Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Rosary and Kids - Part 2

This summer I attended a round table discussion at a Catholic conference on the topic of integrating the Faith into your home. Realizing that there were many older, wiser mom's in the room I posed the question "How do you get your kids to sit still during the rosary?", to which they all quickly retorted "Oh honey, you don't!". Shocking news to me. I always thought prayer time should look like this:

That's the Martin family, the parents are Blessed and the little one kneeling on her mom's lap, Therese, is a saint. It's a beautiful depiction of a holy family, but you know what Bl. Zelie, Therese's mom, had to say about her little Therese? "As for the little ferret, I do not know what she will turn out to be; she is so little, so thoughtless, she has an intelligence superior to Celine's, but she is less gentle and has an almost invincible stubbornness." Guess that means there's hope for all children. 

The wise mom's went on to tell me about some various tactile ways that the keep their kids engaged in the family rosary. Below is a combination of their ideas and a few of my own which have transformed family rosary from "I don't want to" to, "do we get to". They also each provide a bonus education moment.

Beads and pipe cleaners: We give the kids a pipe cleaner and 10 beads, after each Hail Mary they add one bead to the pipe cleaner until we have completed a decade. I have found pipe cleaner are better than sting because the fuzz hold the beads in place. My two year old particularly loves this, even though he ends up with varying bead amounts after we finish a decade. This is great for fine motor skills.

Chalkboard beads: For this manipulative we draw 10 circles, or beads, on a chalkboard, after each Hail Mary the kids take a wet cotton ball and trace the bead to erase it until all of the beads are gone. This helps with learning how make a circular motion. You could also do this on a dry erase board.

Number paste: This one takes a minute of prep. I draw a grid on a half sheet of paper with 10 places then write numbers 1-10 on the other half and cut the numbers out. After each Hail Mary the kids paste a number on, in order from 1-10 with a glue stick. For kids who are starting to learn number order you could write the numbers on the grid and have the kids match them. This provides practice with spacing, number order and pasting.

Shape sorter: Grab your shape sorter and give your kid 10 shapes. After each Hail Mary they can drop in one shape until they are all back in the sorter. Sorters are great for cause and effect and fine motor skills.

Dry erase numbers: We have a set of dry erase flash cards from Kumon that I will give to my 4 year old and after each Hail Mary she writes a number until she reaches ten. Sometimes we will give her 11-20 or 21-30. Prayer,  handwriting and numbers, not bad.

Magnetic letters: Our chalk board is magnetic, so I will write on the board a ten letter word that has to do with our mystery and have my kids match a letter after each Hail Mary. Visitation, Assumption, Holy Spirit, Coronation and Mother Mary are some words we have used. Letter recognition is your bonus here.


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