Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Altar Gang is a Hit!

What do Easter baskets, a boy hopping down the hallway, three children that took forever to get to sleep one night and a boy sniffing along the altar this morning after Mass have in common?

Among the things that Luke, Nina and Jack found in their Easter baskets this year, were Glory Stories and Altar Gang Cd's.  

Who knew the Altar Gang would be such a hit?
Since then, not a day has gone by without the children (especially Luke) listening to one or more of the CD's over and over with rapt attention and, at times, raucous giggles.  In fact, the Altar Gang seems to have become woven into the rhythm of our days for the time being.

My cue, some mornings, that Luke is awake has been the sound of his shuffling feet and then the Altar Gang character voices emanating from the boys' room.

Then, later in the day, the Altar Gang characters enter into lesson and play time.  The kids ask questions about vocabulary words they have heard; we talk about faith and character truths related to the CD's'; Luke and Nina illustrate visual scenes they have imagined while listening to the CD's; and, of course, there is lots of dramatic play!

Luke as AJ the Aspergillum
The dramatic play began early last week when Luke cracked me up by hopping down the hallway , asking, "Mom, who am I?" only to answer his own question before I could respond to him.  "I am AJ.  I am AJ!  I AM AJ!"

And bedtimes?  Well, it sure is difficult for excited children to fall asleep, so I am about ready to forbid the Altar Gang from the sleep-time CD collection.  But, not yet.  For, as I wrote on my personal Facebook page the other day:
You just cannot go in and be the bedtime ogre when you hear three children joyfully avoiding sleep by dancing, singing and storytelling along to their Easter bunny booty... It is cracking me up.  Keep selling fun, faith-filled CD's Holy Heroes!
So, now you can see how the CD's in the kids' Easter baskets inspired Luke to hop down the hall and he and his siblings to spend hours listening, learning and playing this week.  You also know about how the CD's have affected bedtime.

But what about the sniffing along the altar?

Leave it to Luke and his imagination....

This morning during Mass, the heater at church was knocking.  When Luke heard it, his ears perked up.  He wondered if it was Skiff and AJ, the main characters in the Altar Gang, perhaps trying to get back into the church after some adventure.  Thus, Luke began inspecting the altar, looking for the altar cloth, the candles and whatnot.  He wondered why our church has no consecration bells.  His mind synapsed with Altar Gang story-inspired hypotheses, which led to Luke sniffing along the altar after Mass for smoke, looking for clues that might indicate a mystery such as the one in We've Been Wronged?

Ah, yes.  Our boy (and his siblings along with him) may not have been as centered on the Eucharist as I would have liked this morning, but they were most certainly interested in the altar.  I'll rejoice over baby steps as they are taken!


What CD's (or other resources) have ignited your child's imagination lately?


(If you receive this post via email and cannot see the linky, be sure to actually click over to the blog to read browse the rich catalog of ideas there.)

Please note: Links to Holy Heroes in this post WERE NOT affiliate ones, but now they are, because WE LOVE HOLY HEROES AND WANT TO SUPPORT THEM while helping ourselves a little, too!   Links to Amazon within this post and others are affiliate ones. Should you choose to click through one to make an Amazon purchase, we may receive a small percentage of the sale. This does not cost you anything, but is a choice we thank you for making. Anything we earn from Amazon goes straight back into training up our children and to much of what we share with you here. 


Karyn said...

How do you present Easter Baskets to your kids? I am stuck in a rut between not wanting to 'lie to my kids' about Santa and the Easter Bunny (and desperately wanting to avoid the over commercialization of holidays), yet also not wanting to be a dull stick-in-the-mud who never welcomes any imagination and joy into their lives by banning these creatures from their childhoods.

noreen said...

Hi Martianne, I'm not familiar with the Altar Gang. Would it be appropriate for religious education classroom use? Or is it too time consuming? Your son has an awesome imagination!

Martianne said...

Karyn, we choose to "do" the Easter Bunny, but in a limited way. We focus on LENT, not Easter until the week before Easter, when we go make a visit to one of the Easter Bunny helpers to take a picture. The week prior to Easter we read a few of the traditional Easter books -- bunnies and all. But, we continue to read MANY Easter story (Jesus) books. We talk a lot about new life, forgiveness, loving Jesus, promises kept. Then, a day or two before Easter, we prepare a few traditional Easter decorations - linking the eggs to new life and a story book we enjoy. Easter "eve" the bunny comes, helping change the children's pray/fast/give jar beans/seeds to lollipops, to represent the sweetness of Jesus. Bunny hides eggs and fills baskets to celebrate the joy of Jesus rising. Our liturgical table also gets changed from Lent to Easter. And, this year, we added the tradition of "egging" friends (prior post) -- which the kids loved! Baskets always include something faith-related and SOMETIMES include LIMITED fun/commercial type things. We don't worry about lying to the kids as we welcome the bunny and Santa as messengers to help us share love and joy and even the tooth fairy to help us celebrate growing in wisdom and stature... I debated long and hard about all this when I realized my oldest's unique needs as I worried about how he'd react one day to adult truths, so to speak. However, he has always shown imagination and a love of stories. Thus, in our family, we decided to enjoy imagination and stories, but also to teach the truths of our faith.... Hope that makes sense.

Nicol said...

Greetings in Christ!

My name is Nicol and I am from Lumen Entertainment. We greatly appreciate your blog and kind words about The Altar Gang. I wanted to email, but could not find an email address. Can you please email me at
Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

In Christ,

Martianne said...

Noreen, I, personally, would NOT use the CD's for a traditional religious ed class. They are fun CD's, with some great messages, but they are long for traditional religious ed classes and are a bit more on the contemporary/modern/imaginative side than the 'meat' side, in my opinion, for class purposes. Sort of Toy Story/Disney-esque in a way but with a faith message... Perfect for supplement and home use, but not necessarily for faith formation classes. I think that the Glory Story CD's are more in line with religious ed in style and content (although even those stories can get long at about 20 minutes, depending on your class.) We also love those here. And, there's the Altar Gang DVD, too, which could be good to get excerpts from. I will let you know once I watch it with the children.

Mommy of Many Hats said...

I'm writing in response to the question you left on my blog post at

Currently, I do have a room dedicated to home schooling our kiddos, however, this was not the case a few months ago, and so I became very creative. I found corners and ends of hallways, great places to put book shelves, and so I stored a lot of stuff in areas where people wouldn't see them per say. When it came to our Montessori trays, I had a cabinet in my living room with doors, a dresser would work too. I'd store all of the activities for learning time in there, then when my littlest one went down for her nap, I dedicated a large bottom cupboard in my kitchen for our shelves. My husband even took the doors off. The kids did their work at the kitchen table, and it worked out pretty well. I'll admit, it's much easier having an entire room, but I still end up storing boxes in the attic when not in use. Hope this helps!

Oh, and I don't have pictures up yet, because the room isn't the way I want it to look. I still need to paint and obtain some more shelving. Right now we have two shelving units. Each shelf of each unit, is dedicated to a subject of study, rather than a whole shelving unit.

Supriadi said...

nice article

Supriadi said...

nice article


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