|OCTOBER FUN. For many kids, October is all about Halloween and even though I greatly enjoy Halloween myself, I want the kids in my religious education class to have wonderful associations with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day which also happen in October. For All Saints' Day every year, our religious education program has a parade in which the teachers lead students dressed up as saints all across the church campus as we sing along to "When the Saints Go Marching In." I try for 100% participation, so I take some inflatable swords I bought for my daughter's PERCY JACKSON PARTY for the kids to carry and extra fabric to use as a cape or headdress for any students who forget to wear a costume. I also make a shield with the theme of the day and have all the kids color it and sign it to lead our class group as part of God's "Army" in the parade.|
|ROSARY SWEETS. October is also the month of the Rosary so this year, I formed a rosary out of donut holes, twizzlers and M&Ms and placed a statue of St. Mary in the middle as a treat for the kids after the Saints' Parade. I had seen the idea on Pinterest. It was a big hit. They couldn't take their eyes off of it and I was able to hold their attention as I went over all the elements of the rosary again.|
MAKING DRESS UP EASY. It's a lot easier to find a superhero costume than a saint's outfit and it's not a given kids (or their parents) will have a favorite saint to inspire a costume so for parents without the inclination or time to buy or make a costume, I've searched around online for EASY costume suggestions from home items to pass along to them. Here are some my favorites:
- St. George. Use old solid color tshirt to look like tunic. And/or carry a toy sword & shield or make a cardboard sword &; shield.
- St. Lawrence. Use dark solid t-shirt to look like a tunic. Attach a cooling grill to the front of the costume or have the child carry the grill to represent St. Lawrence's faith. He was the saint who told the men who were killing him by burning him to "turn me over, I'm done on this side."
- St. Christopher. Patron St. of Travelers. Solid t-shirt tunic or robe. Carry a map or a stick with a travel bag attached to it.
- St. Stephen. White Robe/Tshirt tunic with brown cross on it.
- St. Patrick. Carry a bunch of green paper shamrocks or pin them to a shirt.
- St. Nicolas. Santa outfit or make a white beard out of cotton balls.
- St. Florian. Fireman Costume
- St. Fiacre. Gardener Costume with overall, gloves and a toy spade or toy shovel
- St. Isidore. Farmer overalls & toy shovel
- St. Joseph. Carry a toy hammer or toy saw
- St. Francis, Brown shirt/robe and a white dove made from paper for his shoulder.
- St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Native American Costume. Use a solid brown t-shirt to look like a tunic. Apply gold fringe or Native American looking ribbon to make it into a Native American costume. You could paint on Native American designs. You could also use brown paper bags to make a vest or headdress. You can apply feathers from the craft store to the paper for the headdress.
- St. Cecilia. Patron Saint of Musicians. Child can carry a toy musical instrument
- St. Dorothy. Patron Saint of Gardeners. Solid Colored Robe or T-shirt. Carry a basket of fruit or flowers or a plant and/or toy shovel or toy rake.
- St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Use a Queen costume and add a basket of rolls and flowers.
- Joan of Arc. Knight Costume with skirt instead of pants. OR just a toy shield and toy sword. OR make a shield from posterboard & glitter on a cross.
- St. Lucy. White Robe & corona on head with white candles & greenery.
- St. Helena of the True Cross. Solid Color Robe/Tunic Dress and a Cross to carry.
- St. Mary, the Virgin Mother. Baby Blue & White Robe. Baby Doll wrapped in white cloth to carry.
- St. Theresa. The Little Flower. A bouquet of flowers.
- St. Martha. Carry a toy broom and/or wear an apron.
|DAY OF THE DEAD. For All Souls' Day, I take a papel picado banner, pan dulce (Mexican sweet breads), candles, calaveras (decorated skulls) and other Day of the Dead decorations to make a special display to talk about resurrection and our Christian belief in an afterlife. My husband and I teach R.E. together and our religious education mentor, Mrs. Andrea Bryant, greatly enjoyed Day of the Dead decorations because their bright colors communicate simply the Christian belief of a joyous afterlife with God. I don't spend much class time on All Souls' Day because I have to cover another lesson that day as well, but if I had more time, I'd consider having the kids color and cut out calaveras (decorated skulls) as a craft. My family and some of our friends made some this year for our Day of the Day Party. They were very fun and easy. If you'd like to try some, I recommend the ones HERE. They aren't big projects by any means, but I do think the small touches make class more interesting for the students and give them positive associations with these Catholic holidays which is my goal.|
WRITTEN BY ELDAROSE