Counting Down: In the past, we've used different calendars to countdown until Pascha: Jessica's, Orthodox Christian Craft Supply's Magnetic Calendar, and our butterfly calendar. I found a new idea on Rhythm of the Home's Spring Edition: A Visual Journey Through Lent. I'll adapt it to fit Orthodoxy and I think that I will try to figure out how to move the cross from stone to stone to create a countdown. We'll also be using the guide that came with our Magnetic Calendar since it was so very good!
Planning Ahead: With Western Easter falling so much earlier than Pascha, I will be trying to plan ahead. We'll need to buy our plastic eggs for our egg hunt, Paschal outfits need to be sorted out, and we have to get some delicious Paschal candies. Hopefully much of this will be on sale! Also, we've begun to save onion skins so that we can dye our eggs red naturally this year. I also need to replenish our battery operated candle stash for the nights when the faithful hold candles in church and the little ones don't want to be left out. We'll be sprouting wheat grass again this year on Palm Sunday and we'll also need to order our Paschal Candle!
Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving: We are going to work on three things daily this Great Lent: prayer (by learning a short prayer by heart), fasting (by placing one favorite food- one per child- into a basket each day and then emptying the basket in our church's food pantry box each Sunday before Liturgy), and almsgiving (by adding coins to a bank each day and emptying them into our church's poor box each Sunday before Liturgy). These are all simple ideas that I am hoping that I can follow through on that will hopefully help our little ones these next six or seven weeks.
I would love to hear about anything that you are doing with your little ones this holy time of year.
Also, if you are not Orthodox and are wondering what I am talking about, you can learn about Great Lent here and find out why Orthodox Christians fast, here.