The Lenten season heralds the coming of Easter in Christian churches. It is a season of repentance for believers, calling to mind the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert fasting and meditating before succumbing to death on the cross. Children enjoy coloring pictures using crayons or colored pencils. Using a copy machine, you can enlarge images and distribute pages that kids will enjoy coloring and talking about as they work.
Eggs are an Easter season symbol that you can discuss with your children as they color in the egg shape with its decorations. The chick is inside, waiting to be born again after first being born as an egg. The egg is like Christians who are born as God's children, but they are born again when they choose to follow Christian ideals. To draw an egg shape, simply place an egg on its side on a piece of paper and trace around it. Or draw an oval shape but make one end slightly larger. Add stripes or squiggly lines around the egg in a curve that mimic the shape of an actual egg. You can add these to the original drawing or let the children add them; see Resources for a printable image of an Easter egg shape.
Lambs, Sheep and Shepherds
Children will enjoy an activity that involves coloring and cotton balls to symbolize lambs. The lambs will follow the Good Shepherd but not the image of the stranger or thief that the children color. Discussion centers on sheep following their shepherd's voice, but not a stranger's: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." -- John 10:27. Also have the children color drawings of a rock wall and a gate as additional props.
Ultimately, Lent leads to the cross. Draw a cross using the edge of a ruler, making the crosspiece smaller and exactly perpendicular to the upright section. Talk with the children about the meaning of the cross and Jesus' crucifixion as they color. Add a 3-dimensional component by using large wooden craft sticks to make the crosses instead of simply coloring in a drawing. Color each cross, adding embellishments such as glitter or stickers after joining the sticks together into the cross shape. Use small rubber bands to join the sticks, crisscrossing them where the two pieces cross each other.
Find an empty basket. Since Lent is a season of giving, children can place colored pictures of what they want to give inside the basket. Items include a heart to represent love, coins to represent monetary gifts, candy to represent something "given up" for Lent, or a chalice of wine or a loaf of bread to represent Jesus' gift to us.
Sources for Activity Images
Use coloring books as a source from which to copy pictures. Magazines also contain pictures that you can trace and then copy, enlarging the image or reducing its size as needed. Alternatively, use picture books or freehand drawings. Copy the image on a copy machine; enlarge it if necessary; and then trace the outline. Copy the outline and alter the size as needed.