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Stations of the Cross (for Toddlers)

During Lent, I wanted to incorporate the Stations of the Cross as a weekly devotion at our home. Getting my three and two year old daughters to sit and be still, whether at church in the pew or eating their lunch, is a constant struggle.  I wasn't sure whether they would be able to focus and remain engaged as we prayed.


After gathering ideas on Pinterest, I found a hands-on Stations of the Cross kit. There are 14 items (small enough for little hands to hold) representing each station. What I like about this kit is that most of the items can be found in your home.


On Fridays before their "quiet-time", I light a candle and have the girls sit with me at the table while we pray the Stations of the Cross. We begin by making the sign of the cross together and then I read the first station. I let the two year old hold the item first. I pray, "We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world." At the end of this prayer my two year old knows to pass the item to her sister. I sing the first stanza of the Stabat Mater, "At the Cross her station keeping, stood that mournful mother weeping, where he hung the dying Lord". Then my three year old places the item on the table in front of us. We do each station like this. At the end, we say a concluding prayer and the sign of the cross. The girls take turns blowing out the candle.


Praying the Stations has been a great way for our children to learn about the Passion and Death of Our Lord and helps them better understand the depth of His love for us.  The kit helps my kiddos visualize (and touch and feel) the sufferings of Jesus and encourages them to ask questions about Jesus's "owies". Having something to hold keeps those little hands busy and squiggly bodies occupied. The girls are always asking me if it's Friday. They LOVE praying the Stations of the Cross! It's one small way our family can more fully enter into the Lenten season.



To accompany our Stations of the Cross kit, we read from The Way of the Cross. The booklet has beautiful inked illustrations. I love the traditional images. They add a richness to our meditations. The girls like to find Mother Mary on each page. Our Blessed Mother lovingly shared in her Son's sorrow and bore His bitter anguish in her Immaculate heart. She was there every step of the way. 

A small corduroy sack holds the booklet and small items. We keep the Stations of the Cross kit on our home altar during Lent. 

A beautifully illustrated page from "The Catechism in Pictures"

Stations of the Cross Kit

I. Jesus is Condemned to Death (rope to bind the hands of Jesus)
II. Jesus Carries His Cross (wooden cross)
III. Jesus Falls the First Time (a band aid)
IV. Jesus Meets His Mother (image of Our Lady)
V. Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry His Cross (a "helping hand" made from felt)
VI. Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus (piece of fabric printed with the face of Jesus)
VII. Jesus Falls the Second Time (a band aid)
VIII. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem (handkerchief to dry their tears)
IX. Jesus Fall the Third Time (a band aid)
X. Jesus is Stripped of His Garments (a purple cloak)
XI. Jesus is Nailed to the Cross (a nail)
XII. Jesus Dies on the Cross (a crucifix)
XIII. Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross (a image of the Pieta)
XIV. Jesus is Laid in the Sepulcher (a round stone)

Do you have a fun and interactive way to pray the Stations of the Cross with children? What other ways do you engage your children during the season of Lent?

Comments

  1. Beautiful book, thanks for the suggestion! As you know I'm not crafty BUT I did manage to print, laminate and cut out 40 lent-ish pictures and tape them around our kitchen door...every day the kids took one picture off. That really helped them visualize how many days of lent there are and how many days are left, and I noticed as the pictures got less and less they started to get really excited about Easter! And now that I have the pictures all cut out and laminated it will be even easier next year.

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    Replies
    1. What a great visual for your kiddos! I'll have to add that to our Lent activities for next year. We made a "40 Days of Lenten Prayers" paper chain that hangs in our dining room. Names are written on every link. Each morning we take a link off the chain and pray for/offer little sacrifices for that person. As the chain gets shorter, we get closer and closer to Easter!

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