Celebrating The Exaltation Of The Holy Cross With Kids

When living the liturgical year at home, celebrating the exaltation of the holy cross with kids is a fun feast day to keep in mind! It comes around every year on September 14. You can find tons of feast days to celebrate with kids in September here. The cross image lends itself to all kinds of fun crafts and activities, and this is also a great time to talk to kids about what exalting something really means. So let’s take a look at some feast day celebration ideas including crafts, printables, recipes, and more!

This feast day can also be known as the “Triumph of the Cross” or “Holy Cross Day”. 

What Does “Exaltation” Mean? How Do I Teach It To Kids? 

Years ago when I was doing research about my “eXalt” His name craft for the letter X in my preschool class, I read a lot about this word because I didn’t exactly understand it. (Y’all never knew the amount of research that goes into designing preschool crafts, huh? Haha!)

Basically to exalt something as a verb means to lift it high or speak highly of it, but to the degree of really dignifying and honoring it. For my preschool craft, I decided the best way to communicate this idea to them was to put our craft on skewers and literally lift the name of Jesus above our heads! I thought this was an awesome concept for kids in explaining exaltation to them. 

So if you want to click over to my exaltation preschool craft, most cross crafts could be easily converted to include this concept. 

The cross itself is the most recognized symbol of the Christian faith, so by exalting it, we are exalting Christianity! We are also proclaiming Jesus’ victory over death and good prevailing over evil. 

Talk About Saint Helena

St. Helena is credited with discovering the true cross, after which the Church established this feast day. There is a really great document that explains the connection of St. Helen to this feast day here. Definitely worth the read!

If you have the Picture Book Of Saints book that I like to recommend as a really good beginner kid Saint book to start your Catholic library with, then you can find St. Helen’s (St. Helena’s) story on page 77.

You can print a free beautiful St. Helena coloring page from The Catholic Playground. Perfect for this day!

Saint Helen is also included in my set of ABC Saints! This is a super fun and easy craft. Just print, color, cut, and staple into a loop to make her stand up. These little Saint crafts also make an excellent centerpiece for a feast day table! 

Ways To Celebrate The Exaltation Of The Cross

There are many ways to celebrate this feast day without going to a ton of work or worry, and many ways to make it meaningful and memorable for kids! Here are some ideas that you might find helpful.

  • Pray the sign of the cross. If your kids don’t know yet that this is an entire prayer, educate them! This is a great day to check on the kids and just double check that everyone is doing it correctly. Here’s my post on how to teach children to make the sign of the cross. 
  • Display a cross prominently in your home! If you have a home altar, be sure to place a cross there for the day. This could also be a great day to go through your home and ensure that each room has a cross or crucifix in it, which is an old Catholic tradition. 
  • Pray the stations of the cross– another perfect prayer activity for today! If you are doing this at home, you should check out my printable stations of the cross for kids here.
  • Decorate an existing cross on the wall- I love this idea from Catholic Inspired! Check out how she decorates around her wall cross on this day to bring extra attention to the cross.
  • Make a recipe with basil– the legend says that the true cross was discovered under a large growth of basil! You can read more about St. Helen and the legend of the basil here, which is what makes this feast day traditionally associated with basil. 
  • Have a home veneration of the cross. There are some great directions on how to do this easily at home here.
  • Make fun crafts or recipes in the shapes of crosses. I have tons of resources below to help you find some cross ideas that your family will love! 
  • Pray the St. Francis cross prayer. You have probably heard this before during the Stations of the Cross but perhaps didn’t know that is was from St. Francis! “We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.” 

This could also be a great day to start a cross wall in your home! We love ours and I often collect new crosses at special occasions or as souvenirs on vacation.

Crafts For The Exaltation Of The Holy Cross

I have a really fun round up of cross crafts for kids of all ages here. All of these would be perfect for celebrating this special day!

 

I have these super fun happy crosses that print and easily assemble to stand up that would be perfect for today! These are so fun to color and kids love that they stand up! 

I also have a free video on YouTube for how to draw a cross for kids. Nothing is easier than a how to draw video!

I also have this super easy Jerusalem cross craft that could be perfect for celebrating!

Fun Food Ideas For The Exaltation Of The Cross

As mentioned above, basil is a traditional food eaten on this feast day! My family loves this easy brocoli and pesto pasta recipe, and I love recipes that don’t require that I cook meat lol. Also a great recipe for Fridays. 

I also have a whole round up of edible crosses! So be sure to check out all of these cross food and snack ideas for kids.

 

Printables For The Exaltation Of The Holy Cross

My printable happy cross craft would be so easy and perfect for this feast day! I love how they stand up on their own once you staple them in a circle, so they become a centerpiece display. 

Angie from Real Life At Home has a really cute cross coloring page that you can print totally for free!

Real Life At Home also has this pack of over 30 adorable cross coloring pages that are great for every age! There are both free and paid options for this pack.

Sing A Song For The Exaltation Of The Cross

I always loved the song “Lift High The Cross” when we sing it at Mass, and it seems like that absolutely perfect song for this feast day! Sing along with the video below.

 

DIY Temporary Cross Window Art

This is so fun and easy to do and a great way to celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross! Find full directions and the paint recipe here.

The feast of Our Lady Of Sorrows is on September 15, so don’t forget to check out those resources as well so long as you’re planning!

You can find even more fun feast days to celebrate with Catholic kids in September here.

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