All year round, I try my best to expose my children to our faith and teach them as many age-appropriate lessons as I can.
Sometimes, it is pretty simple and easy. For instance, Adriana is fascinated with my explanation that saints are Jesus’ very special friends she could pray to so she can have strength to be just like them.
Juanmi likes to think of guardian angels as invisible super heroes whom everyone has to keep him safe.
But there are days I find myself stumped. Once Adriana asked me who the father of God was and try as I might, I could not figure out a way to explain it and she could not fathom the idea that God has no “parents.”
After a while, I found a way to change the subject and I am hoping that she doesn’t bring it up again until a few years from now or until I find a good explanation for her.
During Holy Week, I make an extra effort to find ways to bring them closer to Jesus and make the faith truly relevant and accessible to them.
I still remember how as a child, I used to fall asleep during the long Masses of Holy Week and would wake up only to kiss the Cross. I would follow my mom around doing the Stations of the Cross which I liked to do because my mom let me “lead” the prayers.
When I was a child, one of the few things I truly understood was the concept of visiting and keeping Jesus company through the Visita Iglesia, and only because I liked the food available outside the churches!
I also got a good grasp of the Passion based on the processions because I liked seeing the different carriages depicting the Passion of Christ. I try to remind myself of these when I look for things my kids will enjoy and at the same time, bring them closer to Jesus.
Years ago, we had cartoons on TV like “The Flying House” or “Super Book” (remember those?) and Holy Week meant there was nothing on TV but classic Bible movies. Now, most children’s TV shows are educational and secular and even during Holy Week, it’s rare to find a religious cartoon for children.
I’m not a big fan of apps to educate or entertain my kids even if I know they work well with other kids.
Lately, however, I’ve discovered that when it comes to making the Bible come to life, the Internet is a great tool.
There are apps that help Bible stories come to life through cartoons or games, also apps to help children understand verses and psalms.
Here are apps you can check out for your children this Holy Week and that they can enjoy all year round.
Most are free and can be downloaded either from their website or from the App Store.
Bible for Kids
Bible for Kids is from Lifechurch.tv. Easy to use, it employs animation and music as stories from the Bible come to life.
The more times a child reads a story, or the more stories a child reads, the more stars he/she is rewarded with to encourage children to constantly read the Bible.
It is also comes with fun facts and activities to help children remember what they read and learned.
Superbook Kid’s Bible, Videos and Games
For any child of the ’80s, this rings a bell! Superbook is now catering to a new generation of children on the Internet through their app. It is released by The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc.
The app comes with videos and images from the cartoon and has quite a comprehensive archive and an amazing list of features such as a Question and Answer for curious young minds, games that allow children to have fun while learning and Biblical Profiles of characters and places.
A feature allows personalization of an online Bible with the use of personal pictures and fonts. If something catches your child’s attention, he or she can put it in “My Stuff” for easy reference.
For all our super hero-loving boys, here’s an app allows them to get to know the heroes of our faith through a lively storytelling and games. There are also coloring pages for the little artists.
You can find a free app for Noah, Daniel, Moses and Joseph, while the apps for Jonah, David and Esther cost $1.99 each.
The free app comes with the first level of every game and one page to color. Every succeeding level or page is $0.99 cents. There is also a singing portion to entertain even the youngest members of any family.
For parents, there are guidelines to help them take an active part as they learn.
Children’s Bible Daily Prayer for your Family and School
Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez is a friend I’ve always admired for her grace even under pressure and sincere kindness. I have asked her many times what her secret is and she always gives credit to her mother and grandmother for teaching her how to pray.
She has told me that if there was only one thing she could teach her daughter, Juliana, it would be how to pray.
One of their favorite prayer verses is Psalm 91’s Prayer of Protection.
Lucy said that she feels for as long as our children know how to pray and have faith, they will be all right, despite the trials.
I think an app that teaches children different biblical quotes and psalms and encourages families to discuss and pray on the given quote, is worth checking out.
As they say, prayers are free but their value is priceless. If our children can remember to kneel in times of trouble, they will be able to stand up to anything.
Children’s Bible Games and Activities for your Family and School
This app is for children ages 6 to 11. The stories are presented in comic book format and contains 60 Bible stories each, with activities and games. This app is free but many of the 300 games and activities have to be purchased.
There are 60 Sunday school lessons based on Bible stories. All the games have been carefully crafted to help children learn more about the Word of God in a fun way while still respecting the Scripture.
However, at the end of the day, these apps are just supplements.
Nothing can replace the learning children get from watching their parents practise what they preach, how they treat other people and how they practice one’s faith through masses, prayers and sacraments.