A fun way to make sure your students understand the importance behind the Lenten season is to introduce educational games to the classroom. Board games, bingo and even a new spin on spin the bottle can all help to engage students and get them excited to learn about Lent.
Stations of the Cross
The stations of the cross are often observed on Friday services during Lent, and this game will help your students learn the importance of this ritual. Make a board game out of poster board or cardboard. Make sure that you have blank squares, squares giving directions like "go back one" or "go forward two" and 14 squares representing the stations of the cross.
When a student rolls the die he must move forward and follow the directions of the square he lands on; however, if he lands on a station of the cross square, he must stop and answer a question that corresponds with the station number of the square. To move forward, he must answer the question correctly; if he doesn't, he must stay at that square for every turn until he can. The first person to get to the end of the board wins.
To play resist temptation with your students, make a board game out of poster board or cardboard. Draw a path of squares from the start square to the finish line and intersperse the plain squares with temptation squares. You can use anything you like to make player pieces, even little numbers cut out of paper.
Each player must roll a die and then move that number of squares toward the end. However, if a player lands on a temptation square, he cannot move until he successfully describes how he would resist the temptation. Write temptation scenarios on index cards and draw one from the deck each time a player lands on a temptation square. If he fails to resist the temptation, then he loses his turn and cannot move forward until he answers successfully. The first student to reach the end wins.
For younger children, consider expressing the temptations as yes or no questions, such as, "If you find the answers to a test, should you cheat?" This game is appropriate for Lent because during Lent believers often forgo something that normally brought them pleasure. Many people feel tempted to cheat during Lent, and this game teaches students why it is important to resist temptation.
Bingo is a classic game that can be modified to teach your students about Lent. Create a bingo sheet from a sheet of paper by drawing a four-by-four grid and placing facts or trivia questions about Lent in each square. Consider laminating your boards so they last longer, or use construction paper chips in place of a bingo stamp.
Play the game one of two ways: Fill all squares with questions and give students the answers to match, or ask students questions and have the answers in the squares. To increase the challenge difficulty and game length, make several variations of the board and use several sets of questions so that not every student will have the same answers before him. The first student to get four correct answers in a row wins.
Spin the Bottle
On index cards, write questions related to Holy Week (the last week of Lent) and place them in a container. Have the students sit in a circle and place an empty soda bottle and the container with questions in the center. Questions can cover details about the events of Holy Week, such as, "What did Jesus ride on into Jerusalem?" Other questions can include "What did the priests give Judas to betray Jesus?" or "Who denied Jesus three times just like Jesus said someone would?"
If you have a timer, set a limit (15 minutes is probably sufficient). Have one student spin the bottle to determine who goes first, and whoever the bottle points to will have to draw and answer a question. If the student gets the question wrong, the spinner gets a point. If the student gets it right, he gets a point. Keep a tally on the board, and whoever has the most points by the time the timer goes off wins.