Tapestry of Faith: Chalice Children : A Program about Our Unitarian Universalist Community for Preschoolers
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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
  • Feelings Chart or Feelings Flashcards by Todd Parr
  • A crèche with figurines, or a picture of a crèche

Preparation for Activity

  • Post the chalice-lighting words on the wall near the Circle Time area.

Description of Activity

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. Repeat 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 [or 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 today's theme, saying something like:

What holiday is coming up? Christmas! What happens at Christmas? Do you open presents at your house? Does your house have a Christmas tree?

There is a lovely Christmas story about a new baby being born. It is the story of Jesus. We can tell the story with a crèche, which is a decoration with all of the parts of the story in it.

Tell the story, moving the figurines or pointing to the appropriate representations in the picture.

Mary and Joseph: First, this is Joseph and his wife Mary. They had to make a trip to a town called Bethlehem.

Donkey: Mary rode a donkey instead of walking, because she was tired. She was expecting a child.

Stable and Animals: There was no place to stay overnight. So, Mary and Joseph had to sleep in a stable. There were animals in the stable.

Baby Jesus: Jesus was born in the stable and Mary laid him in the cow's hay box, called a manger.

Star and Angels: When Jesus was born, a heavenly host of angels came and welcomed him. A star was shining above the stable.

Shepherds and Sheep: The angels told the shepherds to come and visit the baby.

Wise Men and Camels: Three wise men followed the star, riding camels. They brought gifts for the new baby.

Now ask the children:

Who would like to hold one of the figurines [or, who would like to show everything in the picture] and help me tell the story again?

Invite volunteers to help you tell the story. Involve as many of the children as you can. When you are done, say:

Is it hard to wait for Christmas? How many days until Christmas? We will make a way to keep track of the days. First, let's read a story.

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.