Art activities allow children to grasp and comprehend lessons through tactile, hands-on learning. Supplementing Bible stories and teachings with arts and craft projects enables young learners to synthesize and analyze lessons through illustration, representation and expression. Encourage pre-teens to contemplate biblical parables and messages with art activities that inspire reflection and foster deep understanding of important religious concepts.
1. Holy Cross Craft
The cross is an iconic image that has represented Christianity for thousands of years, and no Christian symbol is more powerful. Encourage kids to create cross artwork that captures the significance of this. Give pre-teens with palms from Palm Sunday mass and a pair of scissors. Instruct kids to cut two rectangles from the palm leaves, with one rectangle about half the length of the other. Carefully cut two parallel slits lengthwise down the middle of the longer rectangle, just wide enough for the shorter rectangle to fit through, and weave the shorter rectangle through the two slits to form a cross. As kids work, discuss the significance of the palm as it was used to celebrate Jesus, and how those who celebrated Him cheered his death upon the cross just a few days after this historic biblical event. Encourage kids to make connections between the palm craft material and the finished cross in light of these events.
2. Noah's Ark Craft Activity
It might be difficult for young learners to grasp lessons about God’s love from the biblical story of the Great Flood, because of the mass destruction it caused. Encourage pre-teens to create a model of Noah’s Ark, which is a symbol of God’s mercy. Cut the top flaps off a rectangular cardboard box. Use another piece of cardboard, bent in half, to form a gabled roof and set aside. Make sure the roof overlaps the box by an inch on both sides. Meanwhile, have kids cut windows along the sides of the box and a door at one of the shorter ends. Fold each side of the roof 1-inch in from the bottom to form a tab. Glue the tabs into the inner sides of the box to adhere the roof to the ark. Finally, cut an oval boat shape from another piece of cardboard, big enough to place the ark within, and glue the ark down to the base. Using small pieces of paper, encourage pre-teens to write down aspects of humanity that are worth saving, as well as vices in the world that should be destroyed. Instruct the kids to place the things worth saving inside the ark, and things that should be eliminated outside of the boat, into the “flood zone.” Discuss the morals and concepts of the biblical story as kids take turns placing ideas in and outside of the ark.
Dioramas are effective crafts for capturing a moment in time or a snapshot of a story, such as those found in the Bible. Allow kids to choose an iconic scene from the Bible or a parable that has significance for them, and encourage them to represent that scene or story how they picture it by reconstructing it within a shoebox. Provide useful materials such as dollhouse furniture, fishbowl accessories and other miniature items. Supply modeling clay, construction paper and fabric swatches for kids to craft their own diorama accessories from.
4. Stained Glass Window Art
Beautiful stained glass windows are a feature of many churches, and they do much more than simply fill spaces of worship with beautiful color and light. Stained glass windows often depict visual representations of famous biblical stories and events. Inspire kids to do the same with tissue paper stained glass windows. Instruct pre-teens to cut a large, vaulted widow shape from a piece of construction paper. Encourage them to cut out irregular shapes into the window, creating space for the glass panes to show through. Give kids pieces of colored tissue paper and instruct them to cut and tape them so that the fit just over the cut-out spaces they made in the windows. When all spaces have been covered, flip the windows over and use fine-tipped markers to delicately draw pictures or symbols representing different biblical events onto each section. Hang finished projects in a well-let window to achieve the stained-glass effect.
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