Use a mint tin box to make a mini-travel shrine. You'll need a container from mints, two copies
of the same holy card or the print outs of an image and a prayer. You might also want to include
small symbolic objects or a holy medal. Glue all these in place so they won't move about in
the container. Remember to include a battery-operated tea light to put in front of it (not shown).
If you are doing this project with a class of children, you can purchase a number of mint tin
containers from papermart.com.
Use a cube-shaped gift box (sometimes Christmas ornaments come in this type of box) to
create a prayer cube. (You can also purchase cube-shaped boxes from suppliers such as
Amazon and Uline.com.) Print out prayers you want the children to learn, including the
Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary, Grace Before Meals, Prayer to Your Guardian Angel, etc. Invite the
children to use markers or crayons to decorate each prayer before gluing them onto the
sides of the box. Tell the children to keep the prayer cube on their kitchen table at home so
that they will use it often. Alternatively, you can use other small boxes to create versions of
a prayer cube that children can use at home.
Have children create this simple cut and paste activity to explore the Lord's endless mercy. Cut
sheet of construction paper lengthwise. Then fold it in three (like a business letter). On a sheet
of drawing paper, Have the children outline their hands and cut out these outlines. Using a
glue stick or tape, glue or tape the hands to the ends of the construction paper. Download the
Jesus head and Scripture verse from the link below this paragraph and make copies. Have the
children cut out the head and Scripture verse and glue or tape to the construction paper.
Invite the children to use markers or crayons to color and decorate the piece. It looks as though
Jesus is reaching out to hug you!
Pope Francis comes to the United States this September. Get a free Pope Activity Book (PDF)
by clicking here. This digital download includes puzzles and activities that will teach your students
about the life of Pope Francis as well as what a pope does. There's even a map of Vatican City
children can explore to learn more about the papacy. Includes an Answer Key. (24 pages, free)
The "Jesus" Boat
Several years ago, archaeologists discovered a fishing vessel buried in the mud
along the shore of Lake Galilee in Israel. Dating from about a century after Christ,
the fishing vessel is typical of the kind used for centuries in that region. You can
see photos of the boat at sacred-destinations.com. Dubbed the "Jesus Boat" -
although Jesus never owned a boat - this boat is probably very similar to the kind
the apostles used. Make your own "boat" to help your students experience something
of what the apostles' were like. With a measuring tape and blue painter's tape, make
a boat on the floor of your classroom. The Jesus Boat is 25 feet long and 7 feet wide
in the middle. Make a rectangle that is 13' x 7'. On both ends add a triangle that is 6'
long because both ends of the boat were pointed, as you can see in the reproduction
above. The boat would have had a single mast with a square sail in the middle. Five
men worked on the boat: one guiding the rudder and four fishing in the middle. Invite
your students to sit in the boat and talk about what it was like for the apostles to
work as fishermen and what their friendship with Jesus was like. This boat is a good
way to enable the students to understand something of life in the time of Jesus.
Almost Instant Service Project: Worry Angels
You will need: toilet paper rolls, ribbon, scissors, and whatever little gift you are
sending. We suggest a small angel or statue of Mary, accompanied by a prayer.
For example, Orientaltrading.com sells "Worry Angels" that come with a prayer.
To make the pillow box, use your thumbs to press half of the edge of a toilet roll
inward. Then press the other half of the edge in. Do the same to the other side.
Place the gift you are giving inside the pillow box and close the edges. (You might
want to fold the gift in a piece of tissue paper.) Then tie a ribbon in an attractive
bow around the container. That's all there is to it!
File Folder Fun
Looking for a creative project to enable children to build comprehension about key
concepts, such as sacraments, the commandments, the works of mercy or the
precepts of the Church? Use an ordinary office file folder as the base and a sheet
of drawing paper cut into simple paper shapes to summarize important information.
You will also need scissors, felt-tip markers and a gluestick or tape. Have the children
to open their file folders. On the open surface, invite the children to write important
ideas and words or draw images. Use the drawing paper, scissors and gluestick or tape
to attach simple paper shapes to help summarize the information the children are learning.
