Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fun, Beautiful Crafts that Teach (and Games too!)

If you are looking for Catholic crafts that will keep on teaching long after they have been created, then you won’t want to miss Illuminated Ink craft projects. Illuminated Ink is a small publisher of lovely art projects your children will treasure.

While the majority of the items they produce are high quality, paper, cut, color, and assemble products with a Catholic theme, they also have a Woven Cross Kit (made with vellum “ribbons”), a Marian Grotto Kit (made with popsicle sticks, picture, and polished semi-precious gemstones), a few wooden items (e.g. Wooden Rosary Holder Kit with themes ranging from the Sacred Heart to Our Lady of Fatima), and Catholic games, such as Litany (a card game), as well as a few books from other publishers (A Treasure Chest of Catholic Traditions and Arms of Love). They also have a few miscellaneous items like Saint Symbol Stickers. These are the same symbols found in the Litany and Bingo game. Very affordable, all items are $20.00 and under and the majority are $10.00 or less.

For the projects that require coloring, a softer color pencil, such as Berol Prismacolor found in art supply stores (Timberdoodle also sells them), creates impressive results. They are much better than crayons or harder color pencils. You will not want to use anything else.

A sampling of attractive paper products for young children ages 3-5 and up includes a Catholic Bookmark Set, Heavenly Host Paper Angels Kit, Jesse Tree Ornament Kit, Marian Apparition Trading Cards, Spiritual Bouquet Card Kit and Precious Mary Paper Doll Set. A younger child will need adult help to create some parts of Our Lady of Guadalupe Cut’n Color, which is a 3-dimensional diorama storybook with movable characters when completed.

For older children and adults, there are some more complicated projects such as the Passion Play Cut’n Color Kit (A unique paper theater) and the Hidden Sanctuary Shadowbox Kit (Reminiscent of Victorian Shadow boxes, this kit is absolutely exquisite.).

Illuminated Ink Craft Kits
(listed in order of difficulty - for a complete product listing, please visit their website)

Saint Symbol Stickers Ages 3-Up

Saint Symbol Stickers could be used in a variety of ways from incentives or rewards on school workbook pages, or as fun accessories for a child’s stationary to liven up letters to a pen pal. They are great for boys or girls. A child could also make a mini saint book with a sticker per page and a short biography of the saint. The Saint Symbol Stickers could also be used for a history timeline. They could make saints days on a calendar. The possibilities are endless. What a great way to reinforce learning about the saints! Each package includes 80 ready-to-color saint symbol stickers representing 40 different saints. These are the same Saint symbols found in the games Litany and Bingo. Inexpensive and attractive, the Saint Symbol Stickers would make an ideal stocking stuffer.

Catholic Bookmark Kit Ages 3-Up

The Catholic Bookmark Kit includes 15 ready-to-color 3” by 8” durable card stock bookmarks with 5 different designs, including a Psalm verse, several clever sayings, such as Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (BIBLE), or a Catholic quote (“The worst prison is a closed heart” by Pope John Paul II), all reminding children of the spiritual values of their faith. The artwork is bold, dramatic, fun, and professional looking. To make them last even longer, you may want to laminate them.

Marian Apparition trading Cards Ages 3-Up

The Marian Apparition Trading Cards set includes seven different lovely pictures of the Blessed Mother on the front, from Our Lady of Fatima to Our Lady of Knock and information about who, when, and why on the back. For example, for Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, the Who is “Our Lady of Mt. Carmel appeared to Simon Stock.” When: July 16, 1251. Why: St. Alphonsus said, “The Most Holy Mother is pleased when her servants wear Her scapular as a mark that they have dedicated themselves to Her service, and are members of the Family of the Mother of God.” The cost of the trading cards is an unbelievable $1.00. They are approximately 3” x 4”. Beautiful artwork will make them fun to color.

Precious Mary Paper Doll Set Ages 5-Up

The Precious Mary Paper Doll Set comes with one 8” paper doll, Our Lady of the Kitchen, six attractive outfits (all with titles like Our Lady of the Smile, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Lourdes, etc.), a stand to tape on the back and a prayer, all on card stock to color and cut. Once again, the artwork is lovely. Your daughter will enjoy playing with this charming paper doll for hours.

