Gathered here in the mystery of the hour. — from "Gathered Here," Hymn 389 in Singing the Living Tradition
IN TODAY'S SESSION . . . the theme was "My shadow." Sophia L. Fahs identifies play with one's shadow as one of 12 main types of experiences connected with natural religious development in young children. Playing with our shadow is an experience that awakens wonder and the thrill of discovery. Shadows also bring mystery into our world—but, darkness and shadows can be frightening sometimes. We learned that sharing our fears with friends can help us feel less afraid.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER . . . Read some of the books suggested in this session:
- Moonbear's Shadow by Frank Asch, 2000. Moonbear tries to outwit his troublesome shadow in this beloved classic.
- Whoo's There: A Bedtime Shadow Book by Heather Zschock, 2005. Gentle rhymes about six nighttime creatures, including an owl, fireflies, and a raccoon. You can shine the beam of your own flashlight through the transparent "windows" to cast silhouettes on the wall as you read with your child—a fun and comforting way to end the day and experience a book together.
- I'm Not Scared by Todd Parr, 2011. With his signature blend of playfulness and sensitivity, Todd Parr explores the subject of all things scary and assures readers that all of us are afraid sometimes.
- Not Afraid of Dogs by Susanna Pitzer, illustrated by Larry Day, 2006. Daniel is the bravest boy of all! Daniel isn't afraid of spiders, or snakes, or even thunderstorms. And no matter what his sister says, he's certainly not afraid of dogs—he just doesn't like them.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try . . . playing with shadows on a sunny day. Can you keep the others from jumping on your shadow?
A Family Adventure. Take a walk in the late afternoon. Measure how long your shadows are!
A Family Discovery. This YouTube video offers simple instructions for making hand shadow animals.
Watch Peep and the Big Wide World: Shadow Play and have a conversation about shadows.
The article, "Top 10 Toddler Fears," on the Parents Magazine website, suggests what you can do to help children through their insecurities and offers tips for building children's resilience to manage their fear.
A Family Ritual. Have everyone guess whether the groundhog will see its shadow on Groundhog Day. Then find out what happens.