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Activity time: 7 minutes

Preparation for Activity

  • Create an open space for a standing circle where participants can move around.

Description of Activity

This activity addresses the needs of the kinesthetic (movement-oriented) learner by encouraging participants to express in movement and sound what they already know about animal communication cues and signals.

Gather in a standing circle. Ask the children whether or not animals talk. Allow a few responses. Then explain that while animals do not talk with words, they communicate in other ways. Invite the children to name a few examples (wagging tail, hissing, running away).

Tell participants you are going to play a game in which they will act out ways animals communicate. Explain that you will point to someone and give tell them an animal, and a feeling or situation. They will act it out with movement and sound. When you call "freeze," they should stop and you will point to another person and either repeat the same animal scenario or give a new one.

Play the game with these animal scenarios; add your own, if you wish. Keep the time spent on each animal brief.

  • You are a frightened cat and there is a huge dog in the room.
  • You are a frightened mouse and there is a cat in the room.
  • You are an ant and someone just kicked open your ant hill.
  • You are a dog and your favorite person just got home.
  • You are a snake and a predator bird is trying to catch and eat you.
  • You are an elephant using your trunk to hold a stick and draw in the sand.
  • You are a cat that wants to play.
  • You are a guinea pig and a child is holding you up in the air.
  • You are a frog and a child is trying to catch you in the water.
  • You are a dog and you are really hungry.
  • You are a dog and a stranger just came to the door.

Process the activity with these questions:

  • What are some things we observe when animals make noises or behave a certain way?
  • Do any of you have a pet? How do you know when your pet is scared? Or happy?
  • Why it is important that people notice how animals communicate?

Affirm that Unitarian Universalists believe in the interdependent web of life. That means we are connected to animals, and we believe it is important to pay attention to their needs.

Including All Participants

Gather in a seated circle if the group includes children with mobility limitations.

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