Crafts are a fun, interactive way to teach your children about their Catholic faith. Children not only feel proud of their creations, but they learn intuitively while making things with their hands. These activities will help children learn about the five different seasons of the church year--Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Ordinary Time.
You can create a pie chart that shows the seasons, and have your children color in the seasons throughout the year as they experience them. See the resources section for an example of a church year wheel.
For Advent, create Jesse Tree ornaments representing important Old Testament events and the people in Jesus' family tree. You can find free ornament patterns on the Internet. Use the phrase “Jesse tree ornaments” in any online search engine.
Your children can also make an advent wreath to count down the weeks until Christmas. Make the base of the wreath out of salt ceramic or another homemade play clay. You can either put real candles into the base or make artificial candles with toilet paper rolls and construction paper. However, the artificial candles should not be lit; they are for decoration only.
For Christmas, have children cut Nativity figures out of Christmas cards and glue them, collage-style, on heavy pieces of 11-by-17-inch card stock or cardboard. Cover with clear contact paper and you have festive place mats for the rest of the holiday season.
You could also make faux stained glass ornaments by gluing colored tissue paper onto white paper that has been cut into stars, bells and other simple shapes. Use Christmas cookie cutters as templates for your shapes.
During the 40 days of Lent, help your child make simple clay figures of Jesus, Mary and the Apostles. Check craft stores for a doll house-sized table, plates, wine glasses and candlesticks. Your child can also make a round loaf of bread out of clay. Use the figures and accessories to help him re-create the Last Supper.
Another simple idea is to create your own Paschal candle. Embellish a plain white pillar candle with beeswax cut-outs, paint pens or gems. Alternately, you can stamp religious images on the candles. See the Resources section for a website that sells Catholic rubber stamps in a variety of themes.
Make a beautiful mosaic cross for Easter with heavy cardboard, some inexpensive gems and glue. Cut a cross shape out of the cardboard and then have your children glue gems onto the cross. You can purchase packages of large gems at craft stores or recycle broken costume jewelry.
Crafts designed around saint or Marian feast days can help your children learn more about Ordinary Time in the church. For example, you could weave a silk flower headband for Mary's May crowning ceremony or make a simple knot and bead rosary in October to commemorate the month of the rosary.
For St. Joseph’s Day on March 19, your child could color and cut out a traditional St. Joseph’s table. See the resources section for a free downloadable pattern and instructions.
Use puppets to teach your children about any of the saints. They can make simple puppets by attaching saint coloring pages to wooden craft sticks or paper lunch bags. See the References section for a website that includes scripts for puppet shows about Saints Peter, Paul, Mary Magdalene and Therese.
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