Activity 3: Imperfect Treasure Boxes

Activity time: 25 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Unfinished wooden treasure boxes for all participants, available at craft stores such as A.C. Moore, Oriental Trading Company, or Michael's
  • Materials to decorate the boxes, such as watercolor or tempera paints and paintbrushes; color markers; and items such as sequins, glass gemstones, and pompoms, and craft glue
  • Optional: "Treasures" to put inside finished boxes, such as crystals, tumbled rocks, and gemstones (available at New Age stores, craft stores, or online from Crystal River Gems or Nature's Emporium) or mosaic gemstones (available at craft stores or from the Beachcrafters website)
  • Shallow trays
  • Newspaper to cover tables
  • Smocks for all participants

Preparation for Activity

  • Purchase unfinished wooden treasure boxes for participants to decorate. Select boxes with a crack, knot, or other blemish in the wood. (Or, create blemishes by making random smudges with a marker.) If you cannot find wooden boxes or cannot afford them for all the children, use other unfinished wooden objects. Craft stores often have bins full of wooden shapes.
  • Cover work tables with newspaper.
  • Place decoration materials in shallow trays or containers and set on work tables with paint, paintbrushes, and glue for children to share.
  • Set unfinished treasure boxes at work tables.
  • Optional: Place "treasure" gemstones or crystals in a separate tray.
  • Optional: Decorate a model treasure box, embellishing a knot or blemish as a design feature.

Description of Activity

Gather participants in a sitting circle with an undecorated treasure box that has a visible knot or imperfection and a decorated treasure box, if you have made one. If you decorated your own, show the children what you did. Then show them the undecorated treasure box. Ask them briefly how its blemish could be turned into something beautiful as part of decorating the box. Be sure they understand that the point is not to hide the imperfection or paint over it, but to use it in making something beautiful.

When participants seem to understand the idea, have them go to the work tables, select a treasure box, and decorate it-turning its blemishes into beauty. Circulate among them while they work. Ask questions such as, "How could that crack be turned into something beautiful?" Tell participants they will have a chance to share their work with one another in the closing circle.

Optional: When they are done, have each child choose some gemstones or a crystal to place in their treasure box.

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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