Activity 1: Story - Ruth and Naomi
Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
Preparation for Activity
- Review the story, "Ruth and Naomi." Print out the story, and prepare to tell it in your own words so you do not have to read directly from the page.
- Optional: For a more detailed telling of the story, look to Hebrew scripture, Ruth: 1-4.
- Optional: Print the coloring sheet and copy for all participants. Place coloring sheets and crayons where children can use them when invited but will not be distracted beforehand.
Description of Activity
Children will hear and reflect upon a story in which a father and his grown-up sons both died, and two widows - two women of different ages - stayed together to form a family and move to a new town for a better life.
Gather the group in a circle, and tell the story. Allow the children to explore the story in a discussion when are you done. In particular, the family relationships are complex and may need clarification. Some children may not know the terms "mother-in-law" and "daughter-in-law." You may wish to invite a child who has married aunts or uncles to allow you to use his/her family as an example to illustrate the relationship between Ruth and Naomi.
Questions you might ask about the story:
- Why did Naomi and her husband Elimelech move away from Moab, in the first place? Why did they decide to go and live in Bethlehem instead?
- A long time later, Naomi's husband and her two grown-up sons died. Why did Naomi decide to move back to Moab after that?
- How were Naomi and Ruth related?
- Why do you think Ruth decided to stay with Naomi?
- Do you think it was difficult for Ruth to leave Bethlehem, the place where she had grown up all her life? Why would that be hard?
- What was good for Ruth about the new place she moved to with Naomi?
Point out that Ruth made a big change that was probably a bit scary, but she wanted to do it, because she was loyal to Naomi. In the end, Ruth found a good job in Bethlehem. She made a new home with Naomi and they had enough to eat. Help the children review the story by mentioning some of the things that happened after Ruth and Naomi left their old home. In their new town, Ruth met Boaz and got married to him, making their family bigger. Naomi came to live with the married couple. Then, Ruth had a baby. In Bethlehem, the family grew from two people to four people.
Tell the children that while talking about the story, you have used the word "loyal" or "loyalty" several times. Ask them:
- What does it mean to be loyal?
You may want to offer the group a definition of loyalty. You can say:
Being loyal means you feel and act devoted to a person, or a group that you care about. You can be loyal to your family by sticking up for your brother, sister, or cousin if they argue with someone at school or at a playground. You can be loyal to your soccer team by cheering for the players during a game.
You may wish to ask the children for examples of loyalty, from the story or from their own experiences.
Including All Participants
Offer children the opportunity to color the illustration provided for “Ruth and Naomi” to engage different learning styles and to help children focus on or relate to the story. A coloring activity can be a "preview" of a story. It can work as a quiet activity to help children physically settle. You might use it afterward to help the group recall and respond to the story.