The Crown of Thorns
A few years ago a friend sent me this project. I am so excited that I finally made the time to do this activity. I've cut and pasted the directions for a Crown of Thorns Centerpiece (from Forty Days of Lent with the Christian Family) from the e-mail I received.
Since next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, I'd like to share the directions with all of you. It is really quite dramatic, and leaves a lasting message with all ages. Use a salt dough ring (see recipe below) and make a large crown of thorns. After mixing and kneading the dough, roll it into three long ropes and loosely braid them (some of the children struggled with the braid, dividing the dough in half and twisting the ropes was easier.) Form the braid into a circle, and place on a round baking sheet. Place toothpicks into the circle in every direction to represent thorns. Twist each one as you place it for easier removal later on. (I found they still baked in, so while the dough was still hot from the oven I pulled the tooth picks out. After the crown cooled I let the kiddos put them back in.) Bake, thorns in place, in a 350 degree oven for one hour or until dry and brown (mine took about 1 1/2 hours, but it could be my oven). After cooling, place the crown of thorns on a piece of purple cloth and in the center of your dining room or kitchen table (wherever you eat each meal).
Take the time to explain to the children each toothpick represents one sin that pierced Jesus during His sacred passion. This very Lent, we can ease a little of the pain Our Lord suffers. Each time we do a good deed (it is good to stress the deed will be a secret between you and Jesus) we may secretly remove one thorn from his crown. Hopefully by the end of Lent, the crown will be free of thorns. Then on Holy Saturday, spray paint the crown gold. Decorate with glued on jewels from the dime store to make the Crown of Glory. The very crown which Jesus earned by His Sorrowful Passion. Remind the children Jesus makes a beautiful thing with our smallest kindnesses and good deeds.
Salt Dough Recipe: Combine 4 cups flour with 1 cup of salt. Mix in enough water to make a stiff clay (more than one cup usually). Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
The Sacrifice Mouse
These are the sacrifice mice. My friend used foamy paper to cut out the tear shaped body, self adhesive googly eyes, a tiny pom-pom for the nose, and more foam cut into little ears. She used rubber cement for the adhesive, I'm sure any crafting glue would work though. Use a hole punch and tie a piece of yarn for the tail. Next glue a small piece of magnet on the back (you can easily recycle an old refrigerator magnet.) Each time your child makes a sacrifice or does a good deed during lent, you tie a knot in the mouse's tail. This is the perfect project for the younger set. The craft was easy to do with just a little adult supervision. Bubby is so excited to have his very own mouse. He loves to be "big" like The General and Princess.