Sunday, February 13, 2011

Prayer Prints to Help Kids Learn


We recently did the Image of God Kindergarten lesson on prayer. While Blaise has known her prayers for a long time, I took the opportunity to hang up the Our Father prints in the dining room. We moved from picture to picture (Roman joined in, too) saying the words of the prayer and discussing what the words meant. The kids loved this so much that I hung up our Hail Mary pints on another wall, and we repeated the process.


Having these hanging up is a wonderful way for the kids to learn the prayers and encourages them to pray on their own as well. I've seen Blaise walking along the prayers numerous times, singing the prayers to herself. Roman likes to walk along and inspect the pictures and within a week he added the Our Father to his prayer repertoire and actually joined in at Mass last week!

During Lent last year, I hung up the Stations of the Cross prints, and we walk those at home together. I've found some good books to go along with them, and I'll post about those another time.

I also have the Rosary prints...I haven't displayed those yet, but what I would like to do is mount each of them to a sturdy board and as we (someday) do a daily rosary hang up each mystery as we meditate upon it. I am also planning on knitting up roses to use with the rosary. I have a bunch of other rosary ideas that I'll collect in another post sometime.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Welcome Tatiana!


Catholic Children's Music

Reading Sarah's post reminded me of how much we loved our music time. When Blaise was little, I took her to a Music Together class that we both loved. She really got into the music there and actually took her first steps while absorbed in a song and forgetting that she didn't know how. Having three kids, definitely puts the class out of our budget these days, but I did buy the Making Music Praying Twice Curriculum at the IHM Conference last year.  MMP2 is musically very similar to Music Together and includes a number of Catholic hymns as well. The teacher's guide tells you everything that you need to know about the songs and musical development in children. In the beginning of this school year, I tried doing the daily lesson but wasn't successful at the time. I think that we'll try to restart the lessons in the future...maybe in the spring or with the Lenten season. We really loved the songs on the Fall Ordinary Time CD, and Blaise was singing the Magnificat in better Latin then I will ever muster. 
These days, we've started listening to the Kids Sing for Jesus CD by the Rennas after breakfast while I have my cup(s) of coffee and the kids are still in their pajamas. It's a great way to start the day! I've tried to capture the pure joy Fiona exudes when I turn on that CD, but a picture doesn't do justice. She gets a huge smile on her face, starts bouncing on her knees, squeals and looks for a shaky egg to shake along with the music. All of the kids like the music (so do I!) and sing along. I think it has really helped Roman learn his prayers, as he loves music so much. He loves to sing the Hail Mary and the Guardian Angel prayer. I highly recommend this CD.

Speaking of Catholic children's music...I have to mention my favorite from my childhood which I'm lucky enough to get to share with my kids...the Hi, God! Series. The first and second CDs are my favorites as they are the ones I listened to constantly as a kid, but three and four have grown on me as Blaise requests listening to them repeatedly.
We have a number of musical instruments that the kids like to play along with the music.  Shaky eggs by Latin Percussion are perennial favorites, and Roman picked out a set of mini hand bells at Hobby Lobby with some Christmas money this past year.  The hand bells aren't going to last forever, but they do have surprisingly good tone.  The Latin Percussion shakers are expensive, but I would say that they are definitely worth it - I've seen them online for sale in bulk and would be a good idea to purchase as a home school group.  We've also found a number of random musical instruments at World Market and Homegoods. 
I also made a number of dancing scarves for the kids.  I simply took "floaty" fabrics and sewed a double fold hem all the way around.  The kids like to dance around with them and use them for many other purposes besides music time.

What's your favorite music to share with the kids?