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Alternate Activity 1: Candles of Joys and Sorrows

Activity time: 7 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Large nonflammable container, such as ceramic or metal bowl
  • Play sand (can be found at local hardware store) or unscented cat litter
  • Large number of candles
  • Basket for candles
  • Matches or lighter

Preparation for Activity

  • Fill your container with the play sand or cat litter.
  • Put the candles in the basket.

Description of Activity

Determine if your room and building policies allow for open flames. If not, consider doing this activity with a felt board and felt candles or with beads in a jar.

Begin by lighting a "starter" candle. Invite the children to come forward one at a time and light a candle of joy and sorrow from the starter candle and push it into the sand. The child should then face the group and tell them what the candle is for. Translate the language so they understand that their joys and sorrows are things that have made them feel very happy/grateful or sad/worried.

Candles of joy and sorrow offer the opportunity for children to experience what is a weekly ritual in many Unitarian Universalist congregations. This activity can deepen the sense of community in the Faithful Journeys group. It gives participants a chance to name those things they carry in their hearts, encourages listening to others, and, in many cases, makes a link with the adult worship experience.

IMPORTANT: Do not leave burning candles unattended. When all who wish to participate have done so, blow out the candles and put away the matches.

Including All Participants

Children who are physically unable or reluctant to light candles and stand to address the group may invite other children to light candles for them, or you may offer to do it yourself. Allow children to speak joys and sorrows from where they sit.

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For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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