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

  • 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

  • Before this session, send a reminder to families for children to bring their bear (refer to Session 25, Leader Resource 1).
  • Gather some stuffed animals to have on hand for any child who doesn't bring one.
  • Today's topic is likely to remind children of their fear of being lost or left alone. Using the bears gives children a safe way to express these fears. It also allows them to comfort the bear in ways they would like to be comforted. Prepare for this activity by planning to use a calm voice, to hold the children's hands, and to keep your expressions (verbal and nonverbal) calm, supportive, and loving. Prepare to reinforce the fact that we all have fears and that sharing our fears with our friends can help us feel less afraid.
  • Post the chalice-lighting words on the wall 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.

Ask the children to introduce (or re-introduce) their teddy bears. Introduce today's theme, in these words or your own:

Let's pretend that our bears got lost. Put your bear behind you. Oh, no! Bear is lost! Where is Bear? We look here [look to the left], we look there [look to the right], we look all over, but we can't find Bear anywhere. Wait! Bear is right here! [Have children "find" their bears behind them] Uh-oh. Bear looks scared. What are some things we could we do for Bear? [Elicit ideas from the children] We could hold Bear's hand so Bear isn't scared any more, we could give Bear a hug and tell Bear it's all right now, we could say that it's so good to see Bear again!

Later we are going to play a hiding game with our bears, but first let's read a story about being lost.

Including All Participants

If any child has mobility challenges, you could 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.