Illustrated Lent: A Playful Lenten Resource for Families
While most of us have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest, one thing I LOVE is how I discover fantastic ideas and resources for spiritual formation for my family. I love to hear how others are creatively playing and reading and praying with their kids.
I discovered Illustrated Children’s Ministry while scrolling through my Pinterest feed.
Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.
“Huh? What’s this? I haven’t heard about this Lent resource. These posters are incredible.”
So, I reached out and was able to get a copy of their new Illustrated Lent to review. PLUS, they are very generous and offered a 20% off promo code for YOU GUYS. Because they’re excited about getting this resource into the hands of families who want to engage in this ancient, incredibly formative practice.
I’m particularly excited to practice Lent with the kids this year because of our really great Advent experience. At the end of Advent, the kids kept on talking about how they really loved doing it, and was there something else we could do together? I told them to look forward to Lent, even though at the time I had no idea what we were going to do yet.
Each week, families engage together in a devotion, an activity, a prayer, and a coloring sheet together. The weeks each have a theme that moves families through the Lenten season: Give, Serve, Listen, Love, Watch, Risk, and Go & Tell. While they recommend that families engage in the devotions on Sundays, it’s totally up to whatever fits the family’s schedule.
We like the idea of doing the devotion on Sundays or Mondays, and then spend the week talking about the theme, doing the activity, and coloring the huge massive poster together. We’ll let you know what ends up working best for our family, and be sure to share about what works best for yours, too!
The devotions are well-written. They include a passage of Scripture, a couple questions that encourage kids to think through the passage in a creative way, and then a question that encourages kids to reflect on how the passage of Scripture might relate to their life.
It’s not super flowery. It’s not overly theological. It’s authentic and easy-going and non-intimidating for parents who find it awkward to talk about their faith or who simply feel unequipped to walk their children through Scripture passages. But don’t let the simplicity fool you. The questions asked and activities suggested understand that spiritual formation happens best when kids (and adults) are not intimidated. They’re comfortable. They’re relaxed. They’re open. They’re feeling relationally connected with others. They’re learning and growing in a safe community. These questions give space for kids to offer their thoughts and experiences. Two great questions are worth far more than 10 mediocre ones.
For those in churches, they offer an edition that follows along the Gospel texts from the Revised Common Lectionary, and offers ways to teach the kids about Lent in a worship gathering experience. It includes illustrations for the Gospel texts, worship activity sheets, as well as the Lent posters to color. They offer the tools and ideas, but it’s up to the teachers/leaders to apply it best to the group of kids they’re working with. No scripts!
Again, the emphasis is learning and imagining and inviting the children into the stories of the Scripture. They’re encouraged to ask questions and give their honest ideas about what’s going on in the stories. In one Children’s Moment, they said this:
“I think you can go many different ways with the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus, even though I know sometimes people are a bit apprehensive about teaching stories they might not fully understand. But that’s the joy of Children’s Moments– you aren’t there to necessarily teach something to the children, you are there to invite them into the story- invite them into quite a mysterious story.”
As parents, it can be quite intimidating to open the Bible with our kids because maybe we don’t quite understand the stories ourselves. Or we have questions. Or we soon realize that our kids aren’t afraid of questions and have a LOT OF THEM. If we have the attitude that it’s our job to answer all those questions, we probably won’t be too excited to open our Bibles with our kids again. But if we have the expectation of asking together and wondering together and learning together and saying “I don’t know” together, then it makes it a WHOLE DIFFERENT experience. This resource is designed for the latter.
Also in this edition, they include a children’s bulletin type of thing that has puzzles, mini-versions of the big coloring posters, and a place to use your imagination and draw a picture from the story.
image from www.illustratedchildrensministry.com/blog/
The Large Posters ($50)
In additon to the devotions, they sell HUGE posters that families and classrooms can color together. You can either buy them already printed and have them shipped to you OR you can just buy the file and print it out yourself. These posters are beautifully illustrated and a great collaborative activity for kids or families to engage in together. We love to color around here, and often times our best conversations happen over some paper and markers (and food. just sayin’).
Now to that promo code. Illustrated Lent is offering 20% off to you guys! Just use the code: PLAYEATGROW during the checkout and ta-da! Thanks so much to our new friends at Illustrated Children’s Ministry. I’m super excited to continue to follow them and see what other great resources they will come up with! Oh! You want to as well? Great! You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.