For example, a sacraments projects might include seven rectangular pieces of paper
folded in half to create little doors. Attach one half of each slip to the file folder and inside
write the name of the sacrament. Challenge the children to come up with ways to use
triangles, circles and squares cut from the drawing paper in their project. A neat way
to outline a lesson!
Biblical Times Oil Lamp
Invite the children to learn about Bible times by making an oil lamp. Before beginning,
explain to the children that in ancient times, there was no electricity. In biblical times,
in fact, most people did not even use candles. They used small clay lamps that burned
olive oil. Distribute modeling clay to the children and invite them to make small clay bowls
(about 4 inches in diameter). After they make the bowls, have them pinch one end of the
bowl together to form a small spout-like shape. This spout is where the wick will be placed.
Allow the clay to air dry. If you want to demonstrate how the lamp worked, cut 2-inch lengths
of twine and place each 2-inch piece in the spout end of the lamp. When filled with olive oil
and the wick lit, the lamp will cast light for a couple of hours. Do not have the children
light the lamps.
Simple Paper Pop-up
You will need 1 sheet of drawing paper and 1 sheet of construction paper for each student as
well as a second piece of drawing paper, scissors, a gluestick and felt-tip markers. Fold the
sheet of drawing paper in half horizontally and make two cuts about 1-inch deep from the
fold and parallel to each other. Fold the cut section back and forth and then invert it,
essentially creating a little shelf when the paper is unfolded. Fold the sheet of construction
paper in half horizontally and then open it. Glue the drawing paper to the construction paper,
making sure the fold lines match, with the exception of the little shelf you have created on
the drawing paper. You have created a little greeting card. Now invite the child to draw and
cut out any shape that is in keeping with the lesson. For example, you might have them draw
and cut out a Jesus figure or a Moses figure. We used an old Bible coloring book and cut out
a picture of shepherds. After the children have cut out the figure they have either drawn or cut
from a book, glue it to the front of the shelf on drawing paper. Have the child close the card and
then open it. When they open it, the figure will seem to pop-up from the card. Use this basic
technique to create other pop-up cards with themes from your religious education lessons.
Liturgical Year Calendar
Reinforce learning about the liturgical year by having the children create a simple liturgical
calendar. Each child will need 1 paper plate, green construction paper, purple construction
paper, scissors, a glue stick, and a marker. (Optional: a ruler) (Note: If you don't have the correct
liturgical colors in paper, use markers. Above, we used green marker for Ordinary Time.) Invite
the children to divide their paper plate into 12 pie sections. (Divide into quarters. Then divide
each quarter into thirds.) Label each of these according to the months of the year. Then have
the children cut out two pie shapes out of the purple construction paper, one for the season of
Advent and one for the season of Lent. Have them cut out two pie shapes out of the green
construction for Ordinary Time (before Lent and after Easter). Help the children to glue these
four pie shapes on their paper plates and to label them. Label the sections of white paper plate
for the Christmas and Easter seasons with either yellow or gold paper. Help the children to connect
these time periods in their minds by identifying other important dates in their lives on the paper
plates, such as their own birthday and family member birthdays as well as other significant times,
such as summer vacation.
Embossed Confirmation Candles
For this project, you will need: a white candle, white tissue paper, a pen or a fine point
marker, a glue stick, scissors, a hair dryer and an oven mitt. First, create the design you
wish to emboss by drawing it on the white tissue paper. You might choose a symbol such
as a dove. You can also write the words of a prayer or the date of Confirmation in your parish.
Next, use the scissors to cut the tissue paper and trim closely to the symbol or words. Using
the glue stick, position the tissue paper on the candle and press it gently in place. (See the
candle on the left in the photo above.) Holding the candle with the oven mitt, use the hair dryer
to blow hot air onto the surface of the candle for approximately 30-45 seconds, holding the hair
dryer about 2 inches from the candle. (Note: 2 inches is about the length of your thumb.) Watch
the candle carefully. The wax will begin to melt and the tissue paper will seem to disappear as it
is absorbed into the wax. Do not the let the wax melt too much or the surface of the candle will
be uneven. Once the tissue paper seems to have disappeared (see the candle on the right in the
photo above), let the candle cool for a minute or two. It's a good idea to have an extra candle
if you want to practice first.