The Catholic religion is full of history and tradition. Whether a child is practicing Catholicism or simply interested in the faith, she has many places to start learning. Some topics are more advanced than others, but with a few steps, even a child can understand the meaning of some Catholic lessons.
The catechism is a starting point for understanding the Catholic faith. The catechism has been reformed for children to offer 145 easy-to-understand questions and answers. The Reformed Reader website has a version of the catechism designed with children in mind. Offer daily catechism review by asking and answering one question from the children's catechism each day. Make a catechism board to mount each question and answer to allow for easy review. Place the questions on one side of a flashcard with the answers on the back. That will make for a quick flashcard review at the end of each week.
Advent is a celebration of Christ for the Catholic faith that begins on the fourth Sunday before Dec. 25. An Advent chain can be be created to count down the days of Advent and days until Christmas. Cut a long strip of paper for each day and staple it to form a small circle. Attach each new strip to the next to form a chain. Hang the chain from a door or on the child's wall and allow them to remove one piece of the chain each day. You can go a step further by placing notable pieces of Scripture or activities to be completed on the back of each chain. An Advent wreath is another staple of the Advent season. An Advent wreath is a wreath with four candles on top. Each candle represents a week leading up to Christmas. Each week the child should light one candle until Christmas Day. Make the Advent wreath together and share its significance with the child.
One of the most widely known symbols of Catholicism is the rosary. A child can make her own rosary with basic craft supplies -- the Catechist Community has an easy tutorial to follow. After the child has created their rosary, she must understand the meaning and prayers behind the rosary. To pray with the rosary is not simply to say one prayer, but rather a series of prayers and reflections. The most basic Rosary prayer encompasses six simple prayers. Along with the prayers, you need an understanding of the Twenty Mysteries. Each of the Twenty Mysteries belongs to one of four categories: Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful or Glorious. Each day of the week corresponds to a different category. Create a Mysteries calendar that outlines each day of the week and the Mystery's category that goes along with it. Place each of the mysteries under the correct category and you have a basic rosary guide.
Children's books can offer insight into the Catholic religion for children. Books can be found on a variety of subjects from the importance of attending Mass to books of prayers for children. Pick a new topic to cover each week and find a book that discusses each topic. Read the book to the child and then discuss the key points. If you aren't sure which subjects to cover each week, Catholic Mom has lesson plans pre-written for each week of the year. Topics for plans include items such as creation, advent, Easter, the disciples and the saints.
Catholic prayers are used in a variety of settings throughout the day. Outline each prayer and when it should be used in the day. The most basic Catholic prayers include: Our Father, Glory Be and Hail Mary. These prayers can be used at almost anytime and will definitely be found within a Mass service. The Catholic faith has specific prayers for both before meals and after meals that can be recited. The Act of Contrition is another common Catholic prayer that is used to request forgiveness for one's sins. The Catholic Icing website suggests creating a prayer book to write down each prayer and outline when it should be used. Trace the child's hand, or an adult hand if the child's hand is not big enough, and cut out one hand for each prayer and an extra hand for the book cover. Fill the pages with the prayers and allow the child to color the pages and tie them together with ribbon.
- The Reformed Reader: A Catechism for Girls and Boys
- Catholic Education Resources: The History of the Advent Wreath
- Catholic Online: Definition of Advent
- Catholic Icing: Prayer Craft for Preschoolers
- CatholiCity: Common Catholic Prayers
- Catholic Mom: Lesson Plans
- Catechist Community: Rosary Crafts and Prayers
- CatholiCity: A Beginner's Guide to the Rosary
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