We’ve all been there before: It’s Sunday evening, you’ve just realized your fifth grader has to assemble a model of a dinosaur from pasta noodles, and you haven’t even done family catechesis yet. Deciding that passing on the faith is more important than pasta dinosaurs, you decide to do a quick—yet effective!—family catechesis. But what can you do that doesn’t require a lot of prep time on your part?
The answer: Stump the Parents, a quick (if slightly embarassing) family catechesis game. You can also pull this one out to mix things up a little, since kids tend to love the role reversal here.
This works best with older kids who know how to read. (Little ones and beginning readers (ages 5 – 9) can be asked to come up with three questions about a subject they know something about: the Mass, Jesus, the Bible, etc.)
- Hand your kids a copy of your favorite youth catechism. A lot of people like YouCat; we’ve used both that and The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth, which we like better for certain topics. Alternatively, you can hand them a Bible.
- Direct them to the section you’d like them to focus on. This activity tends to work best when you provide some limits, so kids don’t have to browse through the entire book. If you’re using a Bible, choose a kid-friendly book of the Bible that they may already be familiar with.
- Tell your kids that they need to work together to come up with three questions (total) about the faith to ask you. They need to be able to identify an answer in the text. By encouraging them to collaborate, you’ll get them talking about the questions, and you’ll keep the activity shorter.
- Once they have settled on three questions, they pose the questions to you (and your spouse or another adult player). If you answer correctly, you get a point; if they manage to stump you, they take the point. Let the kids judge whether your answer is right or not . . . perhaps reminding them not to exceed the standard of correctness they would want you to apply to them!
There are some obvious ways to vary the game: You can have more than three questions, or have each kid come up with his or her own questions.
What if you don’t know the answers? That’s okay, because you’ll be showing them that seeking God and learning about the faith continues into adulthood . . . a lesson that may be more valuable than anything else they learn during your session.