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

Activity 1: Free Play

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Name tags and markers
  • Variety of free play options, such as toys, a puzzle, story books, manipulatives, dramatic play props, and markers and paper
  • Bean seeds spread on a tray, surrounded by paper, crayons, and markers

Preparation for Activity

  • Make name tags for the children you are expecting and set these out with a few extra blank name tags and a marker.
  • Display the free play options attractively, ready for the children to use, such as a puzzle with a piece already put in place, a family of ethnically and gender-diverse dolls sitting together in the dramatic play area, a group of trucks near a block garage, or an open picture book. Include the Memory Match Game from Session 5.
  • Set a work table nearby for children to explore bean seeds and draw what they see, or imagine.

Description of Activity

Free play time allows children to make individual choices, explore the environment, share time together, and build a sense of belonging and comfort with the group and the meeting room space.

As the children arrive, invite them into the Chalice Children meeting room and help them get comfortable by pointing out the free play area and noting the options for play that are displayed. Point out the tray displaying bean seeds, and the drawing materials. Help children say goodbye to their parent(s) or caregiver(s).

Invite and guide the children to play, helping them feel safe and welcomed.

Give a five-minute warning to the children that free play will end and clean-up will begin; follow with a one-minute warning.

Including All Participants

Free play needs to include options for all the children. For example, you might set up a craft project at a table that is tall enough to accommodate a wheelchair, with room for others.