By Anne Metz
We hear the story of Pentecost during Mass every year, but let’s be honest, isn’t it possible that some children (and maybe even adults) in your family are not paying close attention to the readings? Make the story of Pentecost come alive for your family! It’s such a great story with incredible imagery - the Holy Spirit descends as tongues of fire, people speak in tongues, thousands of people are baptized - it doesn’t get much more exciting than that!
Find some age-appropriate books and videos for your children to watch. Search the internet for all the beautiful artwork depicting Pentecost over the years. Read the story together from a children’s Bible. Once you spend some time learning about it, have some family fun with the activities listed below:
Build a Fire
Since the Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire during Pentecost, why not celebrate the day with a fire? This can be an annual tradition that you and your family look forward to each year. Head out to the backyard for a fire complete with smores! If you don’t have the space to have a fire, consider some alternatives, like starting a fire in your fireplace, stringing up some twinkle lights on your patio, or lighting candles once it gets dark.
Scripture tells us the Holy Spirit also appears as a dove. Why not spend the afternoon of Pentecost going on a birdwatching hike? You and your family can enjoy the beautiful Earth God gave us while trying to spot a dove. During your walk, re-tell the story of Pentecost, ask your children if they can think of any other times in the Bible when we see the Holy Spirit as fire or a dove, and explain how we can listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Learn a Simple Prayer
Pentecost reminds us that the Holy Spirit is always with us ready to help us and guide us. Learn a new prayer to the Holy Spirit as a family. Here is one of my favorites:
“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
To make it simple for the littlest members of your family, teach them to pray, “Come Holy Spirit” when they need help.
Make a Craft
Get creative with your kids and make a craft together. Grab some red or orange construction paper and tape and make headbands of fire you can wear. All you need to do is cut a length of construction paper for each family member to wear around their head. You’ll need to size them each to the circumference of their head and then tape or staple them. Then, cut out a flame and tape it or staple it to the headband, and voila, a tongue of fire for each of you.
If that’s too complicated, a simple coloring page of Pentecost is a great way to engage little kids in a craft for the day.
Set the day of Pentecost aside for some family fun. Your children will look forward to it every year. Also, doing these activities with your family gives you the perfect opportunity to bring up conversations about faith. Use these times as teaching moments all while having some quality time together.