• "Everything is a grace, everything is the direct effect of our Father's love—difficulties, contradictions, humiliations, all the soul's miseries, her burdens, her needs - everything, because through them, she learns humility, realizes her weakness - Everything is a grace because everything is God's gift. Whatever be the character of life or its unexpected events—to the heart that loves, all is well."
  • - St. Therese of Lisieux

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Road To Easter: Holy Week Activities for Little Ones

Our Lent activities consisted mainly on stories and re-telling them.

And so will our Holy Week activities. We will be continuing our family traditions, from both sides of our families and make new ones - our new nuclear family. But of course we will be doing some easy activities to show God we love him.

I have made a road map to guide us as we learn about Jesus' journey to the cross and until His resurrection. 

You can download it here.

And if you don't have a Jesus of Nazareth wooden doll YET, you can download and print one here. Cut, laminate and stick it to a toilet paper tube, and you're ready to go.

download here

Story: The Triumphal Entry (Matthew 21:1-11)
Activity: Go to mass, wave your palms and have them blessed. Last year, we were late. Not for mass but late that there were no vacant seats left. I noticed that there are more people coming to mass during these 'Holy days'. So this year we'll be ridiculously early so we can choose our seat to get the 'best view'. I figured that when Teo sees what is going on at mass, he is more likely to refrain from wiggling too much.

We will be reading the story form the book 'The Life of Jesus' by Adarna House and Bayard Assumption Media Foundation.

I sometimes show where the passage is on my Bible and try to read a line or two. You can also show the picture and words on the printable road map to help your child understand further.

You can find similar stories here and here. I think it would be best to print out the text instead of reading from a tablet or laptop so your child can focus on the story.

Talk about the palms, the donkey or how the people were so happy while some did not like Jesus at all. 

Encourage your child to ask questions too.

Story: Cleansing The Temple (Matthew 21:12-17)
Activity: Build a temple using blocks. This will be a family activity. You can read about what the temple looked like during Jesus' time here. Of course it does not have to look like the temple. It is always best to have your child lead during play.

Story: The Withered Fig Tree (Matthew 21:18-22)
Activity: Make a tree craft. Teo has been interested in trees (and seeds) lately because the acacia tree in front of our house has been shedding leaves and dropping seed pods. We have already collected twigs and leaves. 
Go on a nature walk and try to collect leaves, twigs and other things you think might be used. You may do it on a weekend so you'll have all materials prepared on Tuesday.

You will need: some leaves and twigs, white glue and a tree template. Arrange the materials in a tray and invite your child to do the activity after the story. Glue the twigs on the branches of the tree template and then the leaves. 

You may also want to introduce new vocabulary while doing the activity. 

Withered - become dry and shriveled 
Thrive/flourish - to grow

Story: The Plan to Betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16)
Activity: Count 30 coins. Teo has learned to route count up to 10 already and was very surprised when he discovered that there were more numbers after 10. Now he counts until 20 but still mixes the 'teens' up. 

Prepare 30 coins (real or not) and put them in a pouch. Show the pouch as you tell the story. Count the coins with your child after.

Story: The Lord's Supper (Matthew 26:26-30)
Activity: This is one of my favorite moments in Jesus' life. I always imagine myself with Jesus and his apostles. Wash each others feet before dinner. We will be starting this tradition this year. I think it is a wonderful way to remind each other what Jesus commanded us "Love one another." (Read John 13:1-20)

You will need: a small wash basin, a pitcher and a towel.

Nanay will wash Tatay's feet. Tatay will wash Teo's feet and Teo will wash Nanay's feet. Your child may need assistance in pouring though. You may put just a little water in the pitcher if your little one will be doing the pouring.

After a family member washes the feet of the other, continue showing love and affection by hugging and kissing that family member then add 'I love you __'. 

If you can, go to mass in the evening and participate in your parish's activities. I'm sure there will be a reenactment of the washing of the feet at mass.

Story: Jesus Prays in the Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46)
Activity: Go into a garden, any garden to pray. In our case, I would love to go to the gardens at the grounds of St. John Bosco parish in Santa Rosa and pray as a family. 

