This activity resource book for catechists and group leaders consists
of crafts, group-building activities, cooperation games, music (simple
lyrics to known tunes), and snack recipes with step-by-step directions.
Covering the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time,
it can be used with the Celebrating The Lectionary program or with
any other catechetical program. Users of the CTL God With Us, Pray &
Celebrate, or Righteous Living packets will receive one of these booklets
in each packet.
See also: Catechetical Resource Book for Youth–Adult
Table of Contents
Introduction to Skills and Methods
Social Awareness Resources
Seasonal Symbols, Images, and Crafts
Basic supply Kit
Music Resources (Songs to Familiar Tunes, Action Poems, and Chants)
Introduction to Skills and Methods
Welcome to the Catechetical Activity Resource Book for Ages 3-11. We developed this book to offer new and experienced catechists a handy resource for enhancing catechetical planning and preparation. It is distilled from fifteen years of materials in Celebrating The Lectionary, a lectionary-based, whole-parish catechesis curriculum for parishes and schools (published by Resource Publications, Inc.) This book contains a wealth of ideas in the areas of biblical costuming, crafts and games, as well as seasonal ideas and information. An alphabetical index is included for your convenience.
A key ingredient in our Judeo-Christian heritage has always been storytelling. You can use many kinds of stories to hold a child's attention:
- •Flannelboard: This is good for stories that have characters who move in and out of the story. You need a flannelboard or large piece of cardboard covered with felt. You can cut out pictures or patterns and mount them on felt or coarse sandpaper. Hand the pieces to the children, and ask them to place them on the board at the right time. You can leave the flannelboard set out so the children can retell the story themselves. Store the pieces in a self-sealing plastic bag or envelope.
- Fingerplays: These encourage participation, develop memory, and absorb attention.
- Clothesline: This is especially good for stories in which you want to convey a timeline.
- Puppets: Hand puppets bring characters alive. Stick or tube puppets give children a chance to have their own characters participate in the story.
- Biblical Pictures: These help present key images and allow the children to finish telling the story based on what they see in the pictures. A variation of this, the Flashcard Story, allows you to show the picture while checking the narrative on the back.
- Participation Story: These allow the children to act out or make appropriate motions during the narrative. This is a good time to provide the Biblical Costume Box full of creative resources to spark young imaginations.
- Acting Out: Even young children love to act out stories. Bible stories are made more exciting if simple biblical costumes are used.
- Storybook: Use illustrations to aid in the telling of a biblical story.
- Straight Narrative: This method can be difficult because it relies purely on the skills of the storyteller.
Even with props, the story must come through the teller -- not only through the voice, but also through facial expressions, especially the eyes.
- Learn to tell the story in your own words so you can maintain eye contact with your audience. If you need to, occasionally glance at the story. For this purpose, mark five or six key words with a yellow highlighter.
- If you find you lose the attention of the children, ask some questions to bring the group back to you again.
- Visuals help keep children focused and help them remember the story. However, visuals should not remain static. Discuss the pictures. Ask questions about who is in the picture and what is happening. Flannelboards are helpful for young children, especially if they can hold a piece and become part of the story themselves.
- If you read from a book, hold it facing the children, and read it from the side. Again, stop periodically to ask questions about the pictures.
- If you ask a question, do not be afraid to wait for an answer. If no answer is forthcoming, rephrase the question. Use questions that cannot be answered with yes or no.
- Enliven your story with dialogue, action words, sound effects, and facial expressions. Make faces, cry, and laugh.
- Storytelling is an art that grows through practice. Try practicing in front of a mirror or with your own children to gain confidence. If you have access to a video camera, record yourself storytelling to see how you are doing.
Biblical Costumes and Props
Children love to act out stories. With your help, the children can interact with the biblical stories, relating them to their own pain, joys, and discoveries. Dressing up in biblical costumes helps set the stage for children to use their imaginations. The stories become more real as children dramatize them in their own words. If you do not sew, this is a wonderful time to enlist the help of others in your parish who want to contribute to the program by sharing their talents. If possible, keep a biblical "Costume Box" to store a variety of props. Include costumes, lengths of fabric, jewelry, pouches, sandals, and fishnet, or make a campfire prop around which you can tell the story as exciting additions for stories.
The basic garment for both men and women was the tunic. It was often woven in a single piece on a wide loom. The loose tunic allowed air to circulate and helped keep the body cool.
- Use old sheets.
Spread out a sheet, and draw the simple pattern as per illustration. Cut it out. Fold it in half, and cut a hole out of the center for the head.
The cloak was a sleeveless garment that was worn over the tunic. It became a robe by day and served as a blanket by night.
- Use old sheets.
Cut a length of sheet from the participant's shoulders to his or her midcalf. The width should be approximately 1 yard (or a meter). Fold the two lengthwise edges in toward the middle, and mark the neckline/shoulderline with a pencil. Sew the seams of the shoulders and the side (leaving space for the armholes).
Men wore a variety of headgear in biblical times. The headgear indicated their economic status. Men of poorer circumstances sometimes wore brimless caps. Those of higher status wore turbans. Men sometimes wore head scarves, mainly for warmth. They draped these loosely over the head and held them in place with a headband of narrow twisted strips of fabric wound around the head.
To make a headscarf:
- large square of fabric, strips of cloth or a nylon stocking
Cut nylon stocking (or other scrap fabric) into 1-inch strips. Place square of fabric over the head. Stretch the nylon over the square of fabric to secure the cloth on the head.
To make a brimless cap:
- black felt or paper
Cut felt into a 10-inch circle. Fold into fourths and trim as shown. Tape each "seam" closed to form a small brimless cap. (Option: Glue a small button in the center.)
Women usually wore a long head cloth or veil. Often a padded ring was attached to the top of the headdress so they could comfortably carry a pitcher of water.
- lightweight cotton fabric, self-stick closures
Cut a rectangle of fabric (depending on the length required) from shoulder
to ankle length. Place the fabric over the head, and determine where to
place the self-stick closures so the scarf feels secure on the head. (Tip:
Pull edges of the fabric away from face, the and hold it at the back of
the neck. Sew the self-stick closures along the edges of the fabric where
they meet at the back of the neck.)
Seasonal Symbols, Images, and Crafts: Page 9