Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Everything Lent: Activities for 40 Days

Keep the praying/giving/fasting going for all 40 days of Lent with some of these activities:

Click on the pictures below to go to the original post with instructions and printables.

Videos for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter:

Song Playlist for Lent:

What Lent Looks Like Printable:

What the Triduum Looks Like:

Sunset & Shadow Stations of the Cross Art Project:

Lent Notes Foldable:

Lent Word Cloud printable:

Give Up & Take Up youth lesson on Lenten Sacrifices.
***This post also contains links to some of my favorite Lenten videos and online resources for teens.

Youth Group lesson connecting the Stations of the Cross and Lenten acts of mercy:

Using the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy for Lenten prayer, fasting, and giving:

Youth Group lesson connection the Passover and the Passion, using the movie Prince of Egypt:

The Gospel in an Eggshell: Connecting the infant Christ with the Christ that died to give us eternal life- great especially as we have such a short time between Christmas and Lent.

 Ideas for making your own Resurrection Eggs, which are great to tell the story of Holy Week:

New Life Seed Printable:
Great for making the connection to "unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it bears no fruit."  Plant the seeds, see them die, have flowers by Easter!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

From Kids For Kids: Practical Ideas for the Works of Mercy

Each year I try to find creative ways to invite my students into the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  The trouble is that the normal suggestions for adults are not always practical for kids- they often are not in control of things like their own finances, time, and travel.  So I asked my students- How can YOU give and pray and fast this Lent?

Because it is the Year of Mercy, I knew that I wanted to frame their suggestions around the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.  The kids worked hard over the course of two days to come up with a list of practical ways kids could live out the works of mercy.  I took their great ideas and organized them a bit into a printable for each set of works of mercy.

Then, because a dear friend gave me this stellar bobble head of Pope Francis (because what Catholic classroom doesn't need a Pope bobble head???), I was able to set up this little "Lenten Acts of Mercy" station in our classroom.  Posted are the two lists created by the kids.  They are being challenged each week to live out one of the Corporal and one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy.  This is pretty perfect since there are just about seven weeks in Lent :)

I added two jars labeled for the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, red beads in a bowl, and a sign saying "Be merciful as your Father is merciful." When they feel as though they have performed an act of mercy, they can add a bead to the jar.  There are no goals, no counting, no prizes, etc.  I told the kids I had no plan for how long it would take to fill up a jar, and if they did fill one, we would empty it and start all over again.  Too often kids (and adults) are caught up in the what's-in-it-for-us mentality.  This is just a gathering place for some accountability and reminders about our project- a little action that will help make the invisible visible. :)

You could try something like this yourself in your classroom or home.  This lists can be printed below, both with our ideas as a list or blank so you can fill in your own.  The USCCB has some great lists for the Corporal Works of Mercy and the Spiritual Works of Mercy you should check out as well.

 Click here for the Corporal Works of Mercy List:
 Click here for the Corporal Works of Mercy blank page:

 Click here for the Spiritual Works of Mercy List:
 Click here for the Spiritual Works of Mercy blank page:

You might also like these Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy coloring pages and mini books:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Video Playlist for the Season of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter

Videos for your home, classroom, youth group, or Bible study spanning from Ash Wednesday to Pentecost!  Do you have any suggestions I should add to the playlist?

(You can watch in the embedded player below, or click on the image above to go directly to YouTube where you can see the whole playlist.)

You might also like this playlist of songs for Lent:

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sts. Simeon & Anna Coloring Page

Happy Feast Day of the Candlemas!  Today we remember the Presentation of Christ in the Temple and two of my favorite New Testament Saints- Simeon and Anna. Enjoy this coloring page!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Catholic Schools Week 2016

It's almost Catholic Schools Week! To all Catholic educators, administrators, parents, volunteers, parish staff, students, and any whose lives are touched by Catholic education... thank you!  It is a blessing to be a member of this family.

