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
  • Feelings Chart or Feelings Flashcards by Todd Parr
  • A variety of holiday candle holders, such as an Advent candleholder (4 candles), Swedish candle chimes, a sun or moon candleholder for winter Solstice, a hanukiah (Jewish menorah for Chanukah), a diya (Hindu clay pot for Diwali)
  • Optional: A large candle and a lighter

Preparation for Activity

  • Post the chalice-lighting words on the wall near the Circle Time area.
  • Set the holiday candle holders in the circle so you will be able to reach them when you are ready to show them to the children.

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:

Today we're going to talk about candles. Candles give us hope and warmth and are part of many winter holidays. Candlelight helps make the winter season seem magical. Look at the different candleholders that are part of winter traditions.

Show the children the candleholders you have brought. If you are comfortable, light a large candle in the middle of the circle. Invite the children to enjoy the warm light for a bit, and then gently blow it out. Finish by saying:

We have a candle in the chalice, too. It helps us remember the warmth of love and the light of truth. You will make your own candle and holder to take home. First, let's read a story.