Christians around the world observe Lent, the 40-day period preceding Easter, through fasting and sacrifice. The traditional practice of giving something up for Lent is an act of sacrifice intended to strengthen one's bond with God. Adults may choose to give up food items or enjoyable hobbies during this period, and children and teens can also learn appreciation and sacrifice during the Lenten season by doing without a fun object or activity.
Video games are a popular pastime for today's youth. Since games are readily available on the Internet, in cell phones, in arcades and through software for gaming consoles, it is easy for children to pass the time with a fun game at nearly any location. Abstinence from video games for the 40-day period can allow children more time to focus on prayer, as well as broaden their horizons with other traditional fun family activities, such as reading together or playing board games.
For tweens and teens, the shopping mall is an epicenter of fun and social activity. Usually a group activity, kids often meet at the mall to window shop and visit outside of school. This Lenten sacrifice allows less time for group fun and more time for individual perspective and spirituality. Giving up the mall for Lent also can be a meaningful sacrifice that can prepare kids for the sacrifices they may choose as adults.
For adults, driving is practically a necessity, but for teens with a new driver's license, driving is a fun activity they will partake in any chance they get. Doing without driving can help a teen truly appreciate the privilege of being behind the wheel, and can also curtail time away from home and help to strengthen family bonds.
Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter or MySpace, are fun ways to pass time while connecting with friends through chat and photo sharing. Adults and children use these sites, and the fast-paced nature of comments and updates can be something to look forward to. Giving up social networking for Lent can be a challenge for any age group.
For young children, it is not practical to give up all toys or playtime, but small children may choose to give up a single favorite toy for Lent. This sacrifice is a way to introduce children to the concept of Lenten sacrifice or restriction. To ensure success, parents may choose to keep the toy out of reach until Easter Sunday.