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

  • Chalice-lighting words, written on newsprint
  • Chalice with tea light flame or other preschool chalice option
  • Feelings chart or Feelings Flashcards by Todd Parr
  • Flowers and other items (e.g., leaves, weeds, branches)
  • Bulb (e.g., flower, onion, or garlic bulb)
  • Knife sharp enough to cut the bulb

Preparation for Activity

  • Post the chalice-lighting words on the wall near the Circle Time area.
  • Gather some flowers and other growing plants from outdoors.

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. Say the 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 [congregation] family to share them with.

Introduce today’s theme by saying, in these words or your own:

Have you seen flowers in the store or outside growing in the ground? What do they look like? Have you ever gotten a gift of flowers or seen someone get flowers?

Engaging children in conversation about times when they participated in giving or receiving flowers will help them identify their feelings of joy and appreciation for the beauty of nature. Show the flowers and other items you’ve gathered, and ask, in these words or your own:

What is happening outside these days? Is it getting cooler? Are the trees changing? How are they changing? Are the leaves changing? What do they look like? Are there flowers growing? What do they look like?

If the children need prompting, use examples appropriate to your specific geography.

Show the children the bulb and say, in these words or your own:

Some plants and trees are getting ready to go to sleep over the winter. They are going to store their growing until it warms up. Do you think we can see what makes them go to sleep and then grow again next spring?

Cut open the bulb and invite the children to take a look. Say, in these words or your own:

Though we can’t see it, there is a special growing force inside this bulb. It is one of the amazing things about plants and trees. Today we are going to plant our own seeds [or bulbs]! But first, let’s read a story about what is happening outside.

Including All Participants

If any child has mobility problems, 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.