Looking for some fun toys for the littlest Catholics in your life? Here are some of our family favorites, along with some great Catholic media selections, too!
- A Mass kit: My son has loved using his Mass kit for the past few years, and I love that it gives us the opportunity to learn about the special things on the altar through concrete play (the crucifix, the paten, the chalice, etc.). He’s able to point out everything he sees on the real altar at Mass so easily now, which I think is largely in part to lots of play time with his Mass kit. I sometimes sit with him while he plays and read or talk about each of the pieces, and other times, he plays with it on his own, making it a great quiet time activity! My in-laws gave him this one for his birthday a couple years ago, but you can make one quite affordably using this tutorial or this one. Finally, you can also find some beautiful pre-assembled wooden Mass kits on Etsy, like this one. (I’m a huge wooden toy fan over here, so I might be just a little jealous if you do get one.)
- 7 Days of Creation Nesting Cylinders: My kids can’t get enough of these creation cylinders. They stack, nest, roll, or, if your kids are like mine, you can also fill them with stuff. But *I* like them because we get to learn the days of creation while we play. These get LOTS of use at our house. I recently found that Melissa & Doug have a set available on Amazon, too.
- My Little Church Magnet Set: Another gift from my in-laws, this little magnetic set has seen lots of play. It comes with a little book that describes all of the parts, pieces, people and places within the church. Very cute for kids ages 3+ as there are some pretty tiny pieces in this one.
- Saint dolls: I painted a collection of wooden saint dolls for my kids a few years back, and they are used almost every day, making them one of their favorite Catholic toys – and mine. (The boy saint collection is pictured here, along with the little cathedral my husband fashioned from a “castle” from Michael’s craft store, along with some tid-bits to make it look more church-y and some cool paint.) If you’re even moderately crafty, you can pretty easily paint them yourself using a tutorial like this one (I utilized Google images, typing in “Saint ______ peg doll” for more design ideas) or set up a saint peg doll exchange with friends so you only have to paint one particular saint and then you can swap for others to make a whole collection. For the un-crafty crowd, Etsy has a bunch of pre-made choices OR you can start a collection of these adorable Shining Light Dolls!
- Catholic books: In our house, books rank at least as high – if not higher – in terms of time spent, memories made, and fun had as toys do. So many of these great Catholic books on my Catholic Picture Book List have been read and re-read many times, often inspiring Catholic-themed activities and play. If you don’t have the list, make sure you grab it here for free.
- The Saints & Heroes DVD collection: These DVDs are a huge hit with my young kids and a bunch of my friends and family have them for their children, too. Our kids don’t spend much time in front of screens (confession: we don’t even own a TV), but when they do, they are usually watching one of these saint or hero movies. They are around 30 minutes and share animated stories and adventures about historical role models that Catholic parents would want their kids to know and love. You can get the whole collection here, or can buy them individually from the same site.
- Holy Heroes Catholic audio: Holy Heroes has some excellent Catholic audio content for kids, from their Glory Stories to their Rosary CDs. My son loves the Stations of the Cross CD, and it’s played year-round in our house.
BONUS: If you’re on my mailing list, you read my rave reviews of the Brother Francis DVD series from Herald Entertainment. If you haven’t already grabbed some DVDs for your kids, get some now! Many of the sets are on sale, and you can get an extra 10% of your entire purchase by using the code KATIE10 at checkout. These programs are a huge favorite in our house, rife with teaching-packed, fun episodes about the Eucharist, the Mass, the Rosary, Christmas, Easter, prayer…you name it. I love them as much as my kids do…maybe more?! And by the way, that coupon code applies to all their products, not just the DVDs, so grab some of their cool learning fans or a Christmas set and save an extra 10% while you’re at it!
Hope these toys and media inspire some Catholic play and learning in your home, too!