Transfiguration Thaumatrope

Our weekly Sunday School program at Our Saviour is based on the lectionary. Every so often I have trouble finding craft or activities for lessons that are not too complicated, not heavy on supplies and still help the kids to learn something about the day’s story. Transfiguration Sunday is one of those Sunday’s that has been very hard to plan for.

For this year, I have come up with something looks like it will work much better. Just in case others are in a similar position or haven’t found anything yet for Transfiguration Sunday (February 19th), here is part of the lesson plan for what we will be doing:

Transfiguration Thaumatrope
(Before Sunday: Learn to say Thaumatrope.)

Start by introducing the craft so that it will connect to the story:
Today we learned the word Transfiguration. What did that word mean? (When Jesus was transfigured – when he was changed – he didn’t look like himself.) What do you remember the story saying he looked like? (He looked bright, white, glowing.)

I want to teach you another T word. It is Thaumatrope. A Thaumatrope is a thing. This is a Thaumatrope. (Hold up the example) It is a special thing that when you spin it, lets you see more than one thing at a time.

When the disciples saw Jesus Transfigured, they were able to see Jesus as something completely new and different — even though they knew him as their friend Jesus.

Lets get started.

Give everyone a picture of Jesus and have them color the background and paint Jesus white with the glue and glitter (You could skip this and just have them color him white, yellow, or using a gold or silver crayon). If they want to color Jesus, have them make his clothes white or yellow so he looks like he could glow. Have them set this picture aside so any glue or paint can have a chance to dry.

In person, the Thaumatrope looks better, but this still gives you the idea of how it works.

As they finish, they can start the next picture – this one they should not use any glitter but they can use any colors they would like (The effect is better if they use similar colors for the background).

Finally, they will cut both circles and glue them back to back with a wooden skewer stuck in between. (Have them put the pointy part in between the paper.)

As long as the glue and glitter is dry, they can spin their new Thaumatrope and see Jesus’ Transfiguration. (Theirs may not dry right away, in which case they can all try spinning the example Thaumatrope.)

Making a Thaumatrope could be used for a couple other lessons too — Angels rolling the stone from the tomb at Easter (one side a closed tomb, the other an open tomb), the wedding at Cana (one side with Jesus and water, one side with Jesus and wine), parable of the mustard seed (one side with a seed, one side with a tree) and Pentecost (one side with everyone gathered, one side with everyone with flames above their heads).

As long as the images are very similar, it will look like one image when you spin the Thaumatrope.

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