I'm so happy to bring you a guest post today with a project that I think many of you will be excited to share with your kids or students. Helen Tine, a mom and parish catechist, has created this beautifully simple book to help young Catholics learn the nomenclature of the items used during the Mass, and also encourage them to grow in familiarity with their own parish church. She generously desired to share it with LHBR readers so other kiddos benefit from it!
She provides a basic structure that names about twenty sacred articles with short, child-friendly descriptions. The pages can be printed and stapled/bound/hole punched, but also fit perfectly in a 4x6 photo album. The pdf includes all the pages, thorough instructions, as well as sample pictures if you'd rather use those instead of taking photos in your church.
I think this book would be a great end-of-the year keepsake for a classroom (especially following or in preparation for First Communion) or could be a great family project over the summer. Check out the Q&A below with Helen as well as some pictures of the book she created. The link to the printable is at the bottom of the post.
My First Catholic Church Book by Helen Anne Tine
-What was your original intention of this project?
When my children were little, they loved the ‘first words’ board books which contain pages of words with corresponding colorful realistic pictures. The books were a fun way for my children to learn the words for everyday objects, like articles of clothing (socks, pants, shirt) and common household items (cup, plate, bed, chair). I searched for a similar book to help my children learn the names of things in a Catholic church; when I couldn’t find such a book, I created this one for my children.
My book contains pages of things we see in a Catholic church with corresponding pictures. Through the years, the project has expanded to include assembly instructions and sample pictures, so others can create the book.
-How do you think creating this book could benefit Catholic children?
While many Catholic children’s books focus on what we do in church during Mass, this book focuses on what we see in a church. A Catholic church is full of unique items including kneelers, a tabernacle and holy water fonts. This book helps children learn the names of items in a Catholic church as well as briefly explaining the purpose of each item.
-What tips do you have for parents/teachers working on this project?
Make it your own! This project includes sample pictures from our parish church, but since many Catholic churches vary in architecture, I suggest personalizing the project by taking your own pictures. The process of taking pictures in a church is a great way for children to see these objects up close and for parents to start a conversation with children about their purpose and importance. Don’t expect to take all the pictures in one session, especially if younger children are involved in the process! You may want to take only a couple of pictures after Mass each week or visit the church during the week to take pictures.
And there are also various options for assembling the book. I used a 4x6 photo album, but there are more creative ways to assemble the book like laminating the pages or having children cut and glue the pages onto cardstock.
-What are some adaptations for older/younger children?
Throughout the project, I share some ideas for how children can get involved with the picture taking process. Children can decide if they want to be in the pictures and choose where to take some of the pictures. Depending upon the chosen assembly method, children might be able to create the book by themselves. Older children could read the book to themselves or to younger children.
Thank you Helen for sharing this awesome project with us!