Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Princess Celebration: Teaching Dignity Young

A few years ago, my Youth Group girls and I hosted an event for the younger girls of the parish, which we called a Princess Celebration.  The Youth Group girls had spent the previous summer studying women in the Bible as well as a little taste of Theology of the Body and the dignity that they have as young women.  We decided to carry the message over to our preschool-6th graders with a day all about being cherished as Daughters of God. I also capitalized on the secular obsession with all things princess. Take the secular, make it holy.


We started by reading them the book the Princess and the Kiss.  If you haven't seen it, it is a lovely "traditional" princess tale with the interwoven message of purity and dignity.  I think that it would be a great way to introduce little girls to the concept of purity that is simple but also true.  That introduction can be built on as the girl grows, instead of just being introduced abruptly.
You can find the book here.
There is also a companion coloring book with matching illustrations and a condensed version of the story.  The best part?  It gives license to reproduce for home or classroom use!  Love it when coloring books allow for that.  You can find the coloring book here.   All of the girls went home with a copy of it.
 
And there is a companion parent guide to the book with lots of ideas that are more suited to the family than to the classroom.  I didn't use too much of it, but I did add it to our resource library and let the parents of kids who came to the event know that it was available.  You can find it here.


I tried to incorporate Scripture into all of the activities.  Here are a few and what station they were at:
  • You are the chosen daughter of the King of kings- Rev. 17:14- Decorating crowns
  • You are the light of the world- Matthew 5:14- Lanterns
  • The King is enthralled with your beauty- Psalm 145:11- Hair and nail station
  • You are far more precious than jewels- Proverbs 31:10- Jewelry making
  • Mary is our Queen of Heaven- Rev. 12:1- Marian paper dolls
We had the girls make some lovely crowns to wear during the day.  The white cardboard crowns were a pre cut-out package, I think from Hobby Lobby.  I wrote the "verse"/theme on them beforehand and the girls decorated with jewels and markers.
We then had activity stations that the little girls worked their way through.  I had about 1 middle/high school girl for each 2 little girls, so they all jumped in and helped. (If you haven't heard me say it yet, having the "bigs" help the "littles" is the best way to do an event like this.  Mentoring, leadership, modeling...it is all there, and the "bigs" get to participate and hear the message of the activities without feeling like they are "too old" to be there.  It is how I pull off just about everything at our little parish.) 

Everyone first made this prayer lantern, which ties in with the book.  It is just a jar (ladies at church saved and washed them for me) coated in watered down elmers glue and wrapped in torn tissue paper.  Hands definitely need to be washed after creating, but not too messy otherwise.  We made these first and set them outside to dry in the sun.  They each got a battery operated candle to put inside to make it glow.  Later on, I snuck out and took all of the lanterns over to the church, gathered them near the altar, and "lit" the candles.  The girls came into the church to a beautiful display and we closed the day in prayer.  They then got to pick up their lantern and take it home to remind them of what they had learned.

Another station was a "beauty" spot.  The big girls did the little girls' hair and nails.  I wish that I could track down permission to share all of the pictures of the girls from the day, because they were adorable.  They were invited to come "dressed up" and some came in their favorite summer dress, some came dressed in something from their play dress up box, and one even came in a pink- fairy-tutu outfit.  All of the Youth Group girls wore dresses and skirts, so it made for a fun and special day.
 We also had jewelry making.  We kept it simple with pony beads, pipe cleaner bracelets, and lanyard necklaces.  No knots to tie or clasps to attach, which was a plus because the majority of our crowd fell in the Pre-1st grade range.
 We had a Mary paper doll station- they loved this! I had some of the older girls help me cut these out ahead of time, and had a set in an envelope for each girl.  Most of them took these home to work on later, which was fine with me.  It was a good quiet activity for those that needed it, and I am always a fan of sending them home with something in hand to continue the learning. You can find the free printable Mary Paper Dolls at this site.  The pdf is in the last section "Games," first link "Dress Up."  They have several different Marian devotions, and I labeled all of the dresses ahead of time for our girls.  Here's hoping that maybe they will know the difference between Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Fatima from these. :)
Of course we had to stop for a snack at one point, so here are our pretty cupcakes near our statue of Our Lady.
These goodie bags were unnecessary, but I got everything in them for a little bit of nothing.  The God's Little Princess bag and journal were from Autom at a last chance clearance- I think that I got them for 75% off,and they were priced in bulk to begin with.  They also got heart pencils and a heart sharpener- which seemed to fit in with our pink-princess-themed day in July, but I picked them up from a dollar store after Valentine's Day in February for pennies.  Really, the bag served its best purpose by collecting all of the projects that the girls made as the day went on.  Then when it was time to go home, everything was in one place.
 We had a great day, and girls still talk about how much fun this was.  I hope this inspires you to find a way to raise the awareness of dignity and purity in the girls around you!

4 comments:

  1. What a great idea!! As a Youth Minister also this sounds like a great idea...when did you actually do this (time of year)?

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    1. Thanks Patty! We did this over the summer on a Sunday afternoon. Think mini VBS- it was 3ish hours, but all on one day instead of spread out over a week. I hope it gives you some ideas!

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  2. This looks like so much fun! My daughter went to Camp Tekakwitha, which is part of the diocese here in Kansas. They had a princess day and her favorite part was when they walked into the chapel and all of the boys at camp lined the center aisle and prayed the Hail Mary as the girls entered. I love your idea of the prayer lanterns. Hoping to find a way to use them this year in my classroom.

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    1. Thanks, Julie! It sounds like Camp Tekakwitha was awesome!

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