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Activity 5: All My Friends And Neighbors

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Identify a space large enough for the children to form a circle of chairs.

Description of Activity

This activity builds community while generating ideas and interest to bring to the next activity, Activity 6: Prayer Bead Necklaces. As an active game that involves movement, it is placed strategically in the session to provide a break from sedentary activities.

Invite the children to bring chairs into a circle. Remove one chair so there is one fewer than there are participants. Model the game by standing in the middle of the circle (with one child by your side). Tell the group:

(Name of the child standing by you) and I are going to look for some of our friends and neighbors. I will say which ones we are looking for. If what I say includes you, stand up and change to a different seat. Meanwhile, (name the child by your side) will rush to a seat that becomes free. That will leave a new person in the middle to look for their friends and relations.

Use the list of phrases that begin "I am looking for all of my friends and neighbors who ___" in Leader Resource, All My Friends and Neighbors. The categories mirror the types of prayer the children will learn about in Activity 6: gratitude, being sorry, wishes for self, and loving wishes for the world, others, and other living beings. Use a few "... are grateful for... " phrases first. Then move through the other categories, rather than skipping around. This will prepare the children to identify these four types of prayer.

Before you begin, offer these rules:

  • If you are one of the friends and neighbors, you must come into the middle before finding a new seat. You may not sit down in the same seat you left.
  • (Optional, depending on size of the group) You may not sit back down in a chair next to where you were just sitting.

Now say:

I am looking for all of my friends and relations who...

... are grateful for being together in Moral Tales today.

Encourage the child standing with you to find a seat as other children get up. Bring the child who is left without a seat into the middle of the circle. Help him/her think of a phase to add to "I am looking for all my friends and relations who are grateful for... ," using the Leader Resource as needed.

Try to move through all the categories of gratitude, being sorry, wishing for oneself, and loving wishes on behalf of others.

Including All Participants

If someone is in a wheelchair, that person can wheel the chair in front of another chair, thus claiming it as occupied. As is the case for all participants, if there is no chair available, the person stays in the center and names the category. A danger with this game is that children will run and even sometimes push others out of the way to occupy a chair. If someone moves more slowly or is in a wheelchair, they may not be able to get to a free chair as quickly as others. The group might be able to agree on rules to accommodate this situation.

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For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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