Alternate Activity 2: Sharing of Breads

Alternate Activity 2: Sharing of Breads
Alternate Activity 2: Sharing of Breads

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Pretty tablecloth
  • Variety of breads, including some that are gluten-free, and baskets
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Plastic wrap
  • Moistened paper towels
  • Materials for a supplementary, sensory activity
  • Optional: Toppings, such as jam, butter, and honey, and plastic knives
  • Optional: Digital camera or smartphone

Preparation for Activity

  • Choose an activity to supplement the sharing of breads, ideally one that can engage the children's senses of smell, touch, and taste. For example, you could make biscuits or pretzels with the children, make homemade play-dough, or play with trays or bowls of different types of flours. You can also look through the Tapestry of Faith online curricula for ideas (use the search feature and search for "Bread Service" and choose "activity" for "type of resource"). Remember that these activities will need to be adapted for preschoolers.
  • Gather materials for a supplementary, sensory activity.
  • Choose a short reading or simple hymn for the sharing of breads, such as "Give Thanks," Hymn 69 in Singing the Living Tradition, or "Bring Out the Festal Bread," Hymn 220 in Singing the Living Tradition. Consult the Topical Index of Readings/Hymns in the back of Singing the Living Tradition for other suggestions. You could also use a reading from your own congregation's special worship service resources. If the words of the reading seem too sophisticated for the preschoolers, revise as needed.
  • Find out whether any children in the group have allergies, and be sure to include gluten-free and other appropriate alternatives among the bread selections, as needed.
  • Slice or cube the breads and arrange the small pieces in baskets. Cover with plastic wrap until the ceremony.
  • Choose where you will hold your Sharing of Breads, and set up the "service altar" with a pretty cloth and the baskets of bread.
  • Optional: Set out toppings and plastic knives for spreading.

Description of Activity

Children participate in a sharing of breads ceremony, preschool-style.

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

Many Unitarian Universalist congregations hold a sharing of breads ceremony, where people bring different kinds of bread to share. Some bring breads that are part of their cultural heritage, like pita bread from the Middle East, or Irish soda bread from Ireland. Breads around the world are very different, but every civilization that has ever lived on the earth has made some type of bread. We will now have our own sharing of breads.

Invite children to the altar, one at a time, and allow each child to choose a piece of bread. As they choose their bread, read the words or sing the song you've chosen. Invite the children to take a moment to fully experience their piece of bread-how it looks, smells, and feels in their hand. Say a blessing for the bread, in these words or your own:

We lift our hearts in thanks today for all the gifts of life-for families, for friends, and for this good bread.

Invite the children to taste their bread. Optional: Children may add a topping to their bread, such as butter or jelly.

Point out the different varieties of bread in the basket(s), and allow the children to choose another type of bread, if they like. Optional: Take pictures of the children eating their bread.

Say, in these words or your own:

Bread is something people all over the world have in common. There are many different kinds of bread, but bread feeds everyone! Our sharing of bread ceremony reminds us that when we all share the different kinds of gifts we have, we all can be fed.

Invite the children to the activity area, and lead them in the activity you've chosen. When you are done, invite them to help with clean-up. They can re-cover the bread basket(s) and wipe the table with moistened paper towels.

Circle Time (Activity 3) Adaptation for Sharing of Breads

Introduce the special worship service by saying, in these words or your own:

Today we are going to explore the deliciousness of many different types of bread. Many Unitarian Universalist churches [congregations] have a special service called a sharing of breads. People bring breads to share that have some meaning to them.

Share your own feelings to add warmth to the description of the service and convey the enjoyment of the special worship service in your own life, for example:

I once brought a loaf of French bread that I made using my mom's special recipe. She and I made bread together for the first time when I was only four years old! I have so many happy memories of baking bread with Mom.

Some children may remember participating in a sharing of breads ceremony. Ask, in these words or your own:

  • Has your family ever brought bread to church [our congregation] for this service? What kind was it?
  • Do you remember tasting a new kind of bread at this service? Did you like it?

State in simple terms a way this service is connected to our faith, for example:

At [name of congregation], eating and sharing bread together reminds us to be grateful for all that we have, including the joy of being together in community.

