Holy Week is fast approaching.
As we draw nearer to Holy Week, many parents begin thinking about ways that they can help their children experience and understand the profound events of the week. Today I want to share many ideas with you.
However, first I have a few disclaimers:
- I did not create any of these activities. I am not a craftsy person who is able to think of fun, engaging, and meaningful activities for young children. There is a reason that I teach middle school! However, I do enjoy it when other people who are gifted in those areas share their ideas with me. And, I wanted to pass them along to you. I do give credit to each author and provide a link back to their site.
- Please do not feel pressured to do any of these. While all of these activities are beautiful and meaningful, please do not feel any obligation to do Holy Week crafts with your children. Your family’s particular situation will determine what you will do. Next week I will be sharing our family’s plan for Holy Week (Hint: it’s really simple!).
- Most of these activities are geared toward younger children. If you have middle school or high school aged children, many of these will just not work out. However, if you have a variety of ages, you may be surprised at how much your older children enjoy helping your younger children do the activities and taking on a teaching role.
Orthodox Holy Week Activities for Children
If you are a homeschooling parent, have preschool aged children at home with you, or just enjoy crafts and projects, then these next activities are for you!
1. Holy Week Passport from Michelle at Be as a Light
My blogging friend Michelle from Be as a Light put out a wonderful little Holy Week Passport. Just hit print, and your kids will have a small coloring sheet and explanation for each day of Holy Week. I gave these out to my Church School kids as well, and they all enjoyed them.
2. Holy Week Lessons from Journey to Josie
Journey to Josie has a small activity for each day of Holy Week. She takes a simple blank sheet of paper, has the children cut out or paste on objects that symbolize each day, and writes a Bible verse for that day. Simple, fun, and effective. In other words–brilliant!
3. Journey to Pascha: A Daily Guide Through Holy Week
The Greek archdiocese puts out a lovely free booklet that goes through each day of the week–explaining what it means, the various services, and an icon for the day. They also include many Scriptures to read for each day. You can print the packet, put it in a binder, and keep it for years to come!
4. Holy Week Coloring Sheets from Adventures of an Orthodox Mom
Sylvia at Adventures of an Orthodox Mom has several coloring sheets for various days of Holy Week available on her blog.
5. Pascha Poem Craft Idea
Orthodox Education has a lovely poem that can be made into a card or a poster. You can use icons and pictures from old magazines to add images to the text.
6. Dye Eggs Red Naturally for Pascha
The Orthodox Christian Network has a really thorough tutorial with pictures and step-by-step instructions to help you dye your eggs for Pascha red naturally.
7. Easy Homemade Pascha Basket Cover
Catherine’s Pascha has a great post about helping your children make beautiful Pascha basket covers out of lace, ribbons, and fabric scraps. This would make an excellent project for a Church School class as well!
Children’s Books for Holy Week
If you don’t have time for crafting (or it’s really not your thing!), reading Orthodox children’s books to your little ones is another great way to help them understand and experience Holy Week.
Here are my top recommendations:
Glorious Pascha by Debra Sancer
An excellent description of each day of Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday. This book helps elementary aged children understand the significance of Holy Week in both the life of Christ and in the Church. A companion book to Lent! Wonderful Lent!
The Miracle of the Red Egg by Elizabeth Crispina Johnson
Have you ever wondered why Orthodox Christians dye Easter eggs red? This charming children’s book shares the story behind the tradition. Children (and adults!) learn about St. Mary Magdalene, a Roman emperor, and a miracle that shows the power of the resurrection.
Catherine’s Pascha by Charlotte Riggle
Catherine’s Pascha is a USA Best Books Award Finalist–an honor rarely bestowed upon an Orthodox book. This beautiful book walks a child through Pascha–from baking on Saturday to the beautiful service and breaking the fast with church family.
Heaven Meets Earth: Celebrating Pascha and the Twelve Feasts by John Kosmas Skinas
A beautiful book that explains each of the twelve great feasts of the Church–including Pascha. With icons, hymns, Scriptures, and quotes from the Fathers, and traditions explained, your family will use this resource for years to come. We recently purchased Heaven Meets Earth, and our children have been fascinated by it!
These Orthodox children’s books are a wonderful way to help your child prepare for and experience Holy Week and Pascha. You can purchase them and place them on a shelf that is easily accessible to your children. Then, watch them read their favorites over and over–drawing closer to Christ in the process.
Attending Holy Week Services
Finally, there really is no substitute for actually attending the services of Holy Week. The best way to understand the Orthodox faith is, as always, to experience it through immersion. Look for posts next week with tips for families as they go to Holy Week services as well as our family’s personal plan for Holy Week.
If you would like more inspiration as you raise your children in the Orthodox faith, please follow my Facebook page. Each day I share posts and tips of my own as well as those of people much wiser than me. Join the the community and discussion! You can also follow me on Pinterest where I post many resources for Orthodox parents.
What are your favorite children’s activities for Holy Week?
(This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase a product, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Orthodox Motherhood!)