Each year during the season of Lent, we try to find unique and creative ways to help teach children about the Liturgical season of Lent as well as the final days of Jesus’ life. In previous years, we have use our “passports” and had a full-fledge Journey to Easter. This year, we focused on creating a lasting keepsake that we hope families will cherish for years to come.
I know that it is my prayer that my son and daughter who each made these will someday pass them on to their kiddos!
When planning for the Lenten Season this year, our Family Ministries Staff scoured the internet and the books on the shelf and our own hearts and brains for something that wouldn’t just be a “throw away craft.” You know the kind…those crafts that never even seem to make it in the front door of the house, but often get stuck under the car seat or crumbled up on the floorboard. If they do make it into the house, they might not get passed the household “drop zone” before being forgotten forever.
We stumbled upon this wonderful idea from a great blog that I follow called “Catholic Icing.” I find that while I am not Catholic and sometimes have to “tweak” a few things, this is really one of my favorite sites and definitely a “go to” for Children’s ministry ideas quite often. We immediately fell in love with the idea of a Holy Week Peg Doll set for each child to make. What I especially loved about this downloadable pattern from Catholic Icing is that the body of each peg doll is paper that is simply glued on—no need to paint!
We purchased two of the peg doll pattern sets (The Passion Set and The Resurrection Set) and then chose just 8 of the pegs for our own use. Our goal was that at the end of the study, the children could use the pegs to retell the four “main” stories from Jesus’ last week: Triumphal Entry (Palm Sunday), Last Supper/Washing Feet (Maundy Thursday), Arrest/Crucifixion (Good Friday) and Resurrection (Easter Sunday). We (and by we, I really mean Beverly, our Family Ministries Assistant) created the most precious “props” for each story, too, to help the children be able to tell and retell the stories. We divided the project over four weeks and the children completed them during Sunday School.
In our setting, we had our older kids (2nd-5th grade) make their own faces/heads on each of their eight dolls and we chose to use Sharpies instead of paint because we felt that would be an easier medium for the children to really feel successful in their creations. For our younger kids, my amazing Family Ministries Assistant, Beverly, painstakingly (and quite joyfully) drew all of the faces on the pegs in advance, so all that class had to do was to glue on the printed body/clothes for each peg.
Our older class especially loved having some unplanned relationship building time. Each week, as they colored/created their peg dolls, our devoted adults were able to spend time just chatting and working on building up those relationships to last a lifetime! Lots of great “table time” was great and something that we often want/need, but also want/need to “get the curriculum taught,” too, of course. This created a nice balance of both—teaching the Bible stories, but also having time to talk and share life and love together!
We bought plastic shoe boxes and printed a special label for the top of the box. Beverly also created THIS BOOK that summarizes the four Bible stories included in our Holy Week Peg Doll set with photos of each story so that the children (and parents) can remember what pieces go with which story.
The children got to take home their Peg Doll sets on Palm Sunday and that week I received two notifications from two families that warmed my heart! (See photos)
This is what it’s all about…partnering with families to create opportunities for faith development to happen outside of the walls of the church and outside of the Sunday morning. We only have kids in our care within the children’s ministry for an hour or two each week (at the most!) Parents, though, have up to 3000 hours/year to seize the opportunity to teach them about God, Jesus, Faith, Bible and more. Our job as church is to help equip families to do be the primary source of faith development for their children.