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

Activity 5: Flannel Board Chalice

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Leader Resource 1, Flannel Chalice Template
  • A flannel board or a whiteboard, 2 x 2-feet or larger
  • Squares of flannel (for flannel board) or craft foam (for whiteboard) in gold/yellow, white, and red
  • Large sheets of blue, black or purple construction paper, one for each child
  • Individual chalice parts (base, stem, bowl, candle, and flame), one set pre-cut for each child, and glue sticks to share
  • Paper towels, moistened
  • Optional: Digital camera or smartphone

Preparation for Activity

  • Obtain or make a flannel board. To make a flannel board, find a 2 x 2-feet piece of corrugated cardboard or the cardboard back from a pad of newsprint sheets (2 x 3-feet). Cover the cardboard on one side with flannel, ideally in blue, black, or purple; you will need 1–1 1/2 yards. An alternative is to use a whiteboard; foam craft pieces will stick to the whiteboard if you moisten them first.
  • Cut the five chalice pieces (base, stem, bowl, candle, and flame) out of gold/yellow, white, and red flannel, using the templates provided in Leader Resource 1 or your own chalice design. Use gold or yellow flannel for the base, stem, and bowl; white for the candle; and red for the flame. Trace the chalice shapes on the flannel and then cut them out, or pin them down and cut around them.
  • Now use the templates to cut gold/yellow, white, and red chalice pieces for the children, one set of five pieces for each child. Then use the pieces to trace a set of five chalice pieces for each child. You may use the templates from Leader Resource 1 or your own design. Make each set of pieces similar, but not identical.
  • On an activity table, set the large sheets of construction paper, the paper cut-outs, and glue sticks.
  • Familiarize yourself with placing the flannel chalice pieces on the flannel board as you tell the story (see Description of Activity).

Description of Activity

Gather the children so all can see the flannel board. Introduce the chalice by telling a story, using the five flannel pieces as props. As you add pieces, you create a flaming chalice, one piece of which looks like a smile. The children then make their own paper chalices.

Point to the flannel board and invite the children to listen to the story:

Once upon a time, there was a family going to their church [or congregation]. [point to the empty flannel board]

The sun was peeking in the window. It’s time to get up!

Here is the sun. [place base sideways]

Look out the window as you drive or ride the bus-what do you see?

Here is the window. [place stem next to base]

Come into the room with a smile on your face! Smile at your new friends and smile at your old friends. Here is your smile. [place bowl right side up]

Sail away to look for adventure.

Here is the sail. [place candle on top of bowl]

See a fire in the distance. Here is the fire. [place flame on top of candle]

Put it all together. [turn base and stem under bowl]

It’s a flaming chalice!

[point to the parts of the chalice as you name them]

The base is for all the different kinds of people there are.

The stem is for being kind and helpful.

The bowl is for smiles for everyone!

The candle that keeps us going is for truth, love, and the energy of action.

The flame that burns is the flame of hope and goodness.

If time allows and children wish, start over and tell the story again. Invite them to add new parts of the story that they can imagine. Prompt them by asking, “What could this piece be?”

Gather the children at the activity table. Invite them to make their own paper chalices, using the chalice cut-outs, and to glue them on construction paper to take home. You may wish to take pictures of the chalices the children create.

Invite the children to clean up. Show them where to stack the extra construction paper and cut-outs. Invite them to wipe up sticky glue spots from the table with moistened paper towels and straighten the area.

Including All Participants

You may wish to invite a child be your helper. Let them hold the flannel pieces and hand them to you as you tell the story.