We are preparing for First Confession at home this year, and Lydia was growing more nervous as the date was approaching. I thought we could easily eliminate at least the fear of the unknown by simply practicing for her First Reconciliation at home.
Above, you can see the pretend confessional we set up to practice at our house. We happen to have one of those decorative room separator things in our living room, but even if you don’t you could set up a pretend confessional in a closet, on the either side of a door- be creative!
I also made some printables to make practicing confession with your kids easier. Most importantly, I made these confession practice cards. They run through the Sacrament from beginning to end, and are fully written in. They start with “Bless me Father for I have sinned”, tell how long it’s been since this person’s last confession, and already have the sins provided on them. They also have a standard version of the Act of Contrition directly on the card.
The cards include some very generic sins (such as “I have lied”) and some silly outrageous sins (such as “I robbed 500 banks”). There is a little picture on each one that goes with the outrageous sin. My kids really liked these silly sins mixed in.
There is also a card for the “pretend priest” because as we were getting ready to start I realized that I didn’t know what to say on the priest side of things- lol! There are 7 variations of cards for those practicing reconciliation, and one card for the pretend priest.
I also included some extra printables to make setting up your confessional a little more fun. The first is a flipable sign so that you know if the confessional is occupied or not.
The other page has little pictures for face-to-face-confession or behind-a-screen-confession. You draw your own arrows in depending on where the choices are in your own pretend confessional.
Here is the inside of our pretend confessional.
When you turn the corner, there’s a place to kneel down. We used our kneelers that we crafted ourselves, which was fun for the kids! I also printed this kid-friendly version of the Act of Contrition from Raising and Teaching Little Saints to tape up in the confessional. It has clip art pictures throughout the prayer to help kids understand the bigger words. This was awesome for explaining the Act of Contrition to my 7 year old!
Once you have it all set up, there’s nothing left to do but practice practice practice!
I also took Lydia to the church and showed her the real confessional so it won’t be a new sight on her big day. In fact, we’ve peeked our head in at confessionals at several different Catholic churches we’ve been at recently. I think it’s good for her to see the variety. It’s also good for kids to see the example of their parents actually attending confession, so make sure you’re doing that as well.
This “Practice Confession” download is available for $2. Once you purchase it, you can use it with your entire religious ed program at church, your kids at home- however it is useful to you. However, you cannot email the file to your friends. They will need to purchase their own copy. Thanks so much for being honest and understanding.
This download includes:
- 7 Confession Practice Cards
- 1 Card for the Pretend Priest
- Occupied or Open flippable Sign
- Face to Face or Behind Screen Sign
The signs print like this:
When assembling, add your own arrows to your “face to face” or “with a screen” page. For the open or occupied sign, fold it in half, and tape it shut with a ribbon loop on top. This way you can tape your ribbon to the wall (or wherever) and be able to flip it back and forth.
And there you have it- a Catholic version of dramatic play for learning purposes. If I had a priest costume, we would have used it. This was fun, and it did ease some of Lydia’s tensions about her upcoming First Confession.
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