Introduce the next activities by saying, in these words or your own:

Today we are going to have our own sharing of breads ceremony, but first let's read a story about bread.

Story (Activity 4) Adaptation for Sharing of Breads

Choose a story from the following suggestions:

  • Sun Bread by Elisa Kleven, 2004. Winter's gray chill has set in and everyone misses the sun-especially the baker. So she decides to bring some warmth to the town by making sun bread.
  • Bread, Bread, Bread by Ann Morris, illustrated by Ken Heyman, 1993. Bread is a food enjoyed by people in all parts of the world. Its many shapes, sizes, textures, and colors are as varied as the people who eat it.
  • Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende Devlin, 2012. Grandmother certainly didn't want to ask Mr. Whiskers for Thanksgiving dinner! She was very angry when Maggie asked him. She was even more angry when someone stole her secret recipe for cranberry bread! Was Mr. Whiskers the thief?
  • Tony's Bread by Tomie de Paola, 1996. Tony dreams that one day he'll become the most famous baker in northern Italy.

Circle Games (Activity 6) Adaptation for Sharing of Breads

Do You Know the Muffin Man?

Sing this song in honor of the sharing of breads:

Do you know the muffin man,

The muffin man, the muffin man,

Do you know the muffin man,

Who lives on Drury Lane?

Yes, I know the muffin man,

The muffin man, the muffin man,

Yes, I know the muffin man,

Who lives on Drury Lane.

Closing Adaptation for Water Ceremony

May we remember: Here at [name of congregation], we celebrate being nourished by a community in a special worship service called the Sharing of Breads.

Taking It Home Adaptation for Sharing of Breads

The bread we share this day is sacred. - "The Bread We Share," Reading 727 in Singing the Living Tradition

IN TODAY'S SESSION . . . the theme was "At [name of congregation], we have a special worship service called the Sharing of Breads." [Describe what you did, e.g., We held our own Sharing of Breads ceremony, and then we made play-dough with different kinds of flour.]

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER . . . Read one or more of the books suggested for this session:

  • Sun Bread by Elisa Kleven, 2004. Winter's gray chill has set in and everyone misses the sun-especially the baker. So she decides to bring some warmth to the town by making sun bread.
  • Bread, Bread, Bread by Ann Morris, illustrated by Ken Heyman, 1993. Bread is a food enjoyed by people in all parts of the world. Its many shapes, sizes, textures, and colors are as varied as the people who eat it.
  • Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende Devlin, 2012. Grandmother certainly didn't want to ask Mr. Whiskers for Thanksgiving dinner! She was very angry when Maggie asked him. She was even more angry when someone stole her secret recipe for cranberry bread! Was Mr. Whiskers the thief?
  • Tony's Bread by Tomie de Paola, 1996. Tony dreams that one day he'll become the most famous baker in northern Italy.

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try . . . Making pita bread! In the Tapestry of Faith multigenerational curriculum, Hebrew Scriptures, find an easy recipe to use with children.

A Family Adventure. Bring some different varieties of bread to your local food bank or food pantry.

A Family Discovery. Look up the session on The Ritual of Communion in the Tapestry of Faith curriculum Signs of Our Faith, which describes flower, water, and bread communions held in UU congregations. Read about Janie Johnson, who vowed to bake all her family's bread for 40 days, rather than purchase bread from a store or bakery ("Campaign Honors 40th Anniversary of Earth Day" by Donald E. Skinner, UU World Magazine, June 6, 2010).

A Family Game. Play "Muffin, Muffin, Roll," the same way you play "Duck, Duck, Goose." Or play a personalized version of "pat-a-cake":

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man.

Bake me a cake as fast as you can.

Pat it, and roll it, and mark it with a [child's first initial],

Then put it in the oven for [child's name] and me!

A Family Ritual. Create a family bread communion. Your ritual can include the breaking and passing of bread, which you then eat or feed to one another. Have each person share something they are grateful for.

Including All Participants

If any child has mobility challenges, you could 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. Be sure to find out about any allergies among the group and to have some gluten-free and other options available, as needed.

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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