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I’m a Catholic convert and mom of twins and I have a confession… Trying to get anything out of Mass with little kids in tow is hard and I often end up frustrated! (Sound familiar)? I’ve been on the search for age-appropriate resources for teaching even very young children about the beauty of this source and summit of our faith… and I have good news! There are resources you can use both in Mass and at home to sew the seeds of faith and gratitude for the Holy Mass.
So good reader and tired parents of toddlers running up and down the vestibule, take heart! You can begin to teach even your very young kids about the transforming nature of the Mass! (Disclaimer - this does not mean their behavior will miraculously transform and you’ll be able to sit through every mass together every time. Kids are kids :)
The internet has been an endless source of valuable information in my search to help teach our children about the mass. Here are a few of the resources I’ve found:
Catholic Mom Blogs
There is nothing like the resourcefulness of moms! There are a few Catholic mom blogs that have been particularly helpful for teaching our kids about the Mass. I’m touching on the big two here with specific links to resources I have already used or am in the process of using.
Catholic Icing - Lacy over at Catholic Icing always has excellent craft activities for kids that are related to our faith. I’m so excited to try her make-your-own-Montessori-style Mass kit for our girls to play with at home. You can see a link to it in her post here.
This has all the details on using cheap items to make your own miniature versions of the chalice, tabernacle, monstrance, crucifix, thurible, paten, and ciborium (whew! There’s a few names in there I don’t recognize! See, I’m really doing this for my own learnin’ y’all ;)
I think this will be perfect to help our children get to know the items used in Mass. We try to sit somewhat close but it’s still hard for little people to see all of the big stuff on the altar. This craft activity and the resulting play Mass items are in line with Montessori principles of making real objects sized just right for children. This is an excellent resource for teaching about the mass at home.
Good for ages 3 and up.
Catholic Sprouts (formerly Do Small Things With Love) - Nancy over at Catholic Sprouts has an incredible array of crafts you can do both with and for your little ones. I used her mass quiet book resource to make felt quiet books for our girls when they were around 2 years old.
Honestly, I think the quiet books are appropriate for even younger children (as young as around 12 months). I used the pattern here to make the books and since I don’t sew, I used hot glue and puff paint! She also has a printable, coloring book version if you’re not the crafty type.
I bet you’re thinking “What?! How can Etsy help me teach my kids about Mass? I thought it was just for cute, quirky, earrings and vintage dress shopping?” Well, there’s a thriving Catholic artist community on Etsy and one of my favorite shops has options for the person who doesn’t sew and yet still wants a cute quiet book for Mass.
BettyJoSews - Elizabeth over at BettyJoSews has options for a quiet Mass book, Latin Mass book, and fabric Mass items (chalice, etc). If the thought of tackling that felt pattern above is terrifying, here ya go friend!
There are other Mass quiet book patterns available on Etsy and you can find them here.
Quiet books are great for ages 12 months and up (provided there are no pieces the child could choke on).
There are several board books written with younger (toddler) children in mind. Here are a few of my favorites:
“A Missal for Toddlers” is available through our friends here at Stay Close to Christ!
I’ve found a couple of videos for kids about the Eucharist and though we have not tried them yet, I am planning to add them to our “learn about the mass” collection!
“The Mass with Brother Francis” is an animated film available from my friends here at StayClosetoChrist.com.
“Holy Heroes - Inside the Sacrament: The Holy Eucharist” is available at The Catholic Company.
There are several Mass-themed coloring books that I plan to add to our “Mass bag” rotation. These allow for a quiet activity to do during Mass that reinforces what children see during the service. The cost for these is very cheap (around $3 or less).
Print At Home Coloring Pages
I regularly find coloring pages I can print at home that fit with the readings for Mass that day. Here are some websites I use for coloring pages:
Catholicmom.com is my favorite resource for Gospel coloring pages relevant to that week’s Gospel reading. There is an entire page devoted to Sunday Gospel Activities and they even have resources in Spanish!
Supercoloring.com - You can easily use the search bar in the top to look up different Bible stories. I printed one recently for Pentecost! This site is great because it shows you related coloring pages as well. There were so may Pentecost themed coloring pages, I printed several!
That wraps it up for resources I’ve used and am using to teach our kids more about the Mass both during the service and at home. I hope you’ve found something useful for your children and family. One of the unplanned blessings in taking the time to teach our children about our faith is that we inevitably grow in faith as well! I’ve loved trying to show our children the humility and grace of Christ’s gift for us that we see in the Mass every week.
Let me know if you have specific questions about making a no-sew version of the felt quiet books. I have pictures/video of ours for reference and am happy to share what my finished product looks like via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.