A Lenten Calendar for Catholic Children {revised}

by | Feb 18, 2015 | Lent, Lenten Calendar | 24 comments

Yesterday afternoon I had a little free time, while the older children were working with their math tutor and the three little ones were all napping (a rare occurrence these days!), to make this year’s Lenten Calendar.  I used the same documents I created last year, but this year I assembled it a little differently (similar to how I first assembled it back before I was blogging) so that each week could begin with Sunday.

Jesus rose from the dead “on the first day of the week.” Because it is the “first day,” the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the “eighth day” following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday: We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead. (CCC 2174)

I love how it turned out this year! With this year’s revision our Lent Calendar now ends with Holy Saturday, the final day of the forty days of Lent. I am hoping to create an Easter Calendar on the opposite side of the poster board beginning with Easter Sunday! 
If you are looking for a small printable calendar be sure to visit Pondered In My Heart or Waltzing Matilda. They both offer beautiful calendars which I always print for our older children. JOY{filled}family also offers a printable calendar based on the Traditional Calendar here.

LENTEN CALENDAR

SUPPLIES:

  • 1 – 22″x28″ White Posterboard
  • Purple Marker
  • Yard Stick and/or Ruler
  • Printed Images and Text (Free Download Here)
  • Scissors and Glue Stick
  • Purple Card Stock or Construction Paper

DIRECTIONS:

Create seven rows of 3 1/8″ x 3 1/8″ squares for the 40 days of Lent plus all of the Sundays, with an 1/8″ border on each side of the poster board.

Label the Days of the week Sunday through Saturday.

Each day of the week has a special prayer intention for which we pray and fast:

  • Sunday – In Thanksgiving for God’s Blessings
  • Monday – For an End to Abortion
  • Tuesday – For Conversions to the True Faith
  • Wednesday – For our Holy Father and all Priests
  • Thursday – For our Family, Godparents & Godchildren
  • Friday – For Forgiveness of Sins in our World
  • Saturday – For our Deceased Relatives

Add a Fish Symbol to each Friday representing the days of abstinence.

Title the top of the calendar with LENT: Pray, Fast, Give Alms.

Through prayer, fasting and alms giving, we bring Jesus into our lives, and commit ourselves to being united with him in His suffering, death and resurrection. Through this we also love and serve Him as we love and serve our neighbor.


With this year’s revision I had a little extra room at the top of the calendar. I considered adding an image for Shrove Tuesday, but decided on a little pocket made out of card stock to hold the crosses to cover each square.
Cut out, place, and glue all the images for Ash Wednesday, the various feast days, all the Sundays of Lent, and Holy Week.

Our calendar has a square for each day, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Special Feasts and Holy days during that period are decorated to represent that day. For example, we have a picture of St. Patrick on March 17th and St. Joseph on March 19th. These special feasts help break up the long Lenten Season.

Hang somewhere it can easily be seen (and reached) by the children. 


I probably could have gotten a better picture of the calendar hanging in the kitchen, but I got distracted by my two little cuties who looked all cozy on the couch behind the island… 

It looks like they discovered the basket of books for Lent
+ + +
PRAY • FAST • GIVE ALMS

PRAY

  • Each Morning for the Special Intention of the Day
  • Daily Family Rosary
  • Stations of the Cross on Friday
  • Adoration Hour
  • Daily Mass

When the older children were little I made or purchased stickers of rosaries, stations of the cross, churches, etc for them to add to each day we prayed the rosary, stations, or attended Mass.

FAST

  • Take one item from the pantry each day for the poor
  • Simple Meatless Meals on Fridays
  • Personal Sacrifices I’m Offering Up for Lent 

Toddlers don’t always understand the concept of giving something up for Lent. Instead of having our youngest children give something up we have them focus on giving away. I stock the bottom shelves of the pantry with appropriate food items that can be donated, and everyday the little ones choose something to place in a box to be donated to a needy person or organization. I fit this extra food into our grocery budget by serving simple meals throughout lent, especially on Fridays.

We are also choosing some things to offer up individually and as a family. I’ve left it generic on our calendar as “Personal Sacrifices I’m Offering Up for Lent.”

GIVE ALMS

  • Count the items listed for each Day 
  • Put corresponding Number of Pennies in the Rice Bowl

In Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler (affiliate link) the author says: “Playing with pennies is fun, and so is putting them in a piggy bank. So try combining the two… Almost every church has Rice Bowls for lent… Think of items in your home that you can count. Select something different for every day of lent and put this on your calendar. For example, after deciding to count all the doors in your house, take the child and count all the doors. For each item counted, give him a penny to put in the Rice Bowl. There can be forty or forty-five pennies each day. It can add up, especially if you have more than one child! After Easter, bring the Rice Bowl to your church and have your child give it to your priest. Explain that this money will be used to buy food and clothes for people who do not have enough money to buy their own.”

Some examples of things that could be counted include: shoes, beds, windows, chairs, tables, pictures on the walls, trees in the yard, rooms, light fixtures, books on the shelf, silverware, stairs, toys, dolls, etc… You can be creative! This is a great opportunity to teach the children to be grateful for all they own. It is also a perfect time to work on filling those 40 bags with items to pass along to someone in need.

Update: Now that we have older children I pick up a few rolls of quarters, dimes, and nickels , in addition to the rolls of pennies for the little ones, that can be earned to donate to the poor by doing extra chores during Lent. 
In the past I would usually write down something for the younger children to count in each square at the beginning of Lent (see Give Alms above). However, I’ve found it easiest to just assign them each morning (or the night before), that way I can easily incorporate specific areas that I want to work on decluttering.

