This is a guest post by Laurel Whitworth at Aquinas and More.
Sunday school and/or religious education crafts and activities are a great way to get your students involved in class and encourage lifelong engagement with the teachings of Scripture.Activities should not distract children from the message of their religious education. Instead, they should help them retain your lessons by making them memorable and fun. These fun activities can be used to help you plan your classes and help children understand their faith.
Crafts for the Little Ones
The best activities and crafts for young learners are those that involve singing, coloring, and snacks. Coloring and simple crafts are an excellent way to get children excited about attending your courses. All children love colors and creating something they can be proud of. You can help them use this love of crafting and channel their energy toward learning about the Church. Younger children also tend to have shorter attention spans, and you may find that moving to different activities throughout the lesson will help you better keep their interest.
- Noah’s Ark – Teach kids about Genesis, God’s creation of the world, with a toilet paper tube animal craft. This is also an excellent activity for children who are learning about Noah’s Ark and the promise that God made to Noah.
- Jonah and the Whale – There are so many great whale crafts to utilize when teaching your kids the story of Jonah and the Whale. This lesson can help children learn that God has a purpose for all of us and that He is a loving and forgiving God.
- Jesus and the Fish – Try making these fun fish puppets with your students from handprints. This activity helps children understand what it means to have faith in the Lord by sharing the story of Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish.
- Coloring Pages – Various religious coloring page activities are available online for use in religious courses. These resources help kids visually connect with your lessons from the Old Testament to the New Testament and anything in between.
- Joseph’s Colorful Coat – This simple paper bag craft is a good activity to help teach your students about the plan that God had for Joseph and the plan that He has for each of us. It is also a good story for teaching children the importance of forgiveness.
- Jesus’ Band – You can use materials you already have at home and have your students make their very own musical instruments. This is a fun activity that can help children learn fun songs about the stories in the Bible, and it helps you teach them the importance of singing praise to the Lord.
- Rain Sticks – Rain sticks are a fun and simple craft to make with children while they are learning about Noah and the Flood. The story of Noah helps children understand the importance of listening to what God asks of them.
Fun to Make, Fun to Eat
- Joseph’s Jellybean Coat – This colorful jellybean and graham cracker coat is another activity that children will enjoy while learning about Joseph and the importance of forgiveness. Always remember to give thanks to the Lord before eating!
- Red Sea Snack – Use graham crackers, blue icing, and fish sprinkles or gummies to teach children about the miracle of God helping Moses to part the Red Sea and lead the Jewish people out of Egypt. Ice one section on either side of the graham cracker and add the fish gummies. Then help the children break the crackers in half, just like Moses parted the Sea.
- Marshmallow Sheep – The Lord is our shepherd, and we are his sheep. Make these adorable and delicious marshmallow sheep snacks with your students to teach them about how the Lord cares for and provides for us.
Crafts and Activities for Elementary Students
Playing games with elementary-aged children to teach them about their faith is a great way to use up some of their seemingly endless energy and help them concentrate on the lesson—a benefit for you and the kids. Older children enjoy more challenging activities and can use their newly acquired reading skills to learn about God’s message. While children at this age tend to enjoy simple coloring activities less, more advanced crafting is still popular. They also enjoy creative thinking and puzzles, and it is a good age to begin instructing children as to the generosity and selflessness that the Bible teaches us.
- Bible Bookmarks – Bible bookmarks can be made using a minimal amount of paper, a big plus for crafting on a budget. Kids can also use yarn, ribbons, feathers, and stickers to decorate their bookmarks. There are many different templates available online to use as simple reminders of the teachings of Scripture. This helps kids get excited about the idea of using the Bible and will be a great addition to their catholic bible study!
- Picture Books – Many of the themes of the most popular pictures for elementary aged students can easily be recreated by children and connected to the teaching of Christ. The Giving Tree is a beautiful story that helps kids understand God’s unending love for his children. The Rainbow Fish can be used to teach children about how God does not want us to be vain but giving and selfless.
Pay It Forward
- Thank You Cards – Teach your students about the importance of being thankful and of encouraging their fellow man by making thank you cards for the people in their communities. Talk with your students about the many jobs that people do in their neighborhoods without being thanked, such as garbage men, teachers, policemen, and doctors. This activity can be used when discussing the story of Jesus’ cleansing of the lepers and remind children that it is important to always be thankful.
- Good Samaritan Care Packages – Get kids involved in asking for donations to assemble care packages for residents of nursing homes and homeless shelters. Collect pens, stamps, toothbrushes, magazines, and socks and assemble the packages together. Use this activity to teach children about the generosity that we learn from stories in the Bible, such as the Good Samaritan.
- Service Scavenger Hunts – Challenge your students to practice what they have learned about generosity from the Bible at home throughout the week with a service scavenger hunt. This will keep kids engaged in your teachings between lessons and at home.
These are only a few of the ideas you can use to help children actively learn to seek Christ and live His teachings in their everyday lives. When you plan activities for your religious education course, always ask yourself if the activity is fun, good for the age group, and meaningful while learning about the life of Christ.