Wee Believers: For Catholic Families that Pray and Play Together

For observant Christian families, religious education is usually high on the list of priorities, and most know that education shouldn’t end in the pew or the parochial school classroom. Children learn important lessons about spirituality at home, with their parents and other family members as mentors. They can also learn through creative play and entertainment. For the last couple of decades, Christian kids have had access to faith-based music, toys, movies and television productions that were every bit as colorful, exciting, and high-tech as their secular counterparts. For some parents, however, many of these products don’t quite fit the bill; the most popular and accessible Christian children’s entertainment products are aimed at the evangelical Protestant market, leaving families of other faith traditions looking for different options.

Wee Believers, an Illinois-based company, is dedicated to teaching Roman Catholic tradition and values to the next generation, with the help of creative and engaging toys and games. Founders Joni and Steve Abdalla started Wee Believers because they felt that toys with a deeper spiritual message could fill an important need for faithful families.

Joni Abdalla was struck with inspiration one day in church, when she was watching some small children in the pew in front of her playing with toys during Mass. She began thinking how much more meaningful the church experience could be to young children if they had toys that actually related to what was going on during the service. Shortly thereafter, Wee Believers’ flagship product, My Mass Kit, was born. My Mass Kit is a child-size carryall that contains soft poly/cotton replicas of the pieces used on the altar during a typical Mass. The kit gives children safe, unbreakable items and also helps them learn the proper names for the various pieces used in the ceremony. My Mass Kit is also “Certified Quiet” so that it can even be used in church or other settings not conducive to noise.

In addition to the Mass Kit, Wee Believers also offers many other items like the Lil Prayer Buddie, a plush lamb that recites popular Christian prayers at the touch of a button. There’s also the Joseph’s Helper Tool Kit that allows a child to play builder while remembering St. Joseph, one of history’s most famous carpenters. My Quiet Church is a soft, brightly colored nylon church that unzips to reveal an altar, the stations of the cross, pews and more. It also includes plush figures of a priest and churchgoers.

There’s a wealth of other faith-based toys, stickers, match games and board games available from Wee Believers, and their products have received a multitude of honors and awards, including the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, the 2012 Creative Child Puzzle of the Year, and the Tillywig Award.

But Wee Believers is more about just their products; as a family-owned business, they feel that strengthening family and community values is at the core of their mission. The Abdallas include their children — 3 girls and a boy — in their business activities, bringing them along to trade shows where they assist in demonstrating the company’s products. Their oldest daughter, Emma, is especially knowledgeable about all Wee Believers products and is a great help to Mom and Dad.

Wee Believers is a great example of what can happen when an entrepreneur sees a need for a product or service and fills that need with high-quality products. For more information, visit www.weebelievers.com

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