This Transfiguration craft for kids is an easy activity for preschoolers that will emphasize the key elements of the Gospel reading and help illustrate what is happening.
On Sunday, we’ll hear the familiar story of Jesus’ Transfiguration. Just because it’s familiar doesn’t mean we should treat it as boring. Just think about how fantastic this situation is! First, Jesus’ face and clothes change right in front of Peter, John, and James. But they were asleep! When they wake up, not only is Jesus transfigured, but he’s talking to two giants of the past who are unquestionably dead and gone, Moses and Elijah.
To make this idea sink in a little, just think if St. Therese of Lisieux and Pope St. John Paul II suddenly appeared after you’d fallen asleep in the middle of praying a rosary while you were climbing that daily mountain of getting the kids to bed. What would you do? Would you want to build a tent like Peter, or maybe invite them to stay in the guest room? And what if you could see the change that prayer makes in you, as the Apostles saw the change in Christ’s face as He prayed? How would that affect your prayer life? And what if you missed out on even a minute of any miracle because you were ill-prepared and fell asleep or otherwise arrived late? How would you amend your priorities?
This mountain craft is going to emphasize the tangible elements of the Gospel reading to help illustrate to the kids what is happening. Kids get to tear, glue, and color for this one. Plus, it’s got a moving part! However, it will be in the activities, not the crafts, that the kids can start to understand a bit of the awe in the story.
As usual, though, to make this a holy endeavor, we’ve got to start with our homework. So say a prayer of thanks, beg God for the skills and time to make this all happen for the children you’re working with, and hop on over to USCCB.org for the readings, and LoyolaPress.org for the background. You can also check your missal or seasonal missalette for commentary. You can even listen to a homily or as many as you’d like, on youtube.
- 2 copies of a Transfiguration coloring page of your choice (I used this one), printed at about 50% size
- 1 sheet of white cardstock
- 1 sheet of black, gray, or brown construction paper
- 1 popsicle stick
- 1 scrap piece of shiny scrapbook or wrapping paper
- With the cardstock, cut a two-humped curve that goes from just above the bottom corner of one side of the page across horizontally to the opposite side, top corner. This will create two mountains for Jesus to climb
- Gently bend one piece of the now cut cardstock in half. Make a small cut about 3/4" below the hilly edge.
- Unbend the mountain cutout, insert your scissors into the small cut you just made, and create a cut line following the line of the hill so that Jesus on a popsicle stick (see below) can walk up the mountain.
- With the printout of the coloring page in hand, cut around each person in the Gospel reading. You don't have to follow detailed edges on any drawing, just a loose shape around them will do.
- With the scrap of shiny wrapping paper, preferably some shade of white, make a little garment shape that will cover your Jesus printout.
Instructions: Instructing the Kids
- Give each child a glue stick, a mountain, and a sheet of the construction paper.
- Show kids how to tear the paper into "rocks" and glue them onto the mountain. Double check as needed that they're not gluing Jesus' walking path shut.
- While the mountains are drying, hand one copy of each cutout person in the reading to every child with a handful or crayons. Give the name of each person as you pass them out.
- Once the people cutouts are colored, show kids how and where to glue them onto their mountains. Moses and Elijah need to be at the top of the mountain, and the Apostles should be somewhere near the bottom.
- Now that only Jesus remains, let the kids attach one copy of him with glue or tape to a popsicle stick. Attach the duplicate copy to the other side. Glue on the shiny white garment.
- Show the group how to insert Jesus in the walking slot and move him up and down the mountain. When he comes back down, turn him around to his shiny, transfigured side.
- As you read the Gospel to them, kids can listen for the movements of Jesus and illustrate it with their mountain craft. It's a good way to keep them focused on the story, even if you don't have a Bible with pictures.