Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Catholic Activity: Cut-Out Puzzles


  • construction or colored cardboard paper
  • scissors
  • glue
  • tape
  • crayons, markers, pencils

Prep Time

2 hours


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$ $ $ $

For Ages



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An idea for a homemade gift for Christmas is cut out puzzles that symbolize saints or biblical stories. These puzzles have clues that one must solve.


For boys there is a set of cut-out puzzles to be made with construction paper and paste. These wrapped with a package of colored construction paper and a pair of scissors hint at the things one can do with paper and scissors. We have made games using symbols and events in the lives of the saints. For example, mounted on a piece of forest green there is a rough cross in light blue, a yellow beehive, a large yellow bee or locust, a cinnamon-colored sword and a platter, a blue shoe with untied laces mounted on a yellow nimbus. These are cut silhouette-fashion with no embellishment with paint or pencil. Some are authentic liturgical symbols, others are clues to the saint's life. Part of the fun is tracking down unfamiliar dues in Holy Scripture, the lives of the saints, even the library encyclopedia.

Any guesses? St. John the Baptist. The bee or locust and the beehive, because Scripture says he ate locusts and wild honey in the desert; the sword and platter for the manner of his martyrdom; the shoe with untied laces and the nimbus because he said:

One is to come after me who is mightier than I, so that I am not worthy to bend down and untie the strap of his shoes. I have baptized you with water: he will baptize you with the Holy Ghost. (From the New Testament in the translation of Monsignor Ronald Knox, copyright Sheed & Ward, Inc., New York, 1944.)

The rough cross is one of the symbols of St. John the Baptist (it looks rather like a staff) always seen in pictures and statues of him.

Another is a series of clues arranged on bright red. A blue boat with a white sail, a green fish, a yellow key and a brown rock with a white church atop. St. Peter. We were tempted to put a sword and an ear on this one, but — next time.

Four of these, after they have been identified and used to puzzle others, can be arranged in a decorative panel over a boy's bed and their symbols will push his mind to what they represent as well as remind him that the saints were far more virile than a lot of their pictures en nightgown suggest. Besides, they are excellent teaching mediums. Such texts as "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church," and "Whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" — specific doctrines straight from Our Lord — are more easily learned when one must repeat the exact words and explain them in order to give the right clue.

Activity Source: Year and Our Children, The by Mary Reed Newland, P.J. Kenedy & Sons, New York, 1956