt transition. Yet, here are some very simple crafts you can do with children to bring the Triduum liturgical events to deeper meaning for kids.
Make soap shapes
Buy glycerin soap; Pears and Bosc brands are widely available. Line a cookie sheet with waxed or parchment paper, and place cookie molds on them. I recommend a cross shape, fish shape, etc. Then pour the melted glycerin soap into the shapes. Within minutes it hardens. You can keep these soaps as reminders to kids that Jesus showed us how to serve others, even in the most humble ways, and that we need to keep ourselves cleansed of sins.
Nail your sins to the cross
You can use a wooden cross, or I found Styrofoam crosses at a local craft store for a dollar. Paint the cross red for the passion. Then cut squares of purple paper, and write your sins on the paper. Pin these to the cross with thumbtacks. This is a visual reminder that Jesus was nailed to the cross to sacrifice for our sins.
Caterpillars and Butterflies
Have kids make caterpillars with you. I find using pom-pom balls with a glue gun works best. Glue on googly eyes, and use cut pieces of pipe cleaner for antenna. Then wrap in tissue paper, for a cocoon. On Easter morning be sure to replace those caterpillars with beautiful cocoons. But keep the cocoons at the ready in case you experience, what I have, a kid crying because they loved that caterpillar.
Use the base of a houseplant pot, or an aluminum pan, to create a pan garden. All you need is a bag of top soil, some seeds for low root, ground-covering plants, a cup and a rock to fit in front of that.
Cover the pan with soil, plant seeds for grass, or other ground-cover plants, and water. Place a cup, half-buried in the garden, and place a rock in front of the opening. You can also use silk flowers for this. I usually snip the buds from the wire stems, so these can be placed all over the pan. You can substitute an artificial base too.
On Easter morning roll the stone away. And, throughout the 50 days of Easter, watch the garden grow. You can also transplant this into an outside garden as well.
Blessed Triduum to you, and may your children remember these liturgical celebrations with memorable activities at home.