Tapestry of Faith: Chalice Children: A Program about Our Unitarian Universalist Community for Preschoolers

Activity 1: Free Play

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Leader Resource 1, Family Snack Party Invitation
  • Name tags and markers
  • Variety of free play options, such as toys, a puzzle, story books, manipulatives, dramatic play props, and markers and paper

Preparation for Activity

  • Adapt Leader Resource 1 to create an invitation and mail or email it to Chalice Children families at least a week in advance. Make additional copies of the invitation to give parents and caregivers as a reminder when they arrive to drop off children for today's session. The invitation can include graphics you are using in Chalice Children, so it looks more like fun and less like business.
  • Make name tags for the children you are expecting and set these out with a few extra blank name tags and a marker.
  • Display the free play options attractively, ready for the children to use, such as a puzzle with a piece already put in place, a family of ethnically and gender-diverse dolls sitting together in the dramatic play area, a group of trucks near a block garage, or an open picture book. Include the Memory Match Game from Session 5 and the Chalice Flannel Board from Session 9.

Description of Activity

Free play time allows children to make individual choices, explore the environment, share time together, and build a sense of belonging and comfort with the group and the meeting room space.

As the children arrive, give their parents or caregivers the handout, and invite the children into the Chalice Children meeting room. Help them get comfortable by pointing out the free play area and noting the options for play that are displayed. Help them say goodbye to their parent(s) or caregiver(s).

Guide and invite the children to play, helping them feel safe and welcomed.

Give a five-minute warning to the children that free play will end and clean-up will begin; follow with a one-minute warning.

Including All Participants

Free play needs to include options for all the children. For example, you might set up a craft project at a table that is tall enough to accommodate a wheelchair, with chairs or standing room for other children.