The right activity can help reinforce the lesson at a youth group gathering. Some will be paper and pencil activities. Others will just involve doing something different to make a point. Many of these can be used in a youth ministry setting, in the religious ed classroom, for Children’s Liturgy of the Word, or at home.
You can also find and share ideas in the Catholic Moms, Dads, Catechists, and Teachers Facebook Group.
This washed away prayer service makes a nice accompaniment to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It could also be used for a youth ministry meeting about forgiveness or baptism
A prayer table is a small sacred space in your home or classroom. It can be a place to gather for prayer as a group or for individual prayer.
A prayer journal is a good way to stay focused during prayer. I find this an especially helpful practice for teens who are trying to develop a deeper prayer life. But it is appropriate for all ages
These votive candle holders are easy enough to make that all of the members of your family can help, no matter what their age.
A good deeds chain is a simple paper chain, but you must do a good deed for each piece of paper you add. Make a long chain!
Making friendship bracelets can be both a craft and an affirmation activity. The bracelets are made by sharing a bead with a friend and saying what unique quality you like about that person.
A rosary slide bracelet or keychain is a nice craft to remind children and teens to pray. I like making the key-chain which can actually be used for keys for teenagers. Or if they don’t need a key chain they can hang it on their backpack or just keep it in their pocket to remind them to pray.
Slime is easy to make and fun for kids to play with. Mix up a batch of sea slime for your ocean themed Vacation Bible School or youth group meeting.
This is a simple ship in a bottle craft, not the type that takes days and days. It is easy to make. The kids can take it home and use it as a centerpiece for any nautical themed Vacation Bible School or youth group meeting.
A prayer rock is a simple way to remember to pray each day. Parents can lay them on their children’s pillows so they remember to pray. Teens can keep them in their backpacks or lockers. Anyone can put them on a desk or carry a small one in a pocket or purse.
This paper plate dove craft is simple enough for your Vacation Bible School or Children’s Liturgy of the Word. It goes well with any lesson related to the Holy Spirit, the Baptism of Our Lord, Confirmation, or even Noah’s Ark.
These colorful candle holders are fun for kids to make. Little children will need more help than older ones. Once finished, add a battery operated tea light and place on your prayer table. Then you have a colorful votive candle holder.
In this activity, youth make a tiny raft. It is good for any lesson involving boats, such as Jesus walking on the water or St. Paul being shipwrecked.
Get Up and Move
Bible Scavenger Hunt is a game for youth which gets kids up and moving and encourages them to get familiar with their Bibles
This sacrament scavenger hunt introduces some of the symbols and concepts of the sacraments in a fun way. Hide various sacrament related items around your meeting space or grounds. Here is a list and some tips. Some of the items are directly related to sacraments. Others are more “fun” to start up a conversation.
This activity is to show children how the Holy Spirit is like the wind. We can’t see the Holy Spirit directly, but we can see the work of the Spirit. You will need one or more kites and an outdoor location to fly them.
A Privilege Walk is an exercise where participants consider how circumstances in their lives can be benefits or detriments. These are circumstances which are beyond their control, largely related to the families they were born into and the resources they have.
People sort is an activity which can be used as an icebreaker or opening activity for a youth group meeting focused on human dignity, immigration, or institutional racism. Use the debrief time to have an honest discussion about why we group people by race rather than other characteristics.
Hands On Activities
Glow in the dark sidewalk chalk is a fun addition to an nighttime activity. You can use it to welcome youth to the event, write inspirational messages, or let your participants have a creative outlet.
Homemade play-dough tends to be kind of crumbly and a little messy for a carpeted youth ministry room. So try making homemade model magic type dough instead. Model magic tends to be kind of expensive if you buy it at the store. This is much more economical.
Recycling activities for kids help youth understand the importance of taking care of God’s creation. We did a recycled raingutter regatta at our middle school VBS. Many of the student said this was their favorite activity of the week.
This simple Ten Commandments activity will help children who already have some knowledge of the Ten Commandments learn how to order them correctly.
Hands on activities are fun for youth ministry or Vacation Bible School (VBS). One way to incorporate a fun activity is to have students make toothpick sculptures or models to represent your theme. Here are some ideas for items which can be used as materials.
Service and Thankfulness
There might be some leaves left from the fall. Or fallen branches from winter storms. Or just some spring cleanup needed. An elderly neighbor will appreciate any help you can give.
Encourage youth to make a list of all the things they already have which they are thankful for.
These care packages can be given to a local homeless shelter or outreach program to be distributed to their clients. You can also keep blessing bags in your car to distribute to any homeless members of the community you encounter in your daily life.
