Monday, May 4, 2015

Celebrating Mary with 10 FREE Children's Activities

It's May, the month to celebrate our Blessed Mother!  In an effort to teach my own children about the beautiful, perfectly humble, perfectly serving, perfectly compassionate mother of Christ, I came up with this simple list of activities.

1. Coloring pages of Mary: You can find a number of beautiful coloring pages of our Blessed Lady here.

2.  "Many Titles of Mary" Memory game:  I found this beautiful pinterest board and this one with so many wonderful pictures of our Blessed Mother with her many titles.  Simply copy and paste the pictures of your choice into a powerpoint document, keeping the pictures small enough to play memory.  Print out two copies of the page and voila', you have a memory game for the various titles of our Blessed Mother.  Remember to discuss the symbolism behind each of these pictures (you can look these up on the internet with a quick easy search if needed).

Here's an example of our memory game for you.  I do not have permission to distribute these pictures from the internet so I can only share our example with you.  I hope this helps. I chose 8 different pictures, including some of the most well known pictures of Mary as well as a few unknown to my son.  His favorite is Our Lady of Guadalupe so I had to add that one! :)

3.  Explain how Mary's power of Satan: To me, this is the MOST important activity you could do with your children this May. Here you will find the theological explanation of Mary's immaculate conception (i.e. no original sin) and her power over the devil written by St. John Paul II.  This is something you as a parent should read prior to presenting this information to your children.  Have your children look up each of the bible verses referred to in this work and explain what they mean.  This will be a GREAT way to explain why we, as Catholics, are devout to Mary and why we pray for her intercession.  Also it's a fantastic reminder for us as adults! ;)

4.  Tradition of the Origin of the Rosary:  Legend has it that St. Dominic shared the devotion of the rosary after seeing a vision of Mary.  Of course this is but a legend and is suspect, we do know he preached devotion to the Blessed Mother via the rosary.  Read more about the origins of the rosary here and find a coloring page here!

Why is it important for our children to learn about the origin of the rosary if we don't really know where it came from, you ask.  I promise you, there will be a time in your child's life where someone will say, "Why do you pray to Mary?" or "Why do you pray the rosary?" and your child will be able to say that this tradition of prayer took hundreds of years to develop into the beautiful prayer it is today.

5.  Compose a Prayer to Mary:  Either in writing or verbally, your child can compose their own prayer to Mary and place on your family's alter or in front of a picture of the Blessed Mother.  My child can't talk yet?  No problem, have them draw or color a picture of our holy Mother and give that to our Blessed Lady.  How this simple act will fill her heart with joy!

6.   Say a family Rosary:  When explaining each mystery ask your children how they think Mary felt.

7.  Dissect the "Hail Mary":  Use this page  or any other Hail Mary printable and take apart each section of the Hail Mary.  Show your children where in Luke's gospel many of these words come from and why we say them today.  Discuss the Annunciation!

8.   Read about Our Lady's Most Famous Apparitions:

      a. Our Lady of Lourdes:  Here is a very good account of the story of Our Lady of Lourdes.  Be sure to discuss St. Bernadette's life and how her body is incorrupt and can still be seen today!

      b. Our Lady of Fatima:  Here you can find the full story of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima to the three shepherd children.  Remember to note the political unrest and the fact that WWI was taking place, and within 13 months of this apparition, the war was over!  This shows the amazing work of our Blessed Mother and why our devotion to her is so important!

      c.  How about some "not-so-famous" apparitions?:  Looking for some Marian apparitions that are not as well known yet still approved by Mother Church? Check out this link!  You didn't know there have been so many did you? Don't worry. I was pleasantly surprised as well!

9.  Decorate your alter cloth:  Grab a cheap white sheet and use markers, glitter glue or fabric paint and have your children decorate it with beautiful symbols of Our Blessed Mother.  Once dry, you can hand it on your family alter for the month of May.

10.  Mary diorama:  You can use any of the Mary coloring pictures above and a box of any kind (we prefer tissue boxes in this house b/c we always have them, but shoe boxes or even postal boxes will work as well) and make a beautiful Mary diorama.  Place it on your family alter or in your child's room so he/she can say special prayers to Mary this month.

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