Early Christians used symbols to identify themselves as such when meeting a stranger. The Christians were sought out and killed so secrecy was imperative. When a Christian met a new person, he would draw an arc in the sand. If the other person was also a Christian, he too would draw an arc opposite of the first arc. This formed a fish shape and was called the ichthus, the Greek word for fish. Simple crafts can be used to teach children about Christianity.
Children can make a bright, colourful ichthus magnet for the refrigerator using craft foam. Cut out fish shaped pieces of foam for the base. Give the children pre-cut letters that spell Jesus. The children have to glue the letters to the fish in the correct order to spell out Jesus. Have a pre-made sample for the children to reference. After the glue dries, flip the fish over and glue two magnets on the back of the fish.
Pipe Cleaner Ichthus
This simple craft is designed to teach very young children about the ichthus. Give the kids bright coloured pipe cleaners. Have the kids bend them in half so the two ends are parallel. Cross the two ends of the pipe cleaners and twist. The pipe cleaner should be in the shape of a fish. Have the children make multiple fish to give as gifts.
Wash Cloth and Soap Fish
Make an ichthus with a wash cloth and a small or travel size bar of soap. Take a wash cloth and place a bar of soap in the middle. Gather the edges of the wash cloth together and put a rubber band around the ends. Fan out the "tail" of the fish. Take fabric markers and draw a face and fins on the fish. Tie a ribbon or piece of yarn around the tail to cover the rubber band. Kids can use these fun fish as a bath toy or as a decoration.
Christian Fish Puzzle
To show that they are all Christians, have children make a fish puzzle where all of their names make up the fish. Cut a large fish shape out of construction paper. Cut small fish shapes. Have the children write their names on the small fish and fit them into the big fish shape like puzzle pieces. Together they fill in the fish and make it whole.