Once again I created squares with a cross on one side (printed on purple card stock) to cover each calendar square, instead of the cut out crosses we’ve used in the past. My plan for this year is to write on the back of each square the assignments for the day – what/where we will be praying, a reminder to fast/take an item from the pantry for the poor, something to count for the younger children’s “Give Alms” and perhaps the extra chore options for the older children.
At the end of each day – after we complete our prayers, fasting, and alms giving for the day – we will place the purple cross over the square of that particular date on the calendar as we count down the days until Easter Sunday!

You can read more about how our family has observed Lent in the past here:
Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.

24 Comments

  1. Christine M.

    I love the updated version with Sunday as the beginning of the week! Thanks for sharing. Praying you have a blessed Lent!

    2015-02-18 21:31:26

    Reply
  2. Meagan Daoust

    Jessica, (With all your spare time) I think you should make a permanent calendar to sell. I would buy one for sure and it would save all of us cutting and drawing each year, although it's penitential for sure, lol! I did laminate everything this year though in hopes of being able to reuse at least the pictures/letters/ words next year. Drawing grid lines is not my gift….

    2015-02-19 02:37:12

    Reply
  3. Meagan Daoust

    OR…….maybe I will make a serious effort at nice pretty lines and have Office Max laminate the poster board and then use velcro dots in all the squares. The wheels are spinning…..

    2015-02-19 02:43:44

    Reply
  4. Jessica

    I don't like to bother you since I'm sure you are busy but I'm having trouble with scribd and downloading your document. Would you be willing to send it to me via email? I keep getting error code 410 and have no idea what that even means! My email is jmartel26@hotmail.com. May you have a blessed lent! Jessica

    2015-02-19 06:33:46

    Reply
  5. kelly

    I agree! I'd buy one too.

    2015-02-19 11:41:20

    Reply
  6. kelly

    You are amazing! You are soo organized! And seemingly, full of energy… do you ever sleep?

    2015-02-19 11:42:58

    Reply
  7. Rocio

    This is our first year making the calendar and I actually changed our calendar to begin on Sunday about two weeks ago. I am so happy with the change and look forward to the Easter Calendar!!

    2015-02-19 15:44:41

    Reply
  8. Jessica Gordon

    I'm sorry that you are having trouble with Scribd! I just sent you an email with the document. I hope you and your family have a blessed Lent!

    2015-02-19 15:52:52

    Reply
  9. Melanie

    I love this, very nice! marking it for next year. Have a blessed Lent!

    2015-02-19 16:31:54

    Reply
  10. Guest

    I've been reading your blog since my son was an infant and it's been fun catching the rhythm of your great ideas for living the faith. All that time payed off as I felt so prepared! You are a wonderful teacher and it's a joy having you as my mentor. God bless!!!

    2015-02-19 18:42:04

    Reply
  11. Mary F

    These are beautiful! We've made a chart like this by hand for years. Yours has such a nice impact. The children can be super generous when they see their work "piling up". Oh, and thank you for having the week start with Sunday.

    A holy Lent to you and yours!

    2015-02-19 20:07:20

    Reply
  12. Monika

    Jessica, I'd love to tell you how grateful I am for your sharing your lent-calendar. All the things you do with your children are very inspirational for me! May our Lord bless you and your lovely family. Love, from Slovakia.

    2015-02-19 20:17:55

    Reply
  13. Elena

    I can not download the document from scrib, could be possible if you send me the file to my email Thank you very much

    2016-02-04 02:25:03

    Reply
  14. Elena

    Me too please

    2016-02-04 02:26:08

    Reply
  15. xhonane

    Hello Jessica!!! I would love to make your calendar, but in Spanish! Would you like to have it translated? I hope you do!

    2016-02-04 19:49:10

    Reply
  16. Susan

    Thank you for this wonderful idea and all the downloadable links to make it easy to create! Your ideas are so creative!! God Bless you during the Lenten journey.

    2016-02-09 23:58:42

    Reply
  17. Jennifer

    Thank you for all your wonderful ideas. I just know my younger children are going to love this! Now to find some purple paper for the crosses. Blessings for a holy Lent.

    2017-02-27 13:57:22

    Reply
  18. song dinh

    I've been reading your blog since my son was an infant and it's been fun catching the rhythm of your great ideas for living the faith. All that time payed off as I felt so prepared!

    2017-12-02 16:30:09

    Reply
  19. Elizabeth

    'I love how it turned out this year! With this year's revision our Lent Calendar now ends with Holy Saturday, the final day of the forty days of Lent. I am hoping to create an Easter Calendar on the opposite side of the poster board beginning with Easter Sunday!' Dear Jessica, Wondering if you were able to create the Easter Calendar for the opposite side? I'm going to laminate our Lenten calendar and having the Easter Calendar on the flip side would be awesome! God bless you and your family!

    2018-01-17 13:01:02

    Reply
  20. Holly

    Can this be used as a perpetual Lenten calendar? Is there an Easter calendar available? Thanks so much for all you've given, especially while dealing with health issues and a new baby!

    2018-02-07 17:07:18

    Reply
  21. Jessica Gordon

    So sorry for the delays in responding! What a year it has been… I did create an Easter Calendar on the flip side, but have never finalized my documents to share… I'll see if I can find time to do that soon.

    2019-03-04 19:52:33

    Reply
  22. Megan H.

    I know how incredibly busy you are being wonderful… Any word on finalized Easter Calendar documents? 😃🙏😍

    2020-01-24 06:41:47

    Reply
  23. Andrew J. Adamson

    What font did you use for the titles of dates on this? Thanks.

    Reply

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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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