Calvary Hill Planting – A Kids’ Lenten Project


When Lent comes around, it’s difficult enough for us as adult Christians, to decide in which ways we’d like to embrace the 40 days leading to Easter. We are led by 3 things: Sacrifice, Prayer, and Almsgiving.  But as parents, we also want our children to take part in some way, and fully realize the significance of this period of time, too!  Attending Mass (especially through Holy Week), hearing the Scripture relating to Jesus’ death and resurrection, and witnessing (or participating in, depending on the ages of the children) their parent’s participation throughout Lent, certainly helps build their understanding of the importance of this season in our faith. 

However, I was thrilled last year, to come across this great project for the kids, that really invited them to be involved in some significant way even more, throughout the Lenten Season!:

Calvary Hill

As parents instruct the kids how to build this project, and plant and water the grass seeds, they have the opportunity to teach, or further discuss, the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus, why and how He died, and what that means for all of us!

 This Calvary Hill plant needs to be nurtured and tended to by the kids, throughout Lent. By Easter, it is beautiful plant, symbolic why we celebrate. It makes for a wonderful Easter table centerpiece, and can also be put outdoors to keep for many months!  We put ours out near our gardens, on our potting bench.  It can also simply be placed right into a garden bed, or on a deck. We trimmed the grass down when necessary, and kept it watered, enjoying it for long past Easter.

Pictured here are some of the supplies you will need.

Here is a more complete list: 

  • Organic Seed Starting Mix (we used Jiffy brand)
  • Organic Hard Winter Wheat Berries, OR, Winter Rye (we used Winter Rye),
  • a large (12″) flower pot dish (w/ no drain hole),
  • a small (4″) flower pot and it’s dish,
  • small rocks (for drainage),
  • a pail
  • pail and shovel, with some water, for mixing soil.
  • some straightish-sticks of any kind, for the crucifixes
  • brown twine to tie together crucifixes
  • probably a glue gun

First will be creating Jesus’ tomb: Lie the small pot on it’s side, in the center of the large pot dish, with the opening of the pot a couple of inches or so from the inside edge of the big dish. The small pot is representative of Jesus’ tomb. You just want to be sure you leave room for the dish to that pot, to be in front of the pot opening, and room to roll to the side, which will serve as the stone in front of Jesus’ tomb.

Fill the whole bottom of the large potting dish with small rocks on the 3 sides of the small pot (Jesus’ tomb), supporting it to keep it from rolling. Smaller rocks than we used are acceptable and may even be more suitable and manageable. We just grabbed some from our driveway! 

Next, in a pail, add water to some Organic Seed Starter Mix . . . . . .

. . . . . .and mix to make some nice wet dirt!

Time to get dirty!

Scoop handfuls of dirt out of the pail, and place it all around the sides of and behind the tomb, as well as right over the top of it.  Create a nice round hill. 

*Note that in these photos, you see some dirt in front of the lid and somewhat in the way here. We learned that was not a good idea, as dirt was always falling out when we moved the lid. It is best to keep it clear of any soil.

Again, keep the dirt away from the front of the tomb, so the ‘stone’ can roll away But be sure the tomb is covered in the soil mixture.

Next, is planting the seed. As mentioned earlier, we used Winter Rye, but Organic Hard Winter Wheat Berries can also be used.  Either grow quickly!  Simply cover the soil with the seed, pressing down into it if possible, and perhaps cover it with some more where you can, if there is room.

Now 3 crucifixes need to be made.  We wanted to keep it simple and rustic, so we simply found some straight sticks up in our wooded area, and created crossed wrapping the twine in a criss-cross effect around the intersection of the 2 sticks.  We tied off and then cut the twine ends, but then also used a dab of glue with a glue gun to secure it.

The crucifixes can be placed into the soil of your Calvary Hill now, as we did right away.  But as a tip, they would stay in place better, if you waited a bit for the seed to sprout and begin to grow, so there is a bit of a root system established to support the sticks.

Here is what ours looked like, all done and ready to grow!

We brought it indoors, and placed it on a plastic covered table where sunlight would be on it a good part of the day. Throughout the first week or so, the kids need to simply mist spray the soil with water, in a spray bottle, 3 times a day, to keep the soil moist, and encourage the seed to sprout.  Perhaps you can come up with a simple 1 or 2 line poem to say, while they do this, as a form of meditation.

It’s growing!  The kids will be so excited to see this.

As sprouts push upward from beneath, some dirt will tumble down. This is why it is important to really try to keep the soil quite moist, until it is all held in place by the grass that grows. We thought the plastic table covering was wise, because all of the water spraying.

You will also notice some seeds and seed casings being pushed up to the surface. It’s fine.

Before you know it, you’ll have lush green grass, on your Calvary Hill!

More photos of Jesus’ empty tomb….

I just love this photo.

On Good Friday, you can wrap a clothespin with a white piece of cloth or paper towel, or simply cover it.  The clothespin and wrap is representative of Jesus’ body.
  Then roll the stone to close the opening of His tomb.  : (

On Easter morning, JESUS IS RISEN!  When the kids get up in the morning, let them find the stone rolled away from Jesus’ tomb, and his garments folded or rolled neatly inside. 

It is our hope and prayer as adults, that our Lenten Season practices, help draw us closer to Jesus, deepening our relationship with Him.  May your kids not only enjoy this project, but like the seeds in the fertile soil, may it help sprout a faith in their hearts, that is bound to grow within them, and help guide them all throughout their lives.


(We’re happy to discuss this project, or answer any questions for you, in the comments below.)

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