Another October was rolling around and I knew I wanted to focus on something other than Halloween, but I wasn’t sure quite how to do that. I started searching the Internet and discovered that we could celebrate Reformation Day. My childhood church celebrated All Saints’ Day, but not Reformation Day, so this was a new concept to me.
The more I researched and learned about Reformation Day and Martin Luther, the more excited I became. Celebrating Reformation Day is a great way to learn about the history of our protestant faith. My girls and I have enjoyed and embraced this celebration and look forward to posting a copy of the 95 Theses on the front door every year. Below, you can learn the history of Reformation Day and find some simple activities so you can plan your own celebration.
What is Reformation Day?
The first Reformation Day was October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Church. This was the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Luther protested the church’s teaching that you could purchase indulgences, or forgiveness, from the church. Forgiveness only comes from God. He faced a trial, called a Diet, in the church at Worms, Germany. This trial was called the Diet of Worms (Pronounced Verms). He was found to be a heretic and considered an outlaw. He then went into hiding and spent 10 years translating the New Testament into German (also against the church’s laws) so the common man could read the Bible himself.
Books and Movies about Martin Luther
Movies about Martin Luther
The movie “Luther” is a great movie and really helps you understand the time period and circumstances surrounding the Reformation. However, there are a few difficult scenes in this movie. If you have younger children or a sensitive child, I would suggest you read this review from Plugged In to help you decide if your children should watch it.
The “Reformation Polka” on the other hand is appropriate for all ages.
Picture Books about Martin Luther
Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed The World is a wonderful picture book that all ages can enjoy. I learned a lot about Martin Luther through this book as well.
The Barber Who Wanted to Pray is based on a true story. I love that this story illustrates how everyone can have a personal conversation with God through their prayers.
The Church History ABCs: Augustine and 25 Other Heroes of the Faith is a good overview of many people in the church’s history, including Martin Luther.
Don’t forget that picture books are not just for young children. They are a great way to lean something new and sometimes it sparks an interest in digging deeper.
Reformation Day Activities
Here’s a collection of ideas from around the web for celebrating Reformation Day.
- Sing “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” by Martin Luther. This hymn is based on Psalm 46.
- Have a snack of “worms” to celebrate the Diet of Worms (pronounced Verms). The Diet of Worms was a trial (called a Diet) before church leaders in Worms, Germany. SojournKids suggests a snack of gummy worms in a chocolate pudding/Oreo cookie mixture.
- Nail (or rather, tape) the 95 Theses to a door or a piece of wood.
- Memorize the 5 Solas. Read about the purpose of the Solas.
- Make a lavender sachet to ward off the Bubonic Plague.
- Learn about Martin Luther’s seal, Luther’s Rose. Print and color this seal.
- Use this tutorial to make a tissue paper stained glass, which was common during this time period.
- Write with a quill and ink as Luther would have written.
- Put together a Reformation Unit Study Lapbook from Homeschool Share.
- Host a Reformation Day party.
- Host “A Night of Reformation.“
- Host a Reformation Day themed trunk at a trunk or treat.
We hosted a trunk at our church’s Trunk or Treat tonight. It was the girls’ ideas to have a bean bag toss and to decorate with the theme of Reformation. So we decorated some cardboard to look like a double door and hung a copy of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses. (We gave out pencils instead of candy. ☺️) The bean bag toss and pencils were a big hit. How fun to be able to bring in a little church history to the event.