Sunday, December 8, 2019

Host a St. Juan Diego / Our Lady of Guadalupe Sensing the Saints Playdate (with FREE PRINTABLE Plans!)

Happy second Sunday of Advent!

As the feasts of St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe near, I've been reminiscing about past celebrations and realized that I never shared here about a favorite one - a Sensing the Saints: St. Juan Diego & Our Lady of Guadalupe Learn-and-Play Date that we enjoyed with friends some years back.


Circle Time

Some of our group came straight from Mass and others came after Mass, so after everyone had gathered, I asked the children to come into a circle near an Our Lady of Guadalupe candle.

Then, I asked:
  • Can anyone name a saint and an aspiration of Mary that were celebrating this week?  (Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe)
  • Does anyone know which dates these celebrations fall on? (the 9th and the 12th)
  • Can anyone find the dates of these feast days on the calendar?  (The young children then paged through calendar to find the date, chanting months, days and dates as we went.)

I then suggested that before we learned and shared more about these saints, we open our gathering with a prayer.  So, we prayed the Sign of the Cross and, then, read the prayer printed on our candle.

After praying, I drew attention to the different images of various picture books that were already set up on a table and asked  the children to share some things they knew or could guess about St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Then, I asked children if anyone knew where Juan Diego was from and had them find Mexico on a globe.

We also chatted about what saints are and how we are part of the Communion of Saints. 


After that, we segued into reading The Beautiful Lady: Our Lady of Guadalupe, which I prefaced by asking children to listen for both miracles and virtues described. 

Throughout the reading, I paused periodically to discuss images, text and the children’s reactions, and, when the story concluded, I 
asked if anyone knew what a virtue is (a habit for good) and what virtues St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe demonstrated. (courage, faith, compassion, etc.)  I, then, asked the children how each might live such virtues themselves.

Choice Activities 

After storytime, it was onto choice activities, which included:

Make Our Ladies Roses, where children could make playdough roses, thereby getting tactile input, as well as exercising fine motor skills.

Enact the Story of Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe, where children used scarves, plastic roses, a stool and other props to take on the characters of Juan Diego, Our Lady, the bishop, etc. to dramatize the story, thereby getting tactile, proprioceptive and vestibular input.

Make a Tilma
, where children could craft a simple tilma.

Draw, Color and Notebook the Saints
, where children could draw Our Lady of Guadalupe, color images of Juan Diego and Our Lady, or collaged notebooking pages about these saints using images and copywork prayers, thereby exercising fine motor skills.

Plant Roses on Tepeyac Hill, where children could “plant” plastic roses in coffee-scented playdough hills, thereby getting olfactory and tactile input, along with practicing fine motor skills.

Transfer the Roses, where children transfered water bead “roses” in a small cloth “tilma”, practicing fine motor skills.

Free Printable Plans

I hope some of our activities inspire your own.  In case you'd like to use all of them, I am sharing the FREE Sensing the Saints: St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe lesson plan I created, which has materials lists, objectives, assessments, etc. included.  Please feel free to download and use it in your own homes, co-ops, or classrooms and to point others to this post to do the same.

Have a most wonderful second week of Advent!  I'd love to hear how you play and learn about the saints.  Do leave a comment here or on our Facebook page.

St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!


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