Inspired By You letters give teens an opportunity to reflect on a person who has inspired them. They are also an opportunity to inspire themselves! This activity goes well with a meeting focused on the Holy Spirit or on Scripture as the inspired Word of God. It could also be used as part of a Confirmation program.
In his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis urges us to be better stewards of the Earth, our common home. All Catholics are called to practice environmental justice. So do something nice for the environment.
Puzzles and Other Printables
This puzzle will help youth become familiar with the sacred things used during the celebration of Mass – the vestments, vessels, and places in the church.
This printable beatitudes puzzle gives the eight beatitudes in random order. Children can figure out the key and substitute the letters to solve the puzzle and complete the beatitudes.
This Love Your Enemies activity sheet can be used for religious education or Children’s Liturgy of the Word. It is a fill in the blank sheet.
This worksheet introduces the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. A definition of each gift or fruit is given along with the encrypted answer. Each letter actually represents a different letter. So every time a youth decrypts a word, they get more clues for how to decrypt the remaining word.
This word search puzzle includes words typically associated with baptism. It is suitable for use with your Children’s Liturgy of the Word, Vacation Bible School (VBS), or Youth Ministry.
Do you need a quick and easy activity for your VBS? This word search puzzle is a good way to keep everyone busy while gathering or to fill some unexpected free time.
This is is a printable puzzle of the Ten Commandments. A key is also provided, in case you are not an expert in cryptography. 🙂
Teach your young friends about Christmas by having a birthday party for Jesus! You can do this as a Christmas or Epiphany activity. We had our high school students plan and run the party for their young siblings, nieces, nephews, and neighbors.
Escape rooms are a fun way to engage teams in cooperative puzzle solving. These team-building activities can also be focused around a theme. When you are creating a youth ministry escape room, you might want to base it on a Bible story or a teaching.
An Advent wreath is used during the season of Advent to help us focus on preparation for the coming of our Lord at Christmas. One or more candles is lit every day and a prayer is said. The prayer often includes a scripture reference.
A Jesse tree is a traditional Advent craft which shows the relationship of Jesus to famous people from the bible. Every day you read the story of somebody related to Jesus from the Bible and hang an ornament on the tree with a symbol which represents the person you just read about. This helps our families understand our salvation history and that God has been working with a purpose through the ages to bring about our salvation.
Go see a large Christmas light display somewhere or just drive around your neighborhood and see how beautiful it looks. After you see some great displays, remind your family what the Bible says in John 8:12 – “When Jesus spoke to the people again, he said: I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the light of life.”
Winter family activities help us appreciate the beautiful world God made for us. We should enjoy it together even when it is cold! So do something outdoors as a family. Some ideas require snow, but others do not. After the activity, talk about how God has provided the outdoors for us as our own playground. And he has provided so many other things for us also, including the gift of Jesus!
Set up and Advent table in your home or youth ministry room. If at home, put it in your family room or another room your family uses every day. Use it as a focal point to remember to observe Advent.
This printable cryptogram is a fun way to introduce youth to the vocabulary for Lent and Triduum. Each word is encrypted and definitions are given. Youth must consider the definition and then decrypt the word.
The Jelly Bean Prayer is a fun Easter prayer for your family or youth ministry. Make up some jars of jelly beans to give away with the prayer during the Octave of Easter. Put them on display for the rest of Lent to remember that we are walking this Lenten journey with the hope of celebrating the resurrection of our Lord on Easter.
Lent is a beautiful opportunity to offer ourselves to our Lord. An offering box is a tangible way to make our offerings. It can be used for many different types of offerings.
We are all familiar with the Passion story. We hear it every year on Palm Sunday and on Good Friday. But when we read it at Mass, we read it at the same pace as the whole congregation. So try reading it prayerfully on your own.
Lent dice is a way to choose what activity to do each day for Lent. You roll two dice. One die will indicate what you will do that day and the other will indicate your intention, whom you are doing it for.
Fasting is one of the pillars of Lent. This is a family activity to determine what to fast from each day.
This mediation will take youth through the way of the cross. They will see each station as if they were there. The prayers are meant to relate to their own lives. This is appropriate during Lent or even if you will be offering youth an opportunity for reconciliation soon.
Activities for Holy Days, Feast Days, and Holidays
The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord commemorates when Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem to be consecrated. There they met Simeon and Anna who blessed the child and prophesied about him. Use this crossword puzzle to reinforce the main characters and ideas in the gospel for this day. The printable crossword can be used with youth ministry or children’s Liturgy of the Word or a Sunday School lesson.