Monday, April 30, 2018

Honoring Our Mother Mary {Ideas for May}

Can you believe that tomorrow is the beginning of May?  In honor of this month of Our Lady, I've collected a whole series of posts with tons of ideas for teaching kids about Mary- and through her, modeling Christian life, prayer, generosity, and virtue.

Click on any of the pictures below to take you to a post with more info, ideas, printables, and pictures.

Marian Music Playlist:

Favorite Books About Mary:

Hail Mary Sort Cards:

Angelus Mini Book:

Regina Coeli Mini Book:

Holy Family Hearts Coloring Page and Prayer Cards:

Immaculate Heart of Mary Coloring Pages and Prayer Cards:

Immaculate Heart of Mary and Seven Sorrows Coloring Page:

Mary as the Moon Coloring Page:

Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue Coloring Page:

Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue Retreat:

My Soul Magnifies the Lord Theme:

Marian Bulletin Board:

Mary Garden Plant Labels:

Mini Mary Flipbooks:

Notebook Marian Shrine:

Marian Prayers Flipbook:

Marian Typology Info Cards:

Mary & Discipleship Youth Bible Study:

Family Marian Shrine:

World Mission Rosary:

Brown Scapular Resources:

You might also like these Marian Stamps in my Etsy Shop:

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Sweeter than Honey {May}

The big idea of our Sweeter than Honey CCD theme this year is to encourage the kids to know and memorize Scripture, specifically the Psalms, so that they know that God's promises are so sweet.

Each month, I'll share a set of coloring pages, one for each Sunday, featuring the Psalm from Sunday Mass.  Using special fonts and simple decorations, they are meant to be a quick addition to your weekly class as an aide to memorizing the Responsorial Psalm.  Add it to your opening and closing prayer, give the students a few minutes to color it during class, and send it home to be hung up on the fridge or bathroom mirror.

I know that many of you have been following along and using these tools for your kids and yourselves.  However, as I finish up this post for May, I'm also planning the end of the school year and a transition to a new theme and focus for next year.  At this time, I am not planning on continuing the Sweeter than Honey pages.  I hope that if you loved them, you'll continue to create your own, either with your favorite fonts or even Sunday Readings Scripture Doodle Style.  Thank you for your support of this project, and for dwelling with the Psalms this year with us.

Here's the whole collection:
Sweeter Than Honey Psalm Coloring Pages
Psalms for August 2017*
Psalms for September 2017*
Psalms for October 2017*
Psalms for November 2017*
Psalms for December 2017*
Psalms for January 2018*

And here are the coloring pages for the four Sundays of May:

Click here for the full size Psalm coloring pages for May:

Click here for the half page size Psalm coloring pages for May:
(These fit perfectly inside the Scripture Book cover from this post)

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Little Saint Adventures!

You guys, I'm just so excited to share this news with you! Over the past year or so, I've had a small part in helping with a brand new Catholic kids' app called Little Saint Adventures.  It launched last week, and I am so pleased to finally get to tell you all about it!

Little Saint Adventures is an app that takes kids on an adventure through themed landmarks where they listen to interactive storybooks, play games, solve puzzles, and more all while being taught some of the most important truths of our faith.  Scripture, Tradition, the life of Christ, and stories of Saints are woven seamlessly together in the midst of fun activities kids can play again and again.

How awesome is it that the creators are using the best of available technology to make the faith real and relevant and fun for kids?  What's even better is that they aren't just providing great games, they also want to help support parents as the primary educators of their children.  A companion app called the Parent Portal connects to the kids app and provides info on each child's progress, details on the games, and tons of questions, projects, and resources that can take the learning out of the app and into your living room.

Just take a look at this curriculum overview.  The first five landmarks are complete, including more than 35 kids activities and 75 family activities.  The next landmarks are coming later this year and will at least double the content available.  Click here to read more about the landmarks & curriculum.

Each landmark uses activities like storytelling, games, matching activities, problem solving, etc. to connect fundamental teachings of the Catholic faith.  Interwoven throughout the landmarks are stories from the Old and New Testaments, the lives of the Saints, the teachings of Christ, the Sacraments, Prayer, Church teaching, and more.  Shared in an engaging and interesting way, kids can work their way through the app and repeat activities again and again, learning new things each time.

The warm and appealing graphics and characters are childlike but also detailed and expressive.  Every time I look around the landmarks, I find more well thought symbolism and meaning hidden in the pictures.  The voices, music, and sound effects add to experience (but aren't too annoying for the adults around to listen to ;) ).

The Parent Portal is such a unique feature to this app.  Once downloaded, it can be connected with the children's app.  You can see what activities have been completed and when by each child.  Clicking on an activity provides you with an activity summary and description (so you don't have to play it first yourself!), a list of conversation starters that you can ask your child about the game over the dinner table or in the car, ideas for family activities of all kinds that extend the lessons found in the app, and links to connecting resources if you are looking for even more.

