Kelly Ramke Lardin is the author of the children's books Josiah and Julia Go to Church, and Let's Count From 1 to 20 (bilingual counting books in French and Spanish). She holds degrees in French from The University of the South and Tulane University and studied translation at SUNY-Binghamton. She has always enjoyed writing and loves studying languages. She converted to Orthodoxy shortly after marrying her husband, who is also a convert to Orthodoxy. Her journey to the faith was fraught with struggle, but she wouldn't trade it for anything. Together she and her husband are raising their two daughters in the Orthodox faith. This continuing journey still has its moments of struggle but is also a joy. Visit her at kellylardin.com for more information on her books and to read short stories and other writings. She also blogs about her faith, family, and life in Chicago at A Day's Journey. She is available for speaking engagements through the Orthodox Speakers Bureau.
Transfiguration is a mighty big word for little minds to grasp. Add to that the fact that this feast is tucked away in the Dormition Fast, and it is easy for kids to pass over it without appreciating or even understanding it. Here are a few ideas to make this feast meaningful for the children in your life.
Begin by explaining that transfiguration simply means a change. Before jumping into the Gospel reading for the day, you could even read the familiar and well-loved story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. You can explain that in the same way the caterpillar changed into a butterfly, Jesus Christ underwent a change at the Transfiguration. His body changed from that of a simple human to a bright, radiant one. This change showed His disciples that He was both man and God. Now read the Gospel. At this point, it should be easier for children to understand and appreciate.
After you’ve finished reading, it’s time to get messy. We tried out a super simple craft to illustrate the Transfiguration story.
- Gold or Silver scrapbook paper
- Green or Brown construction paper
- White (and green or brown) glitter
- Transfiguration coloring sheet
- Sticker letters (optional)
- Have your child color in the disciples. Cut out all the figures.
- Draw a mountain on the construction paper (various size triangles), and let your child cut it out.
- Glue the mountain to the scrapbook paper. Then cover with glue and sprinkle with matching glitter.
- Glue on all the figures. Cover the figure of Christ with glue and sprinkle with white glitter.
- Use letter stickers for a title.
If your child is still interested in doing more, here are a few extra ideas. Play a game to better understand change. Have your child(ren) observe you carefully, remembering the details of your clothes, hair style, etc. Now leave the room and change something about yourself. When you return, see if your child(ren) can name all the differences. You can also make a Transfiguration sun catcher if you need more to do.
Finally, remember that transfiguration is all about change. So since we’re in the midst of the Dormition Fast, this is a great time to change some of our not-so-great habits. If you’re the type of parent, like I am, who sometimes skips evening prayers with the kids because you’re just too tired, for example, make an extra effort to pray with the kids anyway.