Stories can teach children about different tenets of the Catholic faith and about the life of Jesus and other important Biblical people. The stories of Noah, Moses, Jonah, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lion's Den and the life of Jesus and the lives of the Saints all capture a child's imagination. Depending on the time of the year, talking to the children about the meaning of Lent, Advent, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Easter can help them understand the significance of each season or holy day. Spending time discussing the different parts of Mass can also help the children understand and follow along during Mass.
Simple crafts can help children understand the stories of the Bible. Young children can color pre-printed pictures or draw their own pictures based on a story from the Bible or different prayers such as the Stations of the Cross, the Our Father or the Hail Mary. Teach children how to make crosses from their blessed palm leaves on Palm Sunday. During Advent, children can make an Advent Chain or Advent Wreath using construction paper.
If you can remember all the words to that song from the '80s, but not your grocery list, you realize that singing is a very powerful way to learn. It also helps engage the children in the learning process. Classic songs include Kumbaya, He's Got the Whole World in His Hands, This Little Light of Mine, Father Abraham, Jesus Loves Me and I've Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy. The Alleluia and the Holy, Holy, Holy are songs from the Mass that children can learn and join in singing.
Typically a Catholic learns several prayers during their religious . These include the Sign of the Cross, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory Be and the Apostles' Creed. While young children might not be able to memorize all of these, hearing them at a young age can help them become familiar with these prayers. Preschool age children can learn a simple grace to say before meals, the Guardian Angel Prayer and a simple prayer to ask God for forgiveness.
Catholics believe that salvation is not granted by faith alone, but also by good deeds. Even young children can grasp the concept of helping others and will be proud to do so. Children can do chores to help around the house, pick up trash they see while walking in the park or on being patient with their siblings. As an added motivation, for each good deed, place a bean in a jar and discuss how each good deed helps you grow closer to Christ.
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