Catholic Activity: Christmas Play for Preschool Children
Around Christmas it is very good for the children to have a Christmas pageant, or play. This is a good practice for a child, as the author says it "does all sorts of good things for a child besides just teaching him the particular story. He learns to work with others, to fit himself in, to await his turn — all good moral habits."
One of the very best ways to learn religion is to act it. Little plays made up at home are useful in teaching some facts of religion. (Incidentally they give training in speech and help to cure self-consciousness.) As a matter of fact no Catholic home is complete without its religious theatricals.
No Christmastide is complete without a play or tableau. If the baby is alone in the family, of course, one small child cannot act a play, and on Christmas Day little friends do not come to visit. But if the pre-school child has brothers and sisters of six or seven who play with him, they can all have a lovely play of the Nativity. We have in these pages often mentioned the acting of home plays,—a practice which is becoming more and more general. Children love to act religion. Do we not often see little boys pretending to be the priest at the altar? It is our business to help the children to act out many religious subjects. And if we give just a little thought to the matter, we shall find that the labor involved is very slight. Once given a start and shown how to proceed, little children get on wonderfully well. Anything elaborate is, of course, not desired. To start the play:
- Read aloud a story from the life of Christ or from the Bible, or from the life of a saint. Or, better, tell the story.
- If the children want to, and have time, let them dress up. Couch covers and bed spreads make fine flowing robes.
- Choose parts and then tell the children to make up their own conversation. The most important remarks in the Gospel story ought to be memorized, especially the actual words spoken by our Blessed Lady or an Angel or our Lord.
The giving of a play does all sorts of good things for a child besides just teaching him the particular story. He learns to work with others, to fit himself in, to await his turn — all good moral habits.
Activity Source: Religion in the Home: Monthly Aids for the Parents of Pre-School Children by Katherine Delmonico Byles, Paulist Press, 1938