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Alternate Activity 2: Hosting Coffee Hour
Activity time: 90 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Optional: Food and or beverages for participants to prepare and/or serve, and any needed cookware or serving items
Preparation for Activity
- Choose a date for the group to host coffee hour. If someone has signed up to coordinate coffee hour for that day, coordinate your plans with this person.
- Consult with the appropriate person in your congregation regarding the coffee hour procedures. Familiarize yourself with the coffee hour responsibilities. Decide which of these you will assign to children in the group.
- Plan children's task assignments ahead of time. It may work best to have children work in pairs.
- Contact parents in advance to secure permission for their children to participate.
- If the Moral Tales meeting time is before the coffee hour the group will host, the children could prepare food for coffee hour during their session. Find a recipe, purchase the ingredients, and make sure you will have all the cookware and serving items the group will need. If you wish to hold a Middle Eastern feast, as per the story, look online for recipes.
Description of Activity
If you have time and would like to provide an opportunity for children to interact with the broader congregational community, this activity could take the place of the Activity 7, The Welcome Table Feast. Participants can prepare some food for coffee hour during the session and/or help serve pre-made food.
Consider having a Middle Eastern feast, such as that in the story, and serve foods such as hummus and baba ghannouj (eggplant dip) with pita bread, baklava, and halvah.
Have the children work in pairs to maximize their safety and comfort. Children can serve as greeters, standing by the doors or the food tables and welcoming everyone to coffee hour. Assign some children to be in charge of nametags. They can make sure everyone is wearing a nametag and make nametags for anyone who needs one. If members of the congregation often forget or object to nametags, talk with your director of religious education or minister about using this Moral Tales activity as an opportunity to jump-start a congregational practice of wearing nametags as a measure of hospitality.
Children this age often very much enjoy serving as helpers. Assign simple jobs such as putting hummus into a bowl and bringing it to the table, clearing empty plates and cups to the kitchen, or possibly washing or rinsing dishes. It is unrealistic to think that children at this age will sustain the necessary focus to help substantially with clean up. Expect adult volunteers to finish the job.
Including All Participants
Before serving food to children, check with parents about food allergies or other food sensitivities. Find out from your director of religious education if a food policy exists, and follow it carefully. If anyone in the group has a severe allergy, be sure to read all ingredients labels including any notes as to whether an item was prepared in a facility that also processes tree nuts. If volunteers will prepare food in their homes in advance, require them to list all ingredients and provide any product labels that provide food allergy-related information.