Sunday, March 6, 2016

Make D.I.Y. Stations of the Cross Prayer and Sequencing Sticks

We've added a new tool to our Stations of the Cross prayer and learning times:

Stations of the Cross Prayer and Sequencing Sticks

The inspiration for our sticks came from a post I found on Hands-On Bible Teacher, and the prep work for them was done by my friend Charisma, who kindly prepares and leads a monthly Children's Adoration meet up for our local homeschool group.  Another friend, Marijanna, took many of the pictures I am sharing in this how-to.  She is a fellow blogger who writes at Because Two People Fell in Love periodically when her hands are not holding one of her four beautiful young ones.

{Note:  Some links which follow are affiliate ones.  Clicking through them to make any purchase will not cost you anything extra and may result in small income for us as per our full disclosure.)

How to Make Your Own D.I.Y. Stations of the Cross Prayer and Sequencing Sticks

Making Stations of the Cross Prayer and Sequencing Sticks is not difficult.  You could easily make them start to finish on your own or with your children at home.  You could also pre-prep some steps to make them with a group of children as we did.

To prep our sticks for a group meeting, my friend Charisma:

Then, at our meet up, the children:

  • Cut out each image.
  • Put them the images in order above or below their sticks.
  • Peeled the self sticking velcro coins off their backing and adhered them to their sticks and images.
  • Wrote their names on the backs of the sticks using purple Sharpies.

Finally, parents finished the sticks off by writing, "We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You, because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world," on each stick's back.

The sticks came out great!  My daughter has already been using hers all on her own to pray and "teach" imaginary students, and my youngest child has been using his to quiz me, "Mommy, what is the sixth station?" and so on.  Too cute.

A Few Tips

If I were to make another set of DIY Stations of the Cross Prayer and Sequencing Sticks, I might try sealing the wood on the back before writing on it as the
Sharpies tended to "bleed" on the unsealed wood.

Also, I might cut off the numbers on the description above each
Kids Bulletin image to make sequencing a challenge.

Further, I would pay more attention to where my children placed each velcro coin so that thin strips of purple between each image would "frame" them.  Without such "frames", the images we used, I found, tend to run together.

Alternately, I might choose different images altogether.  For, although the
Kids Bulletin ones are colorful and child-friendly, they ended up looking a bit busy on the stick, making it necessary for children to look very closely at each to decide what exactly is being pictured in it.  Perhaps a simple black-and-white illustrations such as those found at Catholic Playground, the Florida Center for Peace (here), Teachers Pay Teachers or Library Mom might make the sticks more user-friendly. 

Or, if you like more classic, less cartoony color depictions, the ones at Commotion from the Ocean of Life, Family in Feast and FeriaBookworm, or Stained Glass Inc. (here) might work well.

Still another option for families and small groups might be to have each child draw and color their own images.  These images could be drawn small or scanned, shrunk, printed, and laminated.

So many options...  Whatever ones you choose, I encourage you to give this project a try if you are looking for a hands-on prayer and learning tool for the Stations of the Cross.

Additional Resources
Holy Week Eggs to Inspire Stations Eggs

After we made our D.I.Y. Stations of the Cross Prayer and Sequencing Sticks, we hid Stations of the Cross eggs that Charisma had made akin to the Holy Week ones I have previously made, but with objects related to the stations inside.  

The children ran to each find one and, then, came together in a circle where I chatted with them about the Stations and about how we are lucky to be an "Easter people" that knows "the end of the story" told through the Stations:  Jesus rose!

We then began to read and pray along with my favorite children's Stations book, Story of the Cross

We read about each station...

Then, we paused to pray about each station as we read about it by having the children repeat the prayers contained in the book.

After concluding the prayer, we guessed what symbol might be contained in a corresponding egg, and whichever child had the egg opened it.

It proved a wonderfully hands-on way for a multi-age group to learn and pray the Stations of the Cross.

What About Adoration?

Of course, the reason we got together to make our Stations of the Cross Prayer and Sequencing Sticks in the first place was because we sought an engaging idea to enjoy at the conclusion of our second monthly Children's Adoration hour.  I am happy to report that, just as it did last month, the Adoration portion of our meet up went beautifully, too.

The kindly Father Murphy began our activities with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, praying the Sorrowful Mysteries, and a brief talk on the Prodigal Son.  Then, after Father Murphy reposed the Blessed Sacrament and went to attend to other parish business, my friend Charisma led us in Adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament reposed in the tabernacle using
a sample format for children's adoration as described at Children of Hope.  

This format, we find, works well for our children as it provides a balance of spoken words and silence as well as opportunities to move.  The children appreciate the chance to move to the floor in front of the altar and to alternately kneel, bow, pray aloud, pray silently, share prayer intentions, etc.  We are grateful to have found this children's Adoration model.

Other Ways We Pray, Play and Learn with the Stations

For years now during this Lenten season, my children have spontaneously dramatized the Stations of the Cross.  Sometimes they get a bit crazy when they begin to do so and I have to reel them in!

Sometimes we get a little silly with Youtube even when we are trying to get more prayerful.

We also tap into a variety of resources that I shared in a Resource Round Up and take into our account our children's sensory needs.

Our other ideas for faith-based fun and learning with young children during Lent and throughout the while year can be found on our Training Happy Hearts in Young Children pinterest board.

I find "freshening" the children's interest in and meditation on the Stations of the Cross through new images, reflections, and crafts works well.  Thus, I'd welcome words and links to YOUR favorite Stations resources and crafts. 


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