104. Color-Coded Orthodox Days of the Week for Children

My son measures days by how many ‘sleeps’ it will be until a certain event. He also asks the days of the weeks but has a hard time keeping track of them. I adapted this idea of a color-coded calendar by using the liturgical colors (this liturgical color wheel is fabulous) that we’ve been discussing all year in our pre-k class.  I tried to use what seemed like the most appropriate color for each day based upon the seven day weekly commemoration (Sunday- White for Resurrection, Monday- Gold for Angels, etc.)  I’ve been surprised at how quickly he has latched onto this idea.  Of course,  the calendar would go perfectly with the songs from the Garden of the Theotokos CD (if I can ever find my copy amongst my many piles).  I hope to find a way to improve this calendar when I have time and am open to your suggestions!  To make it, I opened a new calendar in Word, selected each column and filled with the designed color, and typed the commemoration at the end of the column.  I’m sorry I don’t have a printable to offer you, but it’s quite simple to do!

103. Woven Censer

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My son’s talented grandma made this small play censer for him. She wove a small basket and lid from reeds, spray painted them gold, and then added gold beads as embellishment, jingle bells, and a gold plastic chain. My son is using a black duplo block as charcoal. It is absolutely delightful to watch him censing his icons and our home. Sometimes we take it to our weekday church class and the other little boys also love to use it. (The girls haven’t been interested!)

102. Heaven

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My son had so many questions about heaven and death after my mom passed away last summer that I eventually started working on this project with him to have something concrete to learn from. I’m not a theologian but I worked from the biblical passages about streets being paved with gold and Christ going to prepare homes for us. I modeled the shape on a monastery as a way to make God (symbolized by the church in the middle) visible and accessible from all angles, and because the beauty and peace found at monasteries must be one of the nearest things to heaven that we can find on earth (along with the Divine Liturgy, of course!) Being a packrat sometimes pays off – I had plenty of small boxes stashed away in the garage. I wanted lots of boxes to help convey the idea of lots of little houses. I used a nail to punch holes in the boxes with the intention of adding electric tealights or a flashlight to the model at some point to add to the sense of light and illumination. We taped on a box as a gate – the tape lets it open and close like a hinge. The fact that there is a gate has led to a lot of discussion with him! My son watched me hot glue the boxes together, and then I spray painted it gold. He has helped me glue on gems as pathways and along the walls, and he added a white doormat in front of the church. We began this in December and have worked on it off and on. Eventually I would like to add small paper icon figures of angels and saints and perhaps of our deceased relatives to help him understand even more. It’s definitely not finished yet!
I’d love any suggestions you might have as well for our project.