Since there are thousands of saints, it is not practical to have each one celebrated on individual days. All Saints' Day, observed on November 1 by Western Christians, honors and remembers all the saints. Children can learn about various saints on this special day through fun and educational activities.
Play a game of "halo toss." Find a variety of little saint statues, line them up on a table and tape a card with the saint's name next to it. Let the kids toss glow stick bracelets, which represent halos, in an attempt to land a bracelet over a saint, like ring toss. Or, use a set of poker chips to make saint chips. Glue the saint's name on one side and the saint's image on the other. Make two of each, and put them in a big pile. Let children have a race to see who can get the most matching pairs in five minutes.
Let the kids create felt people or paper bag puppets that mimic the likeness of saints. Provide images of saints for their reference. For felt saints, let children cut out a felt body shape, about 4 inches tall, and add felt clothes, halos and wiggly eyes with the help of hot glue; draw on details like the face with a marker. To make hand puppets, children can decorate paper lunch bags with construction paper, wiggly eyes and markers. Children can use the felt figures or puppets to reenact stories about the saints. Alternatively, they could make up stories for the characters to act out, using known personality traits or admirable qualities of the saints.
Celebrate All Saints' Day through costumes and dramatic play. For a boy, make a robe out of a brown sheet with a hole for the head for St. Anthony, St. Rocco, St. Padre Pio and several others, changing the accessories to fit. For a girl, a simple, no-sew nun costume can be made by safety pinning a sheet around her body and using a cut-apart pillow case for a veil. This costume works for Mother Teresa, St. Rita, St. Faustina and more. After they are dressed up, provide a short play for them to perform or let them have a costume parade.
Commemorate All Saints' Day with some sweets. Help children make square or rectangular sugar cookies using ready-bought or homemade dough. After the cookies cool, decorate with images of saints. If you are lucky enough to own an icing printer, create images from saint cards. Or, provide the kids with icing bags and various tips, different icing colors, sprinkles and stencils. Children could also bake a cake and frost it simply once cooled, cut into slices, then add a plastic-covered saint card on top for a decorative keepsake.
Sarah Bourque has been a freelance writer since 2006 and is based in the Pacific Northwest. She writes and edits for the local publisher, Pacific Crest Imprint and has written for several online content sites. Her work recently appeared in "The Goldendale Tourism and Economic Development Magazine" and "Sail the Gorge!" magazine. She attended Portland Community College where she studied psychology.