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

Activity 3: Circle Time

Activity time: 5 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Leader Resource 1, Teddy Bear Month Invitation, one copy for each child
  • Chalice-lighting words, written on newsprint
  • Chalice with tea light flame or other preschool chalice option
  • Extra stuffed animals, for those who did not bring one
  • Feelings Chart or Feelings Flashcards by Todd Parr

Preparation for Activity

  • A week or more before this session, adapt Leader Resource 1, Teddy Bear Month Invitation and send to the families to tell them when their child should bring a favorite bear or stuffed animal to Chalice Children.
  • Gather some stuffed animals to have on hand for any child who doesn't bring one.
  • Post the chalice-lighting words near the Circle Time area.

Description of Activity

Invite the children to get their teddy bear or to select one from the collection of extras. Bring the chalice into the circle, either on the floor or on a small table or stand. Say, in these words or your own:

Welcome to Circle Time! First we light our chalice.

Point out where your chalice-lighting words are displayed. Say your chalice-lighting words as you "light" the chalice:

We light this chalice for the warmth of love, the light of truth, and the energy of action.

Say, in these words or your own:

Now we share our names and feelings. How are each of you feeling today? We will go around the circle and each say our name and point to how we're feeling today on the Feelings Chart [Feelings Flashcard]. If you would rather not share today, you may say, "No, thank you."

Once everyone who wishes to has shared, say, in these words or your own:

For all the feelings that we feel today, we know that we have our friends, our families, and our church [congregational] family to share them with.

Introduce the theme of Teddy Bear Month in these words or your own:

As you can see, today we have some special guests-our teddy bears! The bears are invited for the next three weeks to help us learn about making friends and being friends. Our congregation is one place that we can make friends-and being a member of this group means helping to make it a friendly place for others.

Engage the children in talking about the teddy bear they brought (or a favorite that they have at home) by asking questions, such as:

  • What is your teddy bear's name?
  • Do you take your teddy bear to bed with you?
  • Where does your teddy bear stay when you are away?

Introduce the idea of making friends by saying, in these words or your own:

Now that we have met the bears, would they like to meet each other? How can you help your bear make friends with another bear? What are some things your bear could do or say? [Elicit that the bear could be friendly, offer to share something, ask how the other bear is doing, invite the other bear to do something fun, etc.]

Have two children role-play a friendly interaction between two bears. Conclude by saying, in these words or your own:

Today we will care for our bears by making beds for them to nap inhere at church [our congregation]. But first, let's read a story about teddy bears.

Including All Participants

You can hold your circle activities in a circle of chairs to make it easier to include a wheelchair or for a child to sit while wearing leg braces.