If you're going to do Visita Iglesia with your little ones, you might as well look for a church with a garden so that like Jesus, you may pray to God amidst nature.

We will just be reading the stories on the road map all throughout the day. But I will try to finish with the Crucifixion at 12 noon. 

We ill also be attending the Veneration of the cross in our parish. We have done this last year with Teo already. Afterwards, we will go to Cabuyao to watch the procession. This has been a family tradition eversince - way before I was born. 

Our family (mother's side) has a life sized Santo Entiero. It is brought out to be processioned and venerated during Good Friday. Last year, Teo was too little to join. And he sprained his ankle earlier that day so we just watched the procession pass by in from of my Lolo's (Grandfather's) house. We might join the procession this year. 

I encourage you to join the procession in your parish too. It would be a wonderful way to show your children your love and devotion to God. They can be pushed in their strollers anyway. 

Story: The Guard at the Tomb (Matthew 27:62-66)
Activity: After reading from the Bible, we would be looking though the pictures in the Stations of the Cross booklet. It would be such a blessing to listen to our little one's insights on all that has happened this week. 

This is a good way to help your tot or preschooler learn how to express himself or herself, or ask questions. 

I hope that this post will inspire you to observe the Holy Week with your family. 

Have a blessed Holy Week!

More resources on how to observe Holy Week with your family

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Celebrating The Feast of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary

March 19 is the feast of St. Joseph. He is the patron of unborn children, fathers, social justice, travelers, workers, the universal church and a happy death. 

St. Joseph was the foster father of Jesus and the husband of Mary. Our family often seeks his intercession especially when there are major decisions to make as husband and wife. He truly interceded for us before and during our adoption process. 

So Noli and I came up with a few activities for us to do as a family. And to introduce Teo to this beloved saint.

Read Stories About St. Joseph

We will be reading the book The First Christmas again. We bought this book at The Learning Basket. The book tells about how Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem up until they fled to Egypt and settled in Nazareth. I like the wordings, Joseph says to Mary; 
" So now we will go to my home town in Bethlehem together. We will put our names on the list of taxpayers together. We will be husband and wife, together forever."     
And then of course, retell the story using our wooden dolls

Pretend Play

St. Joseph was a loving father to Jesus. An invitation to play using 'Teddy' and a box for a bed would most likely encourage Teo to play 'caring for baby'

Teo and I have been playing with 'Teddy' {Teo's bear} occasionally and he loves putting 'Teddy' to sleep. Its heart warming to watch him imitate his Tatay when he puts Teo to sleep. Sometimes, he imitates me. 

A make-shift bed using a small box would do as a bed for a doll. Use a stuffed toy if you don't have a doll. You may have to verbally invite and encourage your toddler to play with you at first. If your tot has already engaged in pretend play before, then it will be easy to introduce this. 

Be a Carpenter         

We have played with tools {real ones and toy ones} last time when we celebrated the feast of St. John Bosco. Since then, I have rotated these tools a couple of times already. This time we will try to drive small nails into soft wood this time. Check some of these links out for more ideas:

Montessori Inspired Woodworking Activities 

The Nuts and Bolts of Learning With Tools 

Hand and Eye Coordination with a Hammer & Tees

Woodworking with kids

Fine Motor Ice Picking in Preschool

And if Daddy, Papa or Tatay has a knack for building and fixing things, your little one could help out when he has to repair stuff. 

Pray to St. Joseph

We will say this prayer to St. Joseph during our night prayers. 

Cook and Eat Minestrone

While searching for activities to do on the feast of St. Joseph, I stumbled upon this website. And found out that minestrone is traditionally cooked on his feast day. Since our family loves minestrone {Teo included} we will be preparing and eating this meal together. 

My art journal entry @weenaswatercolors
Special Day for Tatay

Although we always thanks and honor Tatay, Teo and I will do a little honoring ceremony for Tatay for all that he does for us. We will be singing the Lava Song, with me on the ukulele, to Tatay probably after we finish dinner.

You may want to honor Daddy, Papa of Tatay on this day too by making a poster or card, singing a song (any song!) for Dad or just a kiss and a hug after saying 'Thank you, Tatay, for all that you do for our family'

hope you will have a blessed feast of St. Joseph. 


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