Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Review: Stations of the Cross Grotto Kit

Stations of the Cross Grotto Kit
Published by Illuminated Ink
Recommended for children age 10 and up, or for children 6 and up with close parental supervision and guidance.

Today, Ash Wednesday, the kids and I began a beautiful Lenten craft project: a Stations of the Cross Grotto kit from Illuminated Ink.

The kit contains all the materials needed to make all fourteen Stations, including full color artwork, colorful semi-precious stones (white Magnesite, purple Amethyst Quartz, pink Coral Quartz, and black Obsidian), wooden craft sticks, 3-D sticky dots, chenille pipe cleaners for hangers, station name plates and numbers, and Mod Podge and brushes. All that you need to provide is a scissors and regular craft glue, such as Elmer’s or Aleene’s.

As with all the Illuminated Ink kits that we’ve used, the instructions are excellent. This one has full color, step-by-step illustrations, in a very easy-to-follow layout with large print.

Unlike many of their kits, there is no coloring involved; you use the high quality, full color artwork that’s provided to cut out a total of three layers for the 3-D effect.

Primarily because of the precise cutting required (we tried both an Exacto knife and a good sharp scissors and both worked just fine), as well as the number of steps (46) to complete each grotto, the kit is recommended for ages 10 and up. We worked on the first three stations this morning; the 16- and 14- year olds had no problem with any of it, but the 6- and 9- year olds definitely needed help. Still, it was never so much that they became frustrated or wanted to quit.

The instructions state, in big bold letters, DON’T RUSH! Good advice. The five of us spent two hours to complete just three of the stations. It was time well-spent, however, as the finished stations are beautiful and will offer much opportunity for meditation. The work itself teaches patience, obedience (to the instructions!), and also provides some fine motor skills practice.

We can easily spend four more sessions like this morning’s in order to have the full set finished well before Good Friday. I want my children to know the stations by heart, and this project will definitely help.

For more information about Illuminated Ink products, see Elizabeth Yank’s review in this blog from last May.

UPDATE: We're picking up the pace: Today we completed four of the grottos in slightly less than two hours. The younger kids were able to do everything except the precision cutting by themselves. Progress! (2-23-07)

Reviewed by Mary-Eileen Swart (2-21-07)
Available from Illuminated Ink

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