For those returning to classroom settings this fall, sharing supplies or handing out materials may not be options due to safety regulations. To help catechists facing this challenge, here are some ideas for activities that don’t require any special materials for participants.
- Prayer—Every session, no matter the format, should include prayer time. Guided reflections, lectio divina, traditional prayers, and intercessory prayer are just a few options catechists can lead for fruitful time with the Lord.
- Art—Visual learners will appreciate the inclusion of art related to the session theme. Finding God Art Prints come on a large easel that can be displayed in the classroom for all to see. The related prayers and activities on faith themes will be a welcome way to explore Scripture and Tradition.
- Acting—Provide students with prompts to create their own skits. Whether it’s acting out parts of famous Scripture stories or demonstrating “what if” scenarios to practice good decision-making, many children respond to such roleplaying. Charades is a related activity that calls only one child at a time to act out vocabulary relevant to the session.
- Stand Up Game—Play a game with young people that gets them out of their seats while remaining socially distant. The catechist has a list of statements ready and instructs participants to stand up if they agree or if the factual statement is true and remain sitting if they disagree or the statement is false. This activity can be a great warm-up to discussion.
- Music—Include music in the session by playing songs from Mass, thematic songs (such as those that accompany the faith formation textbook), or instrumental selections during prayer or another activity. Many students learn better when music is involved in a lesson.
- Discussion—Get the young people talking with discussion prompts related to the session theme. This may include everyone involved in one classroom discussion or, depending on the space available, the participants can separate into smaller, though still appropriately distant, chat groups.
- Digital Options—For students who are old enough to have their own phones they bring to class, digital options such as the multimedia integrated into the 2021 edition of Finding God are wonderful to include in the session. If tablets or laptops are available, the new video game Wanderlight is another great digital option to engage learners.
Catechists, equipped with their catechist manual and a Bible, can proclaim Scripture or read appropriate excerpts from the text to prepare students to participate in any of the above activities. While experienced catechists may have to adapt some of their activity ideas to the new environment, a bit of creativity, help from a strong textbook, and reliance on the Holy Spirit will make faith formation the opportunity to develop or deepen a relationship with God as it always was meant to be.