The Jelly Bean Jar
We began this tradition in our house when the kids were younger. Our church sent the instructions in one of their bulletines and we felt like it was a great way to acknowledge lent with young children. At the time, our kids were 2, 4, and 6... and asking them to give up something for 40 days felt like a long time.
Here is how it works:
On Ash Wednesday give each child a jar with a small copy of the jellybean prayer taped to it. Determined a behavior to go with each jellybean color (corresponding with the prayer). Each day the kids can earn a jellybean of any color they followed through on. They can not eat the jellybeans until Easter. The kids can not earn white jellybeans, these represented the Grace of Christ, which is a gift not earned ourselves. On Easter morning, the kids wake to find their jars filled up where they were still empty (lacking) with white jellybeans (Christ's grace).
The Jelly Bean Prayer:
Red is for the blood He gave,
Green is for the palm's cool shade,
Yellow is for God's light so bright,
Orange is for prayers at twilight.
Blue is for sweet rest at night,
White is for the grace of Christ.
Purple is His days of sorrow,
Pink is for each new tomorrow.
A jar full of jelly beans,
Colorful and sweet,
Is a Prayer...is a Promise... Is an Easter treat!
You can decide how each color jelly bean can be earned, but here is a suggested list to get you started.
RED is earned by sacrificing something for the sake of someone else, like Jesus gave his blood for us. It is important to focus on sacrificing for someone else and not on sacrifice for it's own sake.
GREEN is earned through good deeds; it was a good deed to provide shade for Jesus with the palm branches.
YELLOW is earned for sharing God's light through kindness to others.
ORANGE is earned for attentive behavior during bedtime prayer time and night time bible story.
BLUE is earned for going to bed on time without complaining .
WHITE cannot be earned and are used to fill the jar on Easter morning.
PURPLE is earned through apologizing to anyone hurt with words or deeds that day.
PINK is earned by forgiving those who have apologized to for hurtful behavior.
*this version I belive came from catholicmom.com, but different versions can be found all over the web,