{Giveaway} The Mass Bag: Keeping Little Ones Engaged During Mass

They were always with us, balancing in laps and perched atop knees. Even at a young age we wanted them to be present, pointing out  the transfiguration– to see why it is that we believe. Yes, there was fidgeting and many a trip exiting a pew, even shrieks in paused silence, but it was all endured for love.

As they grew, and the promise of swaying in mother’s or father’s arms was no longer a desired prize, this little bag became a required accessory.
Toted along on Sunday mornings, this small canvas bag, (affectionately termed a Prayer Purse by my daughter, and then a Bible Bag by my son), is full of things to keep them engaged in the Mass. With prayer cards, a large beaded rosary, a child’s mass missal, and a book of The Word,  idle hands are kept busy, always being pointed back at Him.

With Sunday just around the corner, and knowing how hard it is to calm a squirming little tot, I’ve decided to gift one of you lovely readers with a Mass Bag (or Prayer Purse, or Bible Bag…… ). All you have to do to enter is leave a comment before Friday @ 12:00 p.m. CST, sharing how you help to keep your little ones attentive in Mass: Do you have a similar Mass Bag or do you bribe ’em with Cheerios? Is it the promise of donuts after Mass or ice cream for desert? Hey, whatever works, help encourage the rest of us and share it!

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19 responses to “{Giveaway} The Mass Bag: Keeping Little Ones Engaged During Mass

  1. We let Emily-Marie play with her Blankie and her stuffed owl. However, since she’s learned to RUN we have a hard time keeping her in the pew. This past week she kept making her way up the aisle because her Daddy was up front! (They had a special Father’s Day “Daddy Choir” and Emily-Marie was DETERMINED to get to Wayne! Very difficult for a pregnant mommy to handle)

  2. When the kids were little it was definitely Cherios. In fact we name our little back corner at church “the Cherio Corner”. Now that they are a little older we have moved up front so they can watch what is going on. The youngest especially likes seeing his sisters and father on the altar.

  3. Melissa LeGrand

    We have tried coloring books and similar activities, but after apologizing to the people in the pew behind us for having to pick up dropped crayons multiple times, we have given up on “distracting” activities and really tried to include them in every aspect of the Mass. We explain what’s coming next and why we’re kneeling (or standing, or praying, etc.) Both of my girls (ages 3 and 5) can recite The Lord’s Prayer now. 🙂 My 3 year old still gets antsy and starts asking “How many more songs do we have to sing?” There are still those Sundays mornings that leave me exhausted, but it seems that overall, they are getting much better!

  4. We started out like most, bringing little snacks etc, but like Melissa above, all it did was cause more of a distraction and make a mess. We stopped bringing anything, except sometimes we will bring a soft bible. My two younger ones would really enjoy the little missal and the prayer cards. Thanks for the chance to win! Great idea.

  5. Honestly, we have always avoided anything that distracted the kids because, those things ALWAYS distract others as well. Sometimes we let the little ones sit on the kneeler and ‘play’, they look through the missal and song book, we hold them and point things out or sing/pray in their ear. We answer the ‘how much longer?’ every Sunday! Sometimes i look at the child and wonder where they have been during every Mass through out their entire life! : ) But usually answer ‘x many sings’ or ‘we still have Communion’ and then ask them questions or point things out to distract them. And yes, there are those Sundays when i wonder – did any of us get anything out of Mass? The Graces granted us to even get through Mass say more than any words could – no matter how distracted we were with the children, we are teaching them, we were setting an example, we were their parents and Our Heavenly Father KNOWS what we have gone through to be with Him, yep, we got something alright….it just sometimes leaves us a bit frazzled!
    This Mass Bag is a beauty! Our oldest daughter has started bringing her purse with a rosary and Holy Card …the little one loves to pull them out and look at them.

    Looking forward to seeing who wins this giveaway … don’t mind saying i hope its us! Cat would LOVE her own Prayer Purse!
    Thanks for having this drawing Holly!
    ~allison

  6. We would bring “holy card rings” and miniature saints books. My grandson brings a ring I made for him and also his milk cup. I would love to have this for him during mass. Very sweet.

