So, you’re sitting in Mass and your preschooler is pulling on your arm asking questions like “What did he say?’ Or even more pointedly: “What does that mean?” As a parent, the Catholic Church places high value on how you educate your child. Just reading from the Bible, even a children’s Bible, might be a helpful way to put your little one to sleep. But experience creates memories. So pairing Bible stories with activities that fit the feasts and seasons of the church helps integrate faith with action in your preschooler’s life.
The Feast of the Annunciation
The Annunciation celebrates when Mary agreed to be the Mother of God, according to the Bible. It’s the celebration of the word “Yes.” Talk to your preschooler about different ways to say yes. Ask how she feels when Mom or Dad responds with a “yes.” Read Luke 1: 26-38 in a children’s Bible. Talk about what the angel might have looked like. Talk about how Mary would have prepared for the baby Jesus.
Preschoolers are more than familiar with a Christmas tree. Make a twist on the traditional tree by creating a Jesse Tree with your preschooler. Place a small tree in the house, or even cut one out of paper. Talk about how people of the Old Testament waited for Jesus for a long time. The Jesse Tree will hold 22 symbols, one for each scriptural reading from the Old Testament. Share one of the short readings and place a symbol on the Jesse Tree each day in December as you both wait for the birth of Christ.
Feast of the Epiphany
The Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the day when the Wise Men found the baby Jesus. Read the account in Matthew 2: 10-12 to your preschooler, then follow your own star. Cut a star shape out of cardboard and cover it with foil or glitter. Ask the child to hide her eyes while you hide the star. Give verbal clues such as “you’re getting warmer,” as the child gets closer to the star. When she finds the star, it’s her turn to hide it while you hunt.
To prepare for the activity, cut out several large, hand-shaped pieces of paper. Read several of the healing scriptures in Matthew such as the healing of the lepers, of Peter’s mother-in-law and the woman of Capernum. Add any other healing stories you wish. Ask your preschooler to draw a picture of Jesus helping others on each of the paper hands. Tape or staple the hands to a length of ribbon, creating a garland of helping hands. Hang the garland on the wall where your preschooler can stop and see the pictures whenever he wishes.
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