Experiencing Screen Fatigue? Engage Children with Books This Fall!

Let’s face it: as a result of social distancing, many of us and our children are spending a lot more time sitting in front of a screen these past few months! While convenient, it does indeed result in a kind of fatigue. Do yourself and your children a favor this fall, and get your hands on some great books in hard-copy form. One of my favorites, and a book that my wife and I read to […]

Seven Activity Types That Require No Materials for Participants

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. […]

Old Testament Timeline Activity

Explore some of the Old Testament stories we hear during Ordinary Time with the help of our Old Testament Timeline Activity. This one-page sheet for children pairs the engaging art of Loyola Kids Book of Bible Stories with an activity to engage logical/mathematical learners. Pull out the glue and scissors, and look at stories from Isaac, Jacob, and Esau to the wise King Solomon. Use your Bible or the Loyola Kids Book of Bible Stories […]

Summer Prayer Placemat

Before heading out to enjoy fun activities in nature this summer, pause to thank God for the gifts of the season. Our summer prayer placemat invites children to compose a prayer of thanks in a fun fill-in style. Pull out the big box of crayons, because even adults will want to spend time coloring the cute images and completing the activities on the sheet. Encourage families to pray the prayer together before enjoying breakfast, lunch, […]

Confronting Racism: Everyone Belongs

I’ve always found John 4:4 to be a strangely intriguing passage. The passage tells us that Jesus left Judea and returned to Galilee and that, to do so, “he had to go through Samaria.” The reason it is intriguing is because he did not have to go through Samaria. There were, in fact, other ways to get from Judea to Galilee. While passing through Samaria was the shortest route, it was a route that many Jews avoided, because […]

Bible Bell Work

I always have “bell work” for children to begin as soon as they arrive in the classroom. These are short activities that engage early arrivals as the rest of the class arrives during the first 10–15 minutes. While students are doing their bell work, I can take attendance, check homework, hand back completed work, and attend to other tasks, like notes from parents. One of the easiest forms of bell work I have is Bible […]

Helping Young People Write Intercessions

While many parts of the Mass are always the same (we use the same words for the Gloria; the Holy, Holy, Holy; the Lord’s Prayer; the Lamb of God; etc.), several parts are always different from one Mass to another: the Scripture readings, the homily, and the Prayer of the Faithful. This, of course, gives us an opportunity to invite young people to shape some of the words we use at Mass. In particular, inviting […]

Gathering Activities

Grabbing the attention of young people can be challenging when they go straight to their classrooms after being dropped off. With young people arriving in staggered fashion, straggling in one at a time, we need to have something for them to do as they arrive. Enter the gathering activity. What’s What? Page—Finding God Grade 7 includes a review page at the end of each chapter. Sometimes I use these as a pre-assessment before the session […]

Downloadable Worksheet: Find the Signs and Symbols in Your Church

When children visit a church, they may see sculptures, paintings, objects, and gestures new to them but steeped in Church tradition. Help children begin to understand the Catholic imagery around them with this month’s downloadable activity, “Find the Signs and Symbols in Your Church.” Use the worksheet in the context of a classroom visit to the parish church, or invite children to complete it independently on Sunday. If children visit different churches throughout the year, […]

Coloring Pages with Older Students

Another catechist had a coloring page he recommended—“except for the older kids, of course.” I, as the seventh-grade catechist, took the page anyway. While I never want to bore or insult the young people with an activity that is too young for them, I have found coloring pages to be useful activities from time to time. A simple outline to color can help make a point in a learning station, such as an image of […]

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