Jesse Tree Ornament Kit Ages 5-Up

The Jesse Tree Ornament Kit comes with 12 ready-to-assemble, 3-dimensional ornaments on card stock, instructions, Bible verses to find the corresponding story to each ornament, string, and sequins. As with the other projects, when completed, the child will have a beautiful art project, he or she will want to proudly display. Each finished ornament is approximately 3” x 3” x 2.” They also sell a wooden tree ornament that requires some assembly to display the ornaments on.

Spiritual Bouquet Card Kit Ages 5-Up

The Spiritual Bouquet Card Kit includes four pastel-colored lattice-work window cards (this card can be purchased individually) made of card stock, four green paper background sheets that go under the window to arrange flower stickers on, four paper card inserts with a cheerful rhyme, saying that this card is a spiritual bouquet, four sheets for the back of the card describing the Catholic symbolism of various flowers found on the card (Irises—Mary’s Sword of Sorrow or Geraniums—Gentle Virgin, etc.) along with words of encouragement, four envelopes, lots of flower, grass, and butterfly stickers, and pastel colored tiny metal brads to open the windows. Instructions are included. This easy to assemble project is quite beautiful when completed and would be a joy to give as a gift. But most importantly, the child is learning to give a spiritual gift of prayers along with this beautiful card.

First Communion Card Kit Thank You Cards Ages 5-Up

The First Communion Card Kit Thank You Cards come in packs of five, ten or twenty cards. Similar in design to the Spiritual Bouquet Cards, the front of the card has a lattice work window with a design underneath. This card is unique in that the kit includes pieces of colored cellophane for the window panes to create a stained glass effect. Inserts for under the window include the words “Thank You” along with an inspirational picture of wheat, grapes, and a host for the child to color. This insert works as both a backdrop for the window and a blank inside for the card. Once completed, the child will have a beautiful personal gift he or she can send as a thank you. Instructions, translucent vellum envelopes, and tiny metal brads to open the windows are also included.

Other card kit options include First Communion Card Kit Invitations. These also are available in packs of 5, 10, or 20. Two other seasonal card kits are Heaven ‘n Nature Christmas Card Kit and O Antiphon Christmas Card Kit.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Cut ‘n Color Book Ages 5-Up

Our Lady of Guadalupe Cut ‘n Color is actually a 3-dimensional story book about Our Lady of Guadalupe. Once completed, this cut, color, and assemble kit creates a lovely storybook attached to an attractive diorama that children can use with the paper dolls to act out the story. A few parts will need some adult supervision. On the bottom of the “book” are pages of the story that you turn while the diorama remains in view. Each kit includes the book, scenery, church, and paper dolls of Juan Diego, the Bishop, and Our Lady of Guadalupe all on card stock with easy to follow instructions. A craft knife or X-acto knife is required. The picture on the cover does not give justice to how beautiful this project is. Once completed, your child will have an attractive diorama to play with and a story to read over and over again.

Wooden Rosary Holder Kit Ages 5-Up

The Wooden Rosary Holder Kit creates a lovely wooden plaque to hang your child’s rosary on. One of the few wooden projects, this kit includes a wood plaque and knob (to hold the rosary), stickers, an attractive picture to color, glitter glue, brush, and sealant. There are several pictures to choose from: Our Lady of Fatima, St. Joseph, Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Sacred Heart of Jesus. Illustrated step-by-step instructions are included to ensure success. As with most products, this is more than just a fun kit. There is a short synopsis of the saint or apparition chosen. Once completed, your child will have a beautiful plaque he or she will want to proudly display, and at the same time, a special place to hang his or her rosary. No more lost or tangled rosary. With this beautiful plaque, your child will have a daily reminder of God’s great love. Approximate size is 3” x 5.”

Marian Grotto Kit Ages 6-Up

The Marian Grotto Kit allows your child to create his or her own lovely miniature grotto of the Blessed Mother from "popsicle" sticks, a picture of the Blessed Mother to color (you can choose Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of the Snows, or Our Lady of Lourdes) a Grotto background to color, polished semi-precious gemstones (Turquesite, Turritella Agate, Moss Agate and Yellow Jasper), a little booklet explaining what a Grotto is and a description of the Marian Apparition chosen, and illustrated step-by-step directions. The finished grotto can stand freely on a tabletop or be hung on a wall, and is approximately 7" tall.

