It’s that time of the year when many families in our parish travel together. If your class is continuing to meet for Sunday Church School over the summer,* consider doing this project during class one Sunday. A week or so ahead of time, ask your students to think of someone they know who will be traveling soon. Tell them about this project they will get to do: assemble a personalized travel activity folder for that person (their “project buddy”). Before introducing the concept to your students, you may also want to ask your priest if he knows of any traveling families in the parish, and have each student who can’t think of any traveling friend to create a project for one of the children in that family. Before the service project day arrives, print a variety of activity page options at different age/ability levels, so that your students have a choice and can customize the travel activity folder for their project buddy. (*If you are taking a summer break from classes, you can either make these for your own traveling students, or shelve this idea for a Sunday when you want to give them an opportunity to think of and bless someone else, and do it together then.)
Before class on the service project day, gather:
Two-pocket folders with fasteners (various colors, one per project buddy)
Markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc.
Plastic sleeves (several for each project)
Narrow dry-erase markers (one per project; optional)
Blank paper (three-hole punched)
Two copies of the travel prayer, hole punched, for each project
Enlarged photocopy of a picture of someone’s face for each project (each student – if it is not anonymous – or their project buddy would be ideal)
Copies of other coloring/activity/game sheets (three-hole punched)
When your students arrive at class on the service project day, talk together about traveling. Have any of them traveled? What did they do? How was the actual travel? What did they do to pass the time?
Once you have allowed the students to chime in about traveling, reintroduce the service project. Invite them to think about their project buddy. What does that person like? What kinds of activities would they enjoy doing while traveling? This project offers us the chance to serve someone else by creating something that they will enjoy in a time that could otherwise seem long and perhaps not-so-fun.
Have each student select a two-pocket folder from the pile and decorate it with their project buddy in mind. They may want to give it a title such as “George’s Travel Activity Folder” or “Fun for Catherine for Travel.” You can decide together whether these will be presented by the students themselves (in which case they can include a personal note inside like “I thought you would enjoy these activities while you travel. God bless your trip! Love, Maya”). Another option would be for them to be assembled and you can deliver them anonymously. It is up to your class.
Once the folder is prepared, your students can begin to assemble and insert the contents. The first sheet inserted in the fasteners should be the Orthodox Christian Travel Prayer reproducible. Insert it together as a class, and while you do, read it together, allowing each student to insert their travel buddy’s name where appropriate. (At the end of class, be sure to send a copy of this prayer which you printed home with each student so they can remember to pray for their project buddy while the buddy is traveling.)
Aside from the prayer, the contents of the folder are really up to your student. You will need to supervise and make sure that they are adding things that are age-appropriate for their buddy.
Here are some suggestions, and we will offer links to printables, as well.
- If you photocopied an enlarged photo of someone’s face, slip it into one of the plastic sleeves. The traveler can decorate the face with glasses, a moustache, a crown, etc., using a dry-erase marker. Then, they can wipe it clean and try something different!
- Car games such as scavenger hunts, tic-tac-toe, etc. should also be slipped into plastic sleeves to be used and reused in the same way.
- Your students can create their own activity pages with some of the blank paper you provide. Encourage them to think about the things you’ve studied in class and draw about those or create an activity page related to something you’ve studied.
- They may wish to insert blank pages so their buddy can draw or write whatever they wish in their travel activity folder.
- Your students may also wish to include printable activity/coloring pages that you prepared before class.
Once they have collected all of the pages that they wish to include in their buddy’s activity book, have them insert the pages and close up the holding tabs. They can tuck the thin dry-erase marker (if you provide these) into one of the folder’s pockets, for storage between uses.
After the activity books are all prepared, you can decide if your students will wrap them or not before they are given. This is up to you and your class! Say a prayer for the project buddies and their families, and ask God’s blessing on everyone traveling this summer, then dismiss so the students (or you!) can deliver the activity folders to their new owners!
Here are some links that you may find helpful as you print pages for this project. They’re listed in no particular order.
Here are a variety of secular travel activities for kids to do. Of particular interest are the printable car games. Most can be used alone, as a sort of solitaire, or in groups. You may want to encourage your students to plan to include more than one of these copies for each notebook they assemble. That way the students’ family members can participate, as well!
Find printable Bible Story coloring pages here which you could add to the travel folders when you do the service project: http://www.coloring.ws/christian.htm
More (secular) road trip printables for the travel folder service project can be found here: https://www.thejoysofboys.com/free-printable-road-trip-games/ or here: http://lalymom.com/printable-road-trip-games-for-kids/
Printable Bible story activity pages are available here. These would be great for elementary-aged traveling friends’ folders: http://www.dltk-bible.com/worksheet-index.htm
Printable Orthodox Saint story activity pages can be found at this site. The pages will work well for a variety of ages’ travel folders, if you do the service project we mentioned: http://dce.oca.org/page/activity-books/
Older children may be interested in having these beautiful scripture coloring pages in their travel folder:: http://joditt.com/free-christian-coloring-pages-adults/
Here are some Bible story dot to dot puzzles at varying degrees of difficulty, for the travel folder service project: http://sundayschoolzone.com/resource-type/coloring-pages/connect-the-dots/
Find mazes of every letter from A to Z here. If you know your students’ travel buddies’ names ahead of time, you could print the first (and last) initials’ maze for their travel folder: http://brainymaze.com/for-teachers/. (Find mazes of all sorts at the parent page, http://brainymaze.com/.)