‘God’s Creation Waits’: New resource designed to help children understand faith, environment

In a culture of consumerism and in this time of climate crisis, Anne Neuberger realized it is imperative that Catholic kids become aware of their surroundings as God’s creation and see themselves as stewards of the earth. 

“We want to encourage them as people of faith to look at environmental problems in spiritual, scientific, and moral ways,” Neuberger said. 

This idea led to a free, 42-page workbook Neuberger created called “God’s Creation Waits.”

This downloadable resource on creation care offers activities involving environmental information, art projects, prayers, saint stories, vocabulary building, and recommendations on educational books and videos.

Neuberger has done a lot of work over the last 10 years writing educational booklets for children about various topics, such as Lent and Advent.

“I really developed a feel for how to get activities down, and I’m really good at writing with few words,” Neuberger said with a laugh. “I’ve always had lots of ideas.”

Neuberger got the idea for “God’s Creation Waits” during the COVID-19 pandemic, when one of her seven grandchildren, who was four years old at the time, would spend the daytime hours with her while his parents worked. 

“He, as a kid, was like a lot of four-year-olds — really into animals,” Neuberger said. She would look up facts about animals with her grandson, and encourage him to draw and create based on what he was learning. Neuberger would staple his drawings together and create booklets with his drawings and creations. 

When the Season of Creation, celebrated from September 1 to October 4, began, Neuberger’s grandson would bring home leaves, pine cones, stones, sticks, and anything else he found interesting in nature to lay on a small altar that Neuberger had created. The items were placed alongside statues of St. Francis and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

“He would learn about a new animal, and he’d draw a picture of it, and we’d let him tape them up on the living room walls. So our living room kind of turned into our Season of Creation room,” Neuberger said with a laugh. “And it got me thinking, there’s a lot of really fun stuff to do with kids to enlighten them about the Season of Creation. (My grandson) was lucky in that his parents took him camping and walking in nature centers … so he had an awareness of it, but a lot of kids don’t, particularly if they live in an urban area. … I also liked the idea of parishes having a resource to give to parents or to do it through their Sunday school programs or something like that. So that’s how it came about.”

Neuberger has been creating and writing “God’s Creation Waits” since January of 2023. “God’s Creation Waits” is full of fun activities and educational resources for children in grades 2-5, although the resource can easily be adjusted for other audiences. The booklet is full of prayers, journal prompts, excerpts from Laudato Si’, wordsearches, and coloring pages. 

Neuberger explains in the opening pages of “God’s Creation Waits” that the booklet can be used as a supplement to a religious education curriculum in parishes and schools, is for busy families, a time-sensitive way to talk about environmental issues, can be a way for grandparents and grandchildren to connect spiritually through art, storytelling, prayers and learning activities, and is a good resource for anyone wanting to observe the Season of Creation.

Neuberger explained some of her goals when she set out to write this booklet. 

“Basically I tried to start out with giving kids the idea that God created everything,” Neuberger said. “And I think that’s a big deal for two reasons. One is that so many children have so little concept of God. I mean, so many children are completely unchurched. They just have no connection. Not necessarily even a meal prayer. And so if there are people who are able to reach them that way, then the first thing they needed to know is that there’s God, and God made me and everything.”

Neuberger explained that the booklet also highlights the spiritual connection to environmental work. 

“I feel strongly that there needs to be a spiritual connection between our work on saving the earth and recognizing that it’s a holy thing, that it’s very precious and holy because it’s from God,” Neuberger said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with resources that are giving children scientific information. And I do that also in this. But I wanted first to set the stage to something we celebrate and we appreciate because it’s from God, but also because it’s just a tremendous gift. … It’s not just that we need to have clean air, which is very, very important, but it’s … also part of our souls.”

Many of the activities in “God’s Creation Waits” center around animals and plants and fungi and environmentalist saints, among other fun topics and facts that kids are bound to find interesting.

“This booklet will encourage children to develop an awareness for all of nature and to appreciate it as a gift from God,” Neuberger writes in the booklet’s introduction. “The activities, stories, and prayers will help them to take joy often, even daily, in creation. From that awareness, this resource then strives to encourage a child’s curiosity about the natural world, and subsequently, a concern for it. These aspirations are all interwoven with an attitude of joy and thankfulness for a loving God.”

Interested in reading and downloading “God’s Creation Waits?” Click here.

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