Woven Cross Kit – Primary Ages 8-Up

Woven Cross Kit – Primary creates 3 beautiful woven crosses. Each kit comes with thin strips of vellum paper 3 ½” x 3” (The primary kit colors are green, purple, and black with gold accents), gold rhinestuds, red metal hearts, and step-by-step illustrated instructions. The quality and beauty of the materials makes this project especially striking. The project also comes in pastel colors.

Passion Play Cut 'n Color Kit Ages 8-Up

The 3-D Passion Play Cut ‘n Color Kit creates a spectacular miniature theater when completed. Each kit displays in a circle format four ready-to-color, 3-dimensional scenes (The Last Supper, The Agony in the Garden, The Crucifixion, and the Resurrection). Three are back to back on the bottom and one is perched on top. (You might like to display it on a lazy-susan in order to change between scenes). Easy-to-follow, step-by-step, illustrated instructions are provided to insure success. Once completed, children will have a beautiful theater to re-enact the events of Holy Week, beginning with the Last Supper through the Resurrection, along with numerous movable characters, and 3 mini-booklets (Biblical excerpts from The Agony in the Garden, The Crucifixion, and the Resurrection). Besides the miniature booklets, there are scriptural verses printed along the perimeter of each scene. Also along the top tier there are nine virtues: Joy, Peace, Faithfulness, self-control, etc. Finished size: 10" x 10" x 13 ½". Younger children will need some adult supervision.

Hidden Sanctuary Shadowbox Kit, Year of the Eucharist Ages: 12-Up
The Hidden Sanctuary Shadowbox Kit, Year of the Eucharist, is absolutely gorgeous. This kit (reminiscent of the Victorian style) opens to display a shadowbox in one window and an inspirational prayer in the opposite window. The shadowbox picture for the Year of the Eucharist is a beautiful 3D image of Our Lord holding the Eucharist with an angel kneeling in adoration. On other side, the Anima Christi prayer is displayed in the shape of a chalice on vellum paper. The Year of the Eucharist is one of several themes, including Nativity of the Lord, and Our Lady of the Rosary. Truly a hidden sanctuary, luxurious papers, Victorian-style picture, and inspirational prayer make this project especially exquisite and a keepsake to treasure. This kit is recommended for people with patience. The completed project measures 6” x 8.”

Illuminated Ink Games

Litany Simple Version: Ages 3-7 Alternative Version: 8-Up

Litany offers two versions to play this game of 80 saint symbol cards (40 pairs). In the easier version, the object of the game is to match like cards as in the card game concentration. After finding two matching cards, the player calls out, “St. . . . , pray for us.” In the version of the game for older children, the game is slightly more complicated. Each game comes with 80 saint symbol cards, instructions, and a saint symbol information booklet that includes the name of the saint, when he or she lived, whether the saint was a martyr, bishop, confessor, etc., the symbol of the saint and why that symbol is associated with that saint.

Saint Search Game Ages: 4-Up

The Saint Search Game is played in the same fashion as Bingo. After picking a saint token from the pile, instead of covering a number on a square, the player crowns the saint with a golden nimbus (token). The player to cover the first row, horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, wins. An alternate version for longer play is to cover the whole card. Another method of play not mentioned is to cover just the four corners. The cards use the same 40 saints and symbols found in the Litany game. Since both symbols and names are used on the game cards and tokens, children do not need to be able to read in order to play the game. If an older child or adult is playing, they could read the information from the booklet while the children are covering their saints. Each game comes with 12 playing boards (5” x 6 ½” cards), 40 saint tokens, 200 golden nimbuses and a saint symbol information booklet (This is the same booklet as found in Litany.). For a new fun twist on Bingo that reminds children of the saints, the Saint Search Game is sure to be a hit.


Alice said...

This is a goldmine! Thank you!

Karen E. said...

Yes ... goldmine indeed! Thank you!