This year, as Liam is about 3 and a half years old, I want him to have a greater understanding of the Jesus' sacrifice and the Resurrection. Before I had kids, one of my favorite things Lenten activities was to attend the Stations of the Cross. Now, it always seems to fall near bedtime- during which my kids turn into one of two things- crabbypants or hyper-energized bunny. Neither of which make for a very fruitful prayer time in a silent church. So last year I bought this book below to read together at home. In one hilarious attempt to teach Liam about the stations of the cross at home, we read together Fr. Jude Winkler's The Way of the Cross for Children. The pictures were about the only thing that held his attention, so I made the mistake of asking him what he thought was going on in the picture of the soldiers nailing Jesus to the cross. He said they were changing Jesus' diaper! I didn't ask him about any more pictures.
On a side note, Fr. Jude Winkler gave me the best penance I have ever gotten from a priest after a Confession. He told me I had to do one nice thing for myself every day! I love that priest!
So, this year, we again took out The Way of the Cross for Children with higher hopes for Liam's understanding. Thankfully, Liam really enjoyed listening and following along as Eric and I went through all the Stations of the Cross. He even asked to do it again the next day :) We will definitely be doing this on Good Friday together.
Another book by Fr. Jude Winkler that we are reading this Holy Week is The Easter Story. In order to keep Liam's attention, I have to skim through the long, advanced explanations on each page to give Liam a quick summary of what is happening. My hope is that every year I will have to do a little less summarizing and Liam will learn a little more. On Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday, we will reread this one.
I also purchased a Resurrection kit from Oriental Trading (they don't have it available anymore). Liam is working on coloring it right now. It includes a brief summary of the events on Easter Morning, and four characters/scenes that go along with it. I plan to plant a little bunny near the entrance of the tomb- keep reading to find out why.
On Wednesday, the students at Holy Cross Academy, will be presenting a play of the Three Trees at our church. I think Liam will really enjoy that.
Lastly, just to make sure the Easter Bunny doesn't monopolize Easter, I am telling Liam that Easter Bunny witnessed Jesus' Resurrection and now goes around to all the boys and girls' homes to spread the Good News about Jesus and leave treats :)
I know this is a pretty basic plan for our Holy Week, but I'm sure as the years go on, we'll be adding little traditions here or there to keep the 'Holy' in Holy Week.
Do you have any ideas or books to share about how to celebrate Holy Week with little ones?