  7. Hello! Some children toddlers or older, NEED to multi-task just like we do. Our child took a bit longer than the toddler years to sit through mass, as he has some special needs. So, I can relate to this very much. One thing we found that helped him was to bring what we call his fidgets. These could be anything from little blocks, lego pieces, rubber bands – anything he can fidget with in his hands (you can actually buy fidgets specially made for this age appropriate for little hands). You would be amazed at how much he can comprehend by being able to “play” with the fidgets while listening to mass! I noticed this especially when we forgot his fidgets, he did manage to sit fairly still. However, that mass he could not recall one thing that was said. The following week, he had his fidgets, and plays silently with them. I asked him questions about Mass to see what he comprehended and he answered quick as lighting. It really helps, thanks for letting me share! Maria

  8. As the mother of 5, ages 9 on down (and another due in Sept.!), we did the same as mentioned above when our first 3 were small. Cheerios, coloring books, etc. As stated before, too, we also determined that it just wasn’t worth it. Sometimes we’ll bring a little bag with Bible stories or a little Bible in it, but even then, we have to make sure the 9 year old is listening and not delving into a book during the homily or Eucharistic prayer. A bag as you are giving away would be nice for my two youngest girls, ages 4 & 2; although, a wooden rosary on a wooden pew may not be the best idea! 🙂 It would still be nice to have, though. Thank you so much for the giveaway!

  9. I have always struggled with “loud childen”. My current screamer tends to lie on the floor and scream until he gets his way.

    We try small books, coloring, a “mary memory” game I made with index cards and stickers of Our Lady from the Dollar store. Veggie tales has a few small games on DTLK including mazes.

    The http://www.catholicmom.com has activites that are tied to the weekly readings – at least it feels like you are following the rest of the crowd. These are best for 4-6 yr olds.

    Great exchange of ideas.

    Wendy

  10. Wow – great giveaway!

    I usually let the kids bring one “special” thing to Mass – a small stuffed animal, a small board book, something like that. My son (5) likes flipping through the missal and looking at the song pages (although I make sure he does it quietly! LOL) Otherwise, they take turns sitting on our laps and following along with everything as best as they can….

    Terry

  11. With two age groups I find it helps to have less things. My ages are 13, 11, 10, 4, and 2.5. When the littles were small we would bring their blankets, cups, and a lovey. I used to do cheerios but discovered they like to make a mess(purposely!) and finally just left that out. I whisper to them to point out things and they love to see the stained glass windows. Now they ‘fight’ to look at the books like the rest of us and their sisters are a great influence in the way they behave. The littles have to be just like their big sissies. We will take MagnifiKids or our Fr. Lovasik books but they really like to be like everyone else.
    This is a great giveaway! 🙂 Thanks for the chance.

  12. First of all we have a seating arrangement ;o) That way the squirmy poking fidgeting little ones aren’t next to each other! And if they get squirmy and start goofing off, they get a quick little pinch under the arm. I know it’s not nice, but it works really well! I almost never have to pinch them anymore!

  13. My children now have little ones of their own. The grandchildren like to get something out of grandma’s bag. It usually is a small missal, prayer card, anything religious. When mass is over, they bring the item back. We never did snacks–too messy and distracting. Great items to add to grandma’s bag.

  14. Mass has been a struggle, especially for my eldest son, for a long, long time. Thus, we have tried sitting in the front, the back, with Dad with some kids and me with another, snacks, no snacks, books, no books, felt boards, you name it. Every time I think I have discovered “it”, the thing that will keep the kids — especially my son — calm at Mass, “it” changes. But, we persist. God bestows grace even through the chaos, we know.

  15. We bring little distractions (quiet ones!) and a juice sippy and snack. My oldest, an 8 year old with sensory issues and ADHD has a lot of trouble — more so than my 3.5 and 1.5 year olds. We found a Lego rosary on Etsy and bought it for his First Communion. He “fidgets” with it during Mass now, putting the “beads” together and snapping them apart. They’re strung togeter like any other rosary, so there’s no clattering of falling pieces, and he’s now asking for a book for kids about the rosary so he can pray while he fidgets! This adorable bag would be lovely for him and my girls to share. Thanks for offering such a nice giveaway.

  16. Benedict gets to color his Catholic coloring books. The promise of donuts is also a big bribe.

  17. Shannon Rainer

    Recently I discovered that a cord Rosary put in a leather Rosary case/holder-you know the kind that you have to pinch on both top sides to open kept my 2 1/2 yr. old busy for most of the Mass. I am thinking of bringing some different size Rosaries (corded so they are quiet) next time. Thanks for having a giveaway.

  18. With my older daughter, who’s now 6, we actually resorted to the cry room. Now our church has been remodeled, though, so we can’t use that with our son, who is 18 months. We bring lots of lift-the-flap books and “sensory” books (like Touch and Feel books) that he only sees during mass. We will also bring mass-related coloring books as he gets older; that helped with our daughter when she was an older daughter and we didn’t have access to a cry room. Thanks for having a giveaway!

  19. These are all fantastic suggestions. I love your giveaway bag! I spend most of the mass chasing my 18 month old around in the cry room. He’s a busy boy and would rather climb over the chairs and dig through the garbage than sit still. Bribing with food works well for a while. He loves our lift the flap Bible which will occupy him for a time.

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