Subscription gifts are all the rage lately and what child doesn’t get excited over their own personal piece of mail? There are many Catholic companies that have delved into the world of subscription gifting with t-shirts, recipes, activities and more. Here are a few such subscriptions recommended with Catholic children in mind.
Catholic Family Crate
The first product is a monthly box subscription called Catholic Family Crate. Presentation of the crate was attractive, with drawings of saints and religious symbols on the outside, something that children could be excited to find in their mailbox monthly. Similarly, the materials inside were eye-catching, with bold, kid-friendly colors on sturdy paper. The kit comes with a materials list, feast day calendar stickers of two saints and introduction cards for those saints, activities and learning materials. The materials list even has a website link for additional resources.
A big plus for the Catholic Family Crate is its visual appeal. It is aptly named, as it is definitely geared toward family life and is a great way for parents to bond with their children. For homeschooling families, this would make a good lesson to start the month and maintain focused on throughout the month.
It does have a couple of minor weaknesses. One, the writing on the saint feast day stickers is so small that it is almost unreadable, so the saint must be relatively well-known by sight to be easily identified. The other is that, while the crate is designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of ages, some of the activities might be a little more advanced than younger children would understand. Overall, though, it is a beautiful tool to help teach the faith to youngsters.
Makers of the Catholic Family Crate have even offered a discount for Today’s Catholic readers through December 24: 20% off the first month of a subscription or 20% off anything in the store by simply using the code TODAYSCATHOLIC.
Our Sunday Visitor puts out a monthly magazine for children called OSV Kids. Each issue features a “Happening this Month” intro, a saint’s story, tear-out bookmark and more. Children will likely love doing the cutout craft and displaying their artwork in the home. The reading is easy and the pictures engaging so that young readers could get through the magazine on their own and parents could read it to younger children. Children can even do some of the activities together. There is also a page in the back with suggestions for parents on utilizing the magazine in their family faith life.
The one downside is that there is only one craft that children will probably fight over, though this problem can be solved by printing or hand copying the design onto thick cardstock.
Many Catholic parents are familiar with Magnificat, the monthly magazine featuring daily devotionals and daily Mass readings. MagnifiKid is the child’s companion to the adult version, providing each Sunday’s readings in a missal format so youngsters can follow along during Mass. One of the ways parents can use MagnifiKid is by preparing their children for Sunday Mass ahead of time; looking ahead to the new week and introducing the weekly theme. For example, one week’s theme was generosity, and the “Bringing it all Together” section wrapped up the week and gave children a chance to reflect on how they lived generously throughout each day. MagnifiKid also includes a colorful comic and other fun resources for learning about saints and prayers.
The downside of the magazine is that it primarily covers the Mass, so it is very wordy and looks a bit overwhelming, especially for early readers who might struggle to follow along in it. However, it does take some of the harder words and phrases from the readings and give easy-to-understand explanations of them. Most likely this will appeal to children in the 8-11 age range.
Socks can be a fun gift, and the company Sock Religious, based right here in Indiana, creates fun socks featuring popular saints. Their website offers a novena subscription in which the recipient gets not only a pair of saintly socks, but also a pamphlet with the coordinating novena to that saint for nine months of the year. Some of the novenas included in this are St. Joseph, St. Francis and our Lady of Guadalupe. This would be a more appropriate gift for a teenager or adult, potentially a college student living away from home who would like to show off his/her faith in a comfy way. Orders can be placed at sockreligious.com and the website sells “That One Sheep” t-shirts featuring fun puns about various saints.
Perhaps because traditional mail service has become less mainstream, when a child finds an envelope in the mail with their name on it, it is a special moment. Even more special is when the letter that they receive looks like a handwritten, illustrated letter from a “friend on pilgrimage,” as the website states. Wanderlust Catholic was started by Catholic wife and mother Elayne Miller. One of the best values at only $6/month, these detailed letters help children explore exotic locations and unique traditions throughout the world through Catholic eyes. Focused on saints, churches and Catholic culture, the letters are well-researched and in line with the Magisterium. Additionally, each letter contains a surprise gift, such as stickers and bookmarks.
The letters are in print, not cursive, so they are easier for younger children to read. However, with some of the different cultures featured, there will likely be some words that young children will not be able to read on their own. A special discount is being offered for 15% off a yearlong subscription with the code TODAY15, valid through the end of the year.
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