Pentecost is a feast day rich with symbolism. This will speak to young children long before they understand the events described inActs of the Apostles. Give your young students ample opportunities to explore the symbols of fire, dove and wind in a variety of ways. Add a prayer that hints at the meaning of the symbols, too.

Fire:

On a table, place several pillar candles, preferably red. After gathering the children around the table, explain that everyone will use caution when the candles are lit. Encourage silence as you light the candles. Then quietly tell children that one of the names we have for God is the Holy Spirit. While watching the flames, pray together:

All: “Come Holy Spirit!”
Adult: “Come fill our hearts with the warmth of your love.”
All: “Come Holy Spirit!”
Adult: “Come to us like the gentle dove flies to its nest.”
All: “Come Holy Spirit!”
Adult: “Come to us like the wind and bring us wisdom.”
All: “Come Holy Spirit! Amen.”

At the art table, offer large paper cut into flame shapes and paints in fire colors of red, orange and yellow.

Dove:

Another day, give children small amounts of self-hardening white clay (the equivalent of about 1/2 cup) and suggest they form doves. Have photos or books with illustrations of doves to help them, but accept whatever they can make. Consider giving them white feathers (purchased in craft stores) to add to their creations as tails or wings.

Make prints of doves — purchase stamps with dove imprints, cookie cutters in this shape, carve simple dove shapes onto a cut potato or cut a dove shape from a sponge. Provide dark paper if you have white ink or tempera paint, or else white paper if using dark ink or paint. Get ready for a plethora of doves!

Wind:

In an outdoor play space, tie red ribbons so they will catch the breeze. Stand near the ribbons and repeat the Holy Spirit prayer.

If dandelions are nearby and in seed, have children use their own wind to blow the fluffy seeds off the stem.

In a large indoor area, such as a gym, have children lie on the floor and give each one a feather to blow to a designated point in the room. Like wiggly worms, they can crawl to keep up with their feathers.

At a table, place painting paper onto trays or cookie sheets. Give each child a drinking straw and a choice of two colors made ofthin tempera paint. Put 2-3 teaspoons of paint on one end of the paper and children can use the straws to blow the colors across the page. Point out what happens when the colors mix.

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