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

Activity 6: Circle Games

Activity time: 10 minutes

Preparation for Activity

  • Familiarize yourself with the Circle Games and songs from previous sessions and the new songs and games suggested for this session. Learn how to use "zipper songs" in Chapter 6 of the Tapestry of Faith resource "Making Music Live," by Nick Page. One fun zipper song is "Aikendrum," a traditional participatory song where children clothe a moon dweller out of food items they call out. You can research additional circle games or songs about imagination, or make up your own imagination-related words to a common tune.
  • Display any posters you have made.

Description of Activity

Gather in a circle on the floor.

Play the games and sing the songs. Keep the pace brisk to help children stay focused.

Welcome, Chalice Children

Ask the children to stand, as they are able, in their places. Sing "Welcome, Chalice Children" to the tune of "Little Rabbit Foo-Foo":

Welcome, Chalice Children,

We are Unitarians.

Jump into the circle,

Jump, jump, jump.

Welcome, Chalice Children,

We are Universalists.

Jump into the circle,

Jump, jump, jump.

Welcome, Chalice Children,

My name is [leaders' and children's names, in turn].

Jump into the circle,

Jump, jump, jump.

Alternate verses:

We are Chalice Children!

Welcome to our circle!

We are Chalice Children!

Clap, clap, clap!

We are Unitarians!

We are Universalists!

Welcome to our circle!

Clap, clap, clap!

We are Chalice Children!

Let's all welcome [name of a child in the group]

Welcome to our circle!

Clap, clap, clap!

Throwing Balls

Lead this imagination-based game:

This is my ball. [use your hands to show how big or small it is]

It is a [pretend the ball is another object-a watermelon, ping-pong ball, pea, kickball, soccer ball, etc.]!

I throw it to [say the name of a child in the group, and pretend to throw the ball].

Your turn!

Repeat until every child has had a chance to choose a new kind of ball and then "throw" it.

A "Zipper Song"

In a zipper song, with each new verse most of the words stay the same but one or two words change. "This Old Man" is a classic zipper song:

This old man, he played one.

He played knick-knack on my thumb.

With a knick-knack paddy-wack,

Give the dog a bone,

This old man came rolling home.

Additional verses:

Two . . . on my shoe.

Three . . . on my knee.

Four . . . door.

Five . . . hive.

Six . . . sticks.

Seven . . . up in heaven.

Eight . . . plate.

Nine . . . spine.

Ten . . . once again.

Other good Zipper Songs are "Old McDonald" and "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain."

Freeze and Melt

Players pretend to do or be something, moving slowly at first. Gradually, they increase their pace and make their movements more dramatic, until the leader calls "Freeze!" This is the signal for players to stop moving. They stay still and hold the frozen position until the leader calls "Melt!" Play then resumes, with players doing a new action. Encourage the children to be creative in their movements. Invite them to pretend to be: the wind, a lion, a flower, very small, the rain, very tall, a fish, a mountain, the moon, the sun, a rainbow, a fish...

Lead more Circle Time songs and games, as time allows.

Including All Participants

If any child might find jumping and standing difficult, substitute other actions, such as clapping, stepping, or wiggling, or sing the songs and play games from a seated position.