A few weeks ago I had some pictures of our Lenten decorations and included a shot of a little treasure box that holds our Stations of the Cross kit. I got a few emails and comments asking about it so I thought I'd share with you what we do and how it looks.
I keep our Stations kit on top of our computer desk so the kids can't easily get at it and lose everything. The box itself is just a simple treasure chest type box we got for a couple of dollars at Hobby Lobby.
Inside is a Stations of the Cross booklet for children that I found at our local Catholic goods store. There is also an object that represents each station.
How we pray the Stations:
Depending on the kids' attention span we may read through everything but usually it goes like this:
I announce the next station and say, "We adore You, O Lord, and we praise You," and the kids and I all say, "because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world."
After this I tell the kids what object they need to find in the box.
Different people use different items, but our stations kit contains the following:
#1 a piece of rope, like what tied Jesus' hands together when he was sentenced to death.
#2 a cross for when Jesus picked up His cross
#3 a piece of felt with the number one and a band-aid to symbolize Jesus falling for the first time.
#4 a rosary for when He met His Mother.
#5 a helping hand for when Simon helped Jesus carry His cross. The one pictured is Lydia's traced on some cardstock from a few years ago.
#6 a piece of felt that I sketched Jesus' face on for when He met Veronica.
#7 a piece of felt with the number two and a band-aid for the second time Jesus fell.
#8 a tissue for when He meets the weeping women.
#9 a piece of felt with the number three and a band-aid for when He fell the third time.
#10 a strip of purple cloth for when Jesus is stripped of his clothes. (I'm actually going to borrow some doll clothes from Lydia because they're too young to get the symbolism and need something more tangible right now.)
#11 a nail for when Christ is nailed to the cross.
#12 a crucifix for when Christ dies.
#13 an image of the Pieta for when Christ is brought down from the cross and placed in His mother's arms.
#14 a rock to symbolize the rock that is rolled in front of the tomb. (not shown - remember what I said about the kids getting into it and scattering things about the house?)
As they hold and pass around the object we discuss what's happening.
I point out the picture and briefly explain what's happening to Jesus.
The booklet also talks about how what happened to Christ can help us to live better lives. For instance, just like Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry His cross we can help people in need.
We then end each station with the simple prayer that's included in the booklet.
At first I was disappointed that I couldn't find a more kid-friendly book with beautiful pictures but now, after using this book for several years with little kids I am very happy with it. The color is bright and cheery and the lack of detail in the images seems to make it easier for my kids to take it all in. Since we also have books with gorgeous paintings by Fra Angelico, Raphael, and so on, I can see the difference in how my kids respond. (Perhaps it's because we listen to pop music and watch cartoons?)
Anyways, I highly recommend the booklet, which is why I included the publishing information in the image above.
After seeing this all you're probably thinking, "Hey! We already do something like that!" and you probably do. The contents of the kit are what many people use for "Resurrection Eggs" but I prefer this way, which I learned from Kate Wicker. The reasons I like this more are: a) the carton would be smooshed in no time but the box is sturdier b) plastic eggs are one more thing for the kids to lose or break and me to keep track of c) putting everything back in the box, in no particular order, makes clean up much easier. d) the kids like digging around in the box. If it's not broke I'm not going to fix it.
While we're well into Lent I don't think it's too late to make on of these kits. If nothing else you can use it during Holy Week and the Triduum. I must say, unlike the rosary, this is a prayer that I can do with the kids that doesn't leave me frustrated and angry.
If you decide to do this I wish you happy gathering and praying!