Sunday, October 25, 2015

3 All Saints Day Game Challenges {with FREE PRINTABLE!}

Last year, when I was planning our  Little Way Home Educators first annual All Saints Day party, inspiration struck:  I could use a delightful little book I love as inspiration for all the games.

(Note:  Among the links provided for your convenience below are affiliate ones.  As is stated in our full disclosure, if you click on one and make a purchase, we may receive compensation.) 

My Inspiration

Prayers to My Favorite Saints (St. Joseph Picture Books) is a beautiful, inexpensive softcover book that contains full-page color images and original prayers to 15 saints, along with simple facts and information about each of its featured saints.  As inspiration struck, I decided I would create one game challenge for each of the saints featured in the book and, then, order enough copies of the book for each family at our party to go home with one.  

In reality, the former happened, but the latter did not.  I simply did not get things together quickly enough to order copies of the book in time for them to arrive by our party date.  So, instead, I brought my copy of Prayers to My Favorite Saints to the party, explained the connection between it and the game challenges I had put together for the children to enjoy, suggested that families might page through my copy to pray a few of the prayers within it, and explained that the book often sells for just $1.50 or less online, and, so, is a title that makes a wallet-friendly addition to a home collection of picture books on saints.

Our All Saints Day Game Challenges

Today, I am sharing a FREE PRINTABLE that includes three of the fifteen game challenge sheets that I created.

Each game challenge was brainstormed with six parameters in mind:

  • They would require only materials I had on hand or ones that are easily and inexpensively attained.
  • Some would be simple enough for young children.  Others would test the skills of older children.
  • All could be played independently or with only simple, brief guidance from adults.
  • As many as possible would highlight sensory skills that my child and some of the other children in our group benefit from as a part of daily sensory diet activities.
  • Finally, of course, games should be fun!

I must have done well with my planning, because the children all seemed to enjoy themselves at the game stations, and those that took time to pray along with Prayers to My Favorite Saints commented on what a delightful book it is. So, this year, as I pull together some repeat games for our upcoming second annual All Saints Day party, I thought I would share each of the games that I created last year so that you might enjoy creating similar faith-based fun for your home, homeschool group, or parish!

Up today:

Pin the Crown on Mary

Somehow, I missed snapping photographs of the Pin the Crown on Mary challenge at last year's party.  However, since the set up for this game was quite simple and the play traditional, I am sure you can imagine both how to set up and play this easy game that uses the vestibular sense while highlighting the fact that Mary is the Queen of All Saints.

To set up the game, post a poster of Saint Mary on the wall.  Next to it, post the challenge sheet. Near these, on the floor or on a chair, place a blind fold and some crowns cut from 3 x 5 inch sticky notes.  (Construction paper crowns with tape can work, too, but I find that sticky note ones are gentler on the Mary poster.)

To play, children come to the game area, put the blindfold on, take a sticky crown, turn around three times, attempt to crown Mary, take the blindfold off, and see how they did.  Easy peasy and fun for all ages.

Balance St. Thomas Aquinas' Books 

This game was a surprising favorite that appealed to kids of all ages, including some of our more "sensory kids" in the group.  What a delight it was for me to see such children in full concentration, books balanced happily on their heads, as they exercised their proprioceptive senses, remembering how St. Thomas Aquinas is the patron saint of Catholic schools and wrote many books on the teachings of the church.

The set up for this game was simple: a piece of wood on the floor, the challenge sheet taped to a chair back, and some saint books and children's bibles of various sizes and weights on the chair.  For those who don't want to lug a board to a playing space, though, a masking tape line on the floor or a small balance beam could work just as well.

Build a Grotto Like the One in which St. Bernadette Saw Our Lady

This game challenge recalled how St. Bernadette saw a vision of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in a grotto at Lourdes, France and was more difficult than it appeared.  Stacking small stones to make a grotto shape was do-able, but certainly not something that took little effort.

The set up for this game station was easy, though.  A dollar store cookie tray with a pile of rocks and a small doll were placed next to a challenge sheet
on a table.  Since all of my Mary figurines were breakable ones, I used a Melissa & Doug Wooden Doll dressed in Mary's symbolic colors for this game last year.  This year, I plan to use an Immaculate Heart of Mary Statue Favor (even if it should be an Immaculate Conception one), since I have some of these miniature unbreakable figurines from when we made Mini-Mary Gardens to celebrate Our Lady of Fatima and St. Isadore the Farmer earlier this year.

What I especially loved about the way the children enjoyed our grotto-building challenge station was the teamwork they used at it.
  While some of the games at our party were competitive ones and others challenged children's individual skills, this one unexpectedly inspired children to work together.  What fun it was to see small groups of children coming together to meet success at this station!

Free Printable Game Challenge Sheets

On each game challenge sheet, I included a title for the game, a saint image from Wikimedia common (some of which my own children later used for picture study), a brief fact about the saint, and a short description of the challenge.  Since I have no laminator, I simply placed the sheets in page protectors to keep them from getting wrinkled or ripped as the children made their way through each station at the party.

Children were encouraged to pair up as they went around from station to station so that strong readers were with developing readers, enabling all the children to play the games with little adult help.  This method worked well for us.  Perhaps it can for you, too.  Enjoy using our game challenge sheets!

I hope to share the remaining 12 games that I created with you over the course of the next few days.  However, we all know how life goes, so I am not making any promises.  I will get them up eventually though, so do check back!

EDITED:  All 12 games are up now.  Find the rest by clicking through the links below:

3 More All Saints Day Party ideas with FREE PRINTABLE Game Challenge Sheets.

2 All Saints Day Craft Challenges and a Physical One {with FREE PRINTABLE Challenge Sheets}

3 Skills-Based Game Challenges for All Saints Day

The Final 3 All Saints Day Game Challenges
Will you be celebrating All Saints Day with a party this year?  What are some of your favorite games, activities, and foods for it?


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