Friday, February 28, 2014

How to Make a Lenten Sacrifice Jar

As you prepare to walk through Lent with your young children, here is a simple craft you can do now and then use every day throughout the Season. A Lenten Sacrifice Bean jar not only helps provide a visual countdown throughout the Season of Lent, but it also encourages your children to look for ways to serve, have good attitudes, and pray for others. This is something we're trying for the first time this year, but my boyOs are already so excited for Lent to begin, so they can start moving beans from one jar to the next.

With the Sacrifice Jar, each day your child can do something kind for someone else, say a prayer for someone special, help out with an extra chore, or make a small sacrifice on their level. When they do so, they move one bean from their "Name" jar to the family "Sacrifice" jar. And, if you forget one day, you can always double up another day.

What you'll need:

  • one glass jar for the "Sacrifice" jar - we used a recycled pickle jar
  • one glass jar for Each child - again used recycled jars
  • dry beans (40 per child) - you could also use small pasta, beads, or something similar
  • white glue
  • container for glue to go in
  • Foam Brushes
  • purple tissue paper
  • scissors
  • pictures of Jesus w/ cross - see below for sources
  • crayons or colored pencils

Where to find pictures of Jesus w/ cross: I just looked up some of my favorite Stations of the Cross pictures. This set was more simplistic and ended up being the one we chose. These are also beautiful, but they're a bit more intricate and might be harder for younger kids to color in.


  • Clean the jars from any labels. I just soaked mine in hot water, and then scrubbed them with a dish brush and soap. White vinegar can also help to get rid of stickiness
  • Cut tissue paper into squares/triangles about 3/4" to 1"
  • Mix white glue in the small container (I used a little Pyrex bowl) with a few drops of water to thin

Annnnd go....

1. Have your children color in 1 or 2 pictures of Jesus. Cut out. Then write their names or have them write their own, if old enough, and also cut out. 
2. "Paint" the jars with the glue/water mixture. Stick tissue paper squares on until they cover up most of the outside of the jar.
Talk about the significance of the color purple. Purple is used during Lent as it is both a penitential color and a color to signify royalty. As we prepare for the death and resurrection of our king, it is appropriate to keep a somber mindset and focus on the simple. In Holy Scripture we read that Jesus was draped in purple cloth in mockery as he was lead away to death. We humbly acknowledge our sin and humanity in penance during this season so that we may fully celebrate in joy at Easter.
3. Seal the layer of tissue paper by "painting" over again with glue. This will help keep down the corners of the squares. I suggest either waiting until the pieces are dry OR mama doing the sealing. When you're painting over the squares, it's very easy to pull them right back off by brushing too hard, so try dabbing more and swiping less.
4. Put glue on the back of the "Name" slips of paper, and stick to each name jar. Seal edges. 
5. Repeat steps 3 + 4 for the "Sacrifice" jar, putting on whichever pictures of Jesus you colored earlier.
My boys miraculously showed off some teamwork skills in the gluing of the "Sacrifice" jar together. I commended them on this, and Dominic replied, "I'm 100% impressed with us."
6. Let dry. 
7. Count out 40 beans and place into the jar.
Depending on age of the child, you could have them count their own or even just place the beans in groups of 4 or 5 and have them count groups. 

If you're at a loss for ideas on Sacrifices your child can make each day, here are a few to get you started:
  • Let a sibling choose the game, book, or movie.
  • Share a toy with a sibling for a whole day (or half a day).
  • Clean up the toys without being asked or after being asked just once.
  • Help bring in dishes after a meal.
  • Give up play time to help mom or dad.
  • Pray for 5 people.
  • Say one decade of the rosary.
  • Practice a new prayer.
  • Choose one toy to give away.
  • Help make cookies or a meal to bless someone with.
  • Make a card and send to someone who might need cheering up.

Once again, remember if you don't move a bean every day, don't fret. It's easy to encourage a few good deeds in one day. You can always do a two-for-one (i.e. pray for 10 people and move 2 beans). Older children might catch on and start doing tasks of their own accord, but younger kids will probably still need help or coaxing. 

Have fun making your jars, and may your Lent be a time of family togetherness and love for one another! 

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All rights reserved. ©Sarah G. Ortiz
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This post How to Make a Lenten Sacrifice Jar first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 28 February 2014 

1 comment:

  1. Yep. Doing this. But probably not until Lent is half over and I can make it to the craft store. But still doing it! Thanks, Sarah!


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