We can’t be together in Atria across the world right now for some of the best presentations all year. But, the national Catechesis of the Good Shepherd office has made guidelines for parents available on their website for many of the works the kids are missing. Using those, and a little ingenuity, you can bring the spirit of the Atrium home. The key is to emphasize a prayerful response to anything you put together with your children. This means offering it to them not as a toy or “fun thing to do,” but as a tool to help them think about God. It helps to have a special place where it is put away and/or a specific time when they’re allowed to use it.
The instructions below are simply my own craft ideas inspired by what I know from making the dioramas for our Atrium. They will hopefully remind the kids of what they’ve seen already. And, if they’ve been given the Empty Tomb already, let them tell you how it works.
Shoe Box Tomb
Use a shoe box. If it has a completely separate lid, cut off one side lip, and one bottom lip, and attach to the box bottom like a hinged door with duct tape. The cutoff parts are to make it easy to open and close.
From the open side of the box bottom, cut away a chunk. This will be the tomb opening.
Cover in brown paper. Mine was from a shipment box. You can also cover in any paper you have and let your kids paint it. Wrap it messy to make it look rockier. This is a great opportunity to teach your kids how to wrap a box since it doesn’t need to look nice.
Separate the inside of the tomb into two chambers using a paper plate. One chamber was used to prepare the body, and the other contained a stone slab for laying the dead.
Cover the paper plate in the same paper, or cover and paint. Tape it in the middle of the inside of the box. Make sure the lid still fits on well.
The hardest part is the stone slab. Using another paper plate, and scraps from the last one, fold a piece into a rectangular prism and tape. Attach an arched top using spare plate edge pieces.
Cover this in the same paper, or cover and paint.
Insert the slab into one chamber.
Add crumpled paper into the corners above the arch over the slab to make it look more like it was carved out of the rock.
Find a small dessert-size paper plate and a piece of construction paper. Again, you can use what you have and paint it if need be. Cover the paper plate in the construction paper and you’ve got your stone.
Slip the stone into place under one lip of the lid.
Women and Disciples
Let the kids color them in and cut them out. When they cut them, instruct them to cut along the rectangle behind each character so that they can be made into cylinders and stand up. For the angel, they’ll have to cut along the bottom of the angel wings and then wrap it around.
Work With the Material
Don’t forget to put a small piece of Kleenex or something similar into the tomb to represent the burial cloth. Follow the guidelines from CGS USA, read the Bible verses Mark 16:1-8a, Luke 24:1-10a, or combined texts of Matthew 28:1-8 and John 20:3-9, and move the characters along with the narrative. At the end, ask your kids if they’d like to say anything to Jesus for this great gift.