It’s that time of year, folks. Lent is upon us once again! While this is certainly considered a somber season as us Christians prepare for the death, and ultimately the resurrection of our Lord, I’ve found it is also an abundant time of learning in Sunday school.
Compared to the season of advent which yields (at most) four classes to learn about and prepare for the birth of Jesus Christ, this year we will have five or six classes during Lent (including Palm Sunday, which is always a lot of fun!)
There are so many great crafts and activities to engage kids with during Lent. A great craft to begin the Lenten season with is a Resurrection Garden.
No doubt you’ve seen this idea on Pinterest in the last couple of years, and the good news is they appear to be increasing in popularity! I found this idea three years ago when I was teaching my first year of Sunday school. This was during a time when I was still adjusting to teaching kindergarten and was desperate to find activities to fill class time. I have kept this activity around ever since because it works so well with my lesson plans and the kids absolutely love it!
Now, while watching grass grow is exciting, planting grass seeds is inarguably more exciting for six year olds. Not only is planting the garden fun, it relates directly to our lesson for the first week of Lent: The Parable of the Sower.
Remember the story about the farmer, and while he’s planting some of his seeds fall on the road and are eaten by birds, some fall on rocks and dry up, and some fall on rich soil and grow big and strong. The lesson is that, just like seeds, we grow in God’s love. And Lent helps us to grow just like good soil, water, and sunlight helps seeds to grow into plants. This is our main lesson for Lent and it could not work more perfectly with the Resurrection garden.
So with that, let’s turn to the hands-on aspect of making a Resurrection garden of your very own!
Medium/Large terra cotta plant saucer
Small terra cotta pot
Pebbles (for the path to the tomb)
Fast growing grass seed or cat grass (we used a mix of both in ours)
Spray bottle (for watering)
For more detailed instructions I recommend checking out We Are That Family. However, if you’re interested in making a garden that will look nice immediately Catholic Icing has a great resurrection garden that uses moss instead of grass seed.
As for making a resurrection garden in a catechism class setting, I have some specific recommendations. (I teach kindergarten, so I often try to make my crafts as simple and mess-free in the classroom as possible.)
I put most of the garden together ahead of time- as in I put in the tomb, dirt, and gravel path before going to class. The only thing left is to plant the seeds which, as I said before, is the main lesson of the day anyway.
After assembling the class resurrection garden, all we need now are some seeds!
In class after reading the parable of the sower, my students and I head over to the resurrection garden where I have a small bag of grass seed, a small ziploc bag of potting soil (to sprinkle over the seeds), and a spray bottle filled with water.
The kids each take a handful of seeds and sprinkle them over the garden. We discuss whether the seeds will grow better in the dirt or on the rocks, just like in the story. Once we’ve sprinkled our grass seed, everyone takes a handful of dirt and sprinkles it on top as well. Then the kids take turns spraying water on the garden.
That sounds like it goes really smoothly, but if you’ve ever been around kindergartners you know that’s not how it goes at all. Dirt and seeds will be flying everywhere. By the time my students were done, I couldn’t even see the rock path anymore. But that’s part of the fun of it. (Besides, after class I can just take it home and dig the rock path out again…)
I also recommend taking the kids outside to look for twigs to make crosses out of, and making those in class as well!
My students have a lot of fun getting their hands dirty with this activity and I think it really helps reinforce the parable of the sower.
After just one week, this is what our resurrection garden looks like! My students and I could not be more excited about how fast it’s growing!
I must admit, I was quite surprised to see how fast our resurrection garden has grown. After just one week it is already in full bloom! I’m glad I bought the fast-growing grass seed, it was clearly worth the investment. My students were thrilled to come back to class this Sunday to see their garden growing so well. Seeing their eyes light up with wonder when they saw all the grass reminded me once again of why I love teaching Sunday school. Kindergartners find joy in everything, even watching grass grow!
Stay tuned for updates on our Sunday school resurrection garden!