Crown of Thorns

Help your children understand sacrifice by making a crown of thorns

Help your children understand sacrifice this Lent by making a crown of thorns

Lent is upon us.

During this solemn six-week observance which begins on Ash Wednesday (this year, February 13) we prepare ourselves for Holy Week, and remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross — and His resurrection — to save us from our sins.

One way to help your children understand the importance of sacrifice is to make a crown of thorns. This reminds them of how much Christ suffered for us.

For our family, we’ve found the best and most practical way of doing this (and there are many ways you can do this) is to buy a plain brown wreath from a craft store like Hobby Lobby. The wreath is not too big and is made of branches wrapped together.

We then buy toothpicks and black dye, so the toothpicks can be colored black to look like thorns.

We place the toothpicks in the wreath (see the picture on the right) so that our wreath resembles a crown of thorns. This is really easy and does not take much time!

Black dyed toothpicks make thorns in a wreath crown

Black dyed toothpicks make thorns in a wreath crown

Then we place the crown of thorns on a purple cloth (the liturgical color of Lent). The color purple reminds us of two things: the royalty of Jesus our King, and it serves as a sign of penance.

Next we place the cloth and crown on a crystal platter and put it in the center of our dining room table.

Each day during Lent, whenever someone makes a sacrifice or does a good deed, we remove a thorn from the crown — symbolizing a desire to lessen the suffering of Christ.

I explain this to the children ahead of time. We talk about what would constitute taking a thorn out of the crown. Examples might include:

  • Helping mom in the kitchen without being asked
  • Not arguing with a sibling when it would be so easy to get upset
  • Taking out the trash when it is your brother’s chore (but doing it for him out of the goodness of your heart)

The objective is that by the end of the 40 days of Lent, all the “thorns” will be removed.

When Lent is over and all the toothpicks are gone, we celebrate Jesus’ triumph over suffering and death by placing either sticker flowers or cloth flowers, from a craft store, on the crown of thorns. We also remove the purple penitent cloth and replace it with a white cloth, symbolizing the Resurrection.

You can also leave the crown of flowers in the center of your table for the 50 days of Easter.

One book about Lent that has been very helpful to me over the years (click picture for more info):

Another great book that I highly recommend (click picture for more info):

Both of these books are awesome.

Have a holy Lent!


  1. Margaret,
    You have such wonderful, simple, family friendly ideas that so enrich our spiritual life. Thank you for sharing these ideas!!

    God bless,

  2. sarah curtis says:

    Awesome…I have the Family Journey book. This has reminded me to take it out!

  3. What a beautiful idea! And the best thing about it is that you see tangible results as Lent wears on — just when it gets hard to keep on going. Thanks Margaret! Can’t wait to try this one.

  4. Thanks so much, Margaret! You are such a gift to us. I asked the kids about this, and they all seem really excited about doing the crown of thorns. My kids didn’t really seem into Lent bofore. Maybe now they will get into it. Take care and God bless!

  5. We have the Family Journey book too and it’s awesome! Thanks, Margaret, for sharing your ideas!

  6. Your ideas continue to please … from both a spiritual as well as from a practical perspective. And it’s fun, too!!! Thanks for sharing it!

  7. Courtney Barras says:

    Just checked it out and it’s fantastic!!! I get excited that now my kids will be enriched with SO many of your great talents! I agree with what everyone else just wrote you… simple, tangible, and family friendly ideas are a gift to us mommies! It gives me excitement and peace at the same time, that I can share these with my kids. Thank you a million times over!!!! Yea!

  8. I like this much better than the salt dough crown. I have to admit I was never to keen on doing it, since it seemed so messy. But the grapevine one you made is a lot cleaner looking and not so big!

  9. fantastic ideas. I’m so happy to have found your blog from Small Things.

  10. Judy Bailey says:

    CAn someone tell me how to dye the toothpicks. What kind of dye?

    • Margaret Bereit says:

      It is the dye in the laundry products area of a grocery store. It is a liquid and they have different colors. I bought black. Hope you can find it!

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