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." 
~Proverbs 22:6

Here are a couple of previous posts I have about CSW:
Catholic Schools Week Thank You Card (printable)
Catholic Schools Week 2015 (bulletin board)

Catholic Schools Week 2014 (bulletin board & Fulton Sheen quote printable)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Spiritual Adoption Prayer Coloring Page & Pro Life Video Playlist

"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of a good government." ~Thomas Jefferson

Today, on the 43rd anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade, thousands will march in Washington D.C. showing their opposition to the decision which disregards the needs of the smallest among us.  My 5th graders and I won't be marching, but we will be praying.  I hope you'll join us!

Click on the image for a coloring page with Fulton Sheen's Spiritual Adoption Prayer:

I've also been working on pulling together a playlist of my favorite pro life videos.  Some are old favorites that I have used/watched/cried over countless times for various Bible Studies and Youth Group lessons (ahem, 99 Balloons), and some are some new treasures.  Most of the videos fall into the anti abortion category, but there are also some about the dignity of the human person in general- special needs, loving our enemies, etc.  I am on the lookout for some good videos about the gift of the elderly, but haven't found anything great yet.  I would love to hear your suggestions for any well made videos out there that help spread a pro life mentality.  Click on the image below to check out the playlist:

You might also like:
Spiritual Adoption Bookmarks
Spiritual Adoption- Youth Group Lesson, discussion questions, and more
Spiritual Adoption Update Postcards
Touch of Life Fetal Models

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Peg Doll Nativity

I love love love kids' nativities!  I mean, I love grown-up nativities too, but who can resist all the cute little characters in kid sized awesomeness ready to be played with by tiny hands?  While I was making this set of peg doll saints and church, I decided to make my niece Violet a nativity for her first birthday, which is just a week before Christmas.

I included Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the three Wisemen, a shepherd family, three angels, and a chunky star.  I also painted the inside of a wooden box with a lid to look like a stable and a night sky, which makes a fun place to play and then a good place to store all the pieces.

She has loved it!  My sister says that it has been one of her favorite toys for the past month.  So far, she enjoys:
-banging them on hard surfaces to make noise (there's something about heavy wooden toys that kids love)
-crawling with people in her hands- they are just the right size for little hands
-transferring the characters from one box to another and then back
-chewing on their heads, especially one lucky little shepherd boy (good thing I used non toxic paint, right?)
-putting all the people in her shopping cart and walking them around the house
-and the latest is wrapping them up in newspaper- my sister's family is moving to a new house, and after watching us wrap and pack all day, apparently Violet decided she would pack her nativity too!

I hope that this is a toy she continues to love, and eventually becomes a natural way for the grownups in her life to help her know the story of Christ's birth.  But for now, chewing and banging and wrapping are pretty fun too. ;)

Here you can see the people a little closer.  Baby Jesus needs a little manger to sleep in, but honestly, right now he is a choking hazard for my niece.  Maybe he'll get to come back next Christmas :).  I am planning on adding the sheep, camels, oxen, and donkey to her set next year, and by then she'll have to share with her baby brother, who will be here in March!

This little mini holy family was a special gift for my other sister, who is expecting her first baby in April, also a boy.  He'll get his own nativity next Christmas! :)

You can check out Monday's post about the ten Saint Peg Dolls I painted, as well as the church, vestments, and Mass kit to go along with them!

If you are interested in making your own peg dolls, I looked for supplies on several sites and at local stores, and made several purchases. These have been my favorites, and the ones I reordered as I plan to start working on the Nativity for my nephew!

In case you want to do some creating of your own:
These are the basic pegs that I worked with for both the nativity and Saints.  I was impressed with the quality, and they were a good value after I comparison shopped.  When I reordered them, I noticed the price had dropped a couple of dollars, so now might be a great time to shop!
Wood Doll Bodies - Woman 3-1/2 inch - Bag of 10
Wood Doll Bodies - Man 3-9/16 inch - Bag of 10

This time I also ordered some wooden eggs and cubes to make animals for the nativity:
Wood Blocks 1.5 Inches 
Wood Eggs 2-1/2"
2 inch wood cubes

So, have you made any peg doll projects?  What are your favorite kid friendly nativities?