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

Activity 5: Special Worship Service, Flower Ceremony

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Leader Resource 1, The Flower and Water Ceremonies
  • Fresh flowers of many different varieties, at least one for each child and extras for the altar
  • Pretty tablecloth
  • Vase(s) or basket(s)
  • Materials for a supplementary, sensory activity
  • Optional: Digital camera or smartphone

Preparation for Activity

  • Read Leader Resource 1 for background information and terminology regarding the flower ceremony.
  • Choose a short reading or simple hymn such as a few lyrics from "Singer of Life," Hymn 196 in Singing the Living Tradition ("Singer of Life, all flowers are songs, with petals do you write . . ."), or "Spirit of Life," Hymn 123 in Singing the Living Tradition ("Roots hold me close, wings set me free . . ."). Consult the Topical Index of Readings/Hymns in the back of Singing the Living Tradition for other suggestions. Or, choose a reading from your congregation's special worship service resources. If the words of a reading seem too sophisticated for the preschoolers, revise as needed.
  • Choose an activity to supplement the flower ceremony with a sensory experience (sight, smell, and touch). For example, bring the children on a walk to observe the flowers growing in a garden or wild in a field, using some of the talking points from Teach Mama's blog post "dandelions and clovers." Or you might turn a bouquet of flowers into individual flower boutonnieres (small corsages) for each child by cutting the stems short and wrapping them in floral tape. The Tapestry of Faith online curricula offer more ideas (use the search feature and search for "flower ceremony" and choose "activity" for "type of resource"). Remember that these activities will need to be adapted for preschoolers.
  • Gather materials you'll need for your supplementary, sensory activity.
  • Choose a site for your flower ceremony. Set up a service altar with a tablecloth, vases or baskets, and flowers.

Description of Activity

Children participate in a flower ceremony, preschool-style.

Invite the children to join you at the area you've chosen for the flower ceremony. Have them sit in a circle. Tell them that they are going to role-play a special worship service: the flower ceremony. Say, in these words or your own:

The flower ceremony celebrates the different beauty of each flower and person. Just as no two flowers are alike, no two people are alike, yet each has a contribution to make. Together, each flower and each person makes the world as beautiful as a colorful bouquet.

Give each child a flower. Encourage them to take a moment to fully appreciate their flower-how it looks and smells and how it feels in their hand. Invite them to go up to the altar, one at a time, and add their flower to the vase or basket on the altar. As children place their flowers, read the words or sing the song you've chosen. Say, in these words or your own:

Everyone will now have a chance to choose a new flower. By exchanging the flowers, we show that we are willing to share our own beauty and uniqueness with the people we care about.

Invite each child to go to the altar, in turn, and choose a different flower to bring home with them. Optional: Take pictures of the children with their flowers.

Invite the children to the activity area, and lead them in the sensory activity you have planned. When you are done, invite them to help with clean-up.

Including All Participants

If any child has mobility challenges, you can conduct the role-play in a circle of chairs to make it easier to include a wheelchair or for a child to sit while wearing leg braces. If you decide to go outdoors, choose an area accessible to all and make sure the group has adequate adult supervision.