Now that the app has launched, we are all so excited to think about the families that are ready to start playing and learning together using this tool.  I asked Melea, Curriculum Director for Little Saint Adventures, a little more about her thoughts on the app:

Q: What features of Little Saint Adventures make it such a great tool for Catholic kids? 
Melea: I think what makes LSA such a great tool is how FUN it is for the kids, with different activities such as storybooks, shooting games (similar to angry birds) and quizzes. It's reinforcing things they are learning in their homes, Catholic Schools and Religious Ed and giving it a new fun twist! 

Q: Why is the Parent Portal an integral piece of Little Saint Adventures? 
Melea: Our goal with the Parent Portal is to give Parents the tools and resources to feel capable and confident in catechizing their own children! To bring the app out of the technological sphere and into their daily lives. Yes, the app is fun but we want it to be a springboard for conversations and fun interactions for families using it! 

Q: What is your family's favorite landmark (or activity)? 
Melea: My daughter's favorite activities are the shooting ones. She's 6 and will play them over and over and over. She also loves the matching games.

I've already mentioned that the app will continue to grow, but the team has also created some tech-free supporting activities.  The corresponding activity book with coloring pages and games uses the same characters and concepts as the app and you can find it here as well as on Amazon (affiliate link).  LSA graciously sent a sample page for me to share with you to use at home or in your classroom.  I just love the Nazareth Village landmark, and this coloring page features a sweet family scene with young Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Zechariah, Joachim, and Anne gathered around the dinner table.  Click on the image to download your coloring page!

Check out all the details for Little Saint Adventures here, including links to the App Store and Google Play.  I think that it is an awesome resource to supplement the great learning going on in homes, schools, and parishes.  I hope you give it a try and recommend it to a family that you think would love it too!

Monday, April 2, 2018

He is Risen! Fifty Days of Easter Activities

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!
He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Easter Sunday may have been yesterday, but the season of Easter goes on for fifty days.  From now until Pentecost, keep the Risen Christ alive with your kids using some of these activities!

Click on the pictures for the links to the original posts, complete with printables and instructions.

The Way of Light Coloring Book
During Lent, we pray the Way of the Cross, the fourteen stations that tell the story of Jesus' Passion and Death.  During Easter, there is also a set of fourteen stations about the stories that happened between the Resurrection and Pentecost. The Biblical accounts are collected with simple pictures and the Scripture references in this mini coloring book:
 Here you can see a screen shot of the four page printable:

The Way of Light Easter Sunrise
This craft creates a Easter sunrise with a ray of sun for each of the stations of the Way of Light:

The Way of Light Resurrection Eggs
This activity creates a set of Way of Light Easter eggs.  Each egg contains small objects that tell the story of the days of Easter:

The Way of Light Story in a Bag
Using simple objects collected in a bag, this project helps kids be the story tellers of the events of the Easter Season:

Way of Light Adult or Teen Bible Study
Seven part Bible study for individuals or groups:

Paschal Greeting Printable
The traditional Easter greeting in the form of a simple coloring page, great to hang up in your home or classroom:

Easter Playlist
Jam to the sounds of the season:

Easter Posters
Have some fun with lettering techniques and Scripture verses with special Easter significance while making these Easter posters:

Gospel in an Eggshell
Using tiny objects that fit into a plastic Easter egg, wrap together the story of Jesus' birth, death, and resurrection:

New Life Seeds
Connect the death and resurrection of Christ to the growth of seeds this spring time:

Fulton Sheen Quote Coloring Page
"Unless there is a cross in our lives, there will never be an empty tomb; unless there is a crown of thorns, there will never be the halo of light; unless there is a Good Friday, there will never be an Easter Sunday."

Resurrection Eggs
These eggs contain small objects and strips of Scripture that tell the story of Holy Week:

What Easter Looks Like Printable
Black & white and color printable of the symbols of the Easter season:

Regina Coeli Mini Book
During the season of Easter, we do not continue to pray the Angelus, but instead pray the Regina Coeli.  This mini book contains the prayer, some explanations, definitions of words, and pictures to color:

Debunking Resurrection Theories
This graphic organizer contains several of the theories that try to explain away the idea of the Resurrection of Christ.  It could be used as a discussion starter for a middle or high school youth group study on the truth of the Resurrection.

Paschal Candles Craft

Women of the Resurrection Adult or Teen Bible Study
Seven part Bible study for individuals or groups, including Scripture verse coloring pages:

Divine Mercy Sunday
Check out this post for some ideas for celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday:

These activities tie together Pentecost and the Sacrament of Confirmation:

I wish you and the kids in your lives a very blessed Easter season!