My kids love crafts, though with two children with special needs, doing crafts is usually the last thing on my mind. Although knowing it ultimately helps my children's focus and their fine motor skills, I attempt to find simple crafts that will cause the smallest amounts of frustration for my two boys and myself while pleasing my other typical children.
Finding Catholic simple crafts is not the easiest although I truly believe where there is a will there is a way. My oldest son received for Christmas a wooden Mass Kit by AlmondRodToys from Etsy. It is a very nice way for kids to play saying Mass though at over 50 dollars each, one kit for all 5 of them was just how it had to be. This play kit has become part of my oldest son's room décor and with his particular ways it was not going to be able to leave his room without a fight.
Watching our two-year-old eye up the monstrance before naptime last month, I saw in her eyes that she was determined to sleep with it -- though that was just not going to happen. Carrying her to her room, I asked her if she would like her own monstrance, and as she squeezed my neck she replied, "A pink one!" Wow, okay, well, I meant do you want one for your birthday, but now she had a color in mind and everything.
Finding it difficult to disappoint our first little girl, born following three boys that we were convinced were girls from day one, I cringed at the idea of not finding a way to please her. Knowing that the boys would love to make a craft for their little sisters as well as themselves, I began planning. Being a non-crafty person, I started my naptime chore list beginning with organizing the garage from our move. A few minutes later my 6-year-old excitedly gasped as he found a box of 400 popsicle sticks. In the exact moment as I was trying to fathom why we had a box of 400 unopened popsicle sticks, it occurred to me that this was the perfect thing to use to make our own monstrances.
[tweet "Make your own monstrance: easy #catholic craft for kids!"]
What you need:
Popsicle Sticks- 10-15 per monstrance
5 days with about 15 minutes each to spare
A large box for drying
Here is what we learned:
It is imperative to do this project in small parts and not to try to complete it in one day!
Make the base about 3-4 sticks thick to hold the weight of the monstrance.
Although light play will not break this masterpiece, it is not meant to be slept with or you will have a very sad child upon morning's first light!
Day 1: Make the base
Glue 3-4 sticks together flat on top of each other and let dry.
Color, if you wish, 6 popsicle sticks in your preferred marker color.
Day 2: Make the support of the monstrance
Cut the rounded ends off of two popsicle sticks to make a flat edge (save pieces)
Glue 2 cut pieces together to form a Host for your monstrance
Glue the cut popsicle stick's flat end to the middle of the base made yesterday and clamp overnight
Separately glue two colored sticks together to form a cross with just a dab of glue in the center of the cross
Day 3: Glue two more colored sticks onto the cross
Turn cross to form an X shape and glue another two colored sticks to form a cross on top of the X
Day 4: Adding more sticks
Glue two more sticks onto the monstrance in the direction of choice
Day 5: Putting it all together
Glue the Host to the front of your monstrance
Glue the monstrance to the cross base while carefully lining the sticks up so the non-colored pieces do not show
Lay flat to dry in box for at least 12 hours
Day 6: Place your monstrance on display
Now, I am not a crafty make-it-yourself person, though these turned out wonderfully -- and for mere pennies my toddlers are happy, while leaving the expensive Mass kit for our older ones to enjoy.
I hope your children enjoy their homemade monstrances as much as our children have!
Copyright 2017 Janele Hoerner
About the Author
Janele Hoerner is the author of Loving the Soul Beneath the Autism: An Interior Analysis of the Impact a Special Needs Child Bestows upon the Family. She wishes to help all individuals to become selfless by the presence of special needs individuals in the community. She lives with her husband and their five children, two of which are on the Autism Spectrum, in central Pennsylvania. Visit Janele's blog at Loving the Soul Beneath the Autism.