Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Creating Home: A Program on Developing a Sense of Home Grounded in Faith for Grades K-1

Activity 3: "Spirit Of Life" Wrist Scarf Dance

Part of Creating Home

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Colorful, flowing scarves, for all participants
  • Ponytail holders to secure scarves to participants' wrists
  • Optional: CD with a version of the song, "Spirit of Life"

Preparation for Activity

  • Review "Spirit of Life," Hymn 123 in Singing the Living Tradition. If you plan to teach the song, make sure you know the tune. You can hear the song from the Davies Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church website.
  • Collect enough colorful scarves to make at least one wrist scarf for each participant. You may collect scarves from congregational members, at garage sales, or at dollar stores. Or, you may invite children to bring a colorful, flowing scarf from home. Communicate this request to parents with a handout, in a group email, or in person at least a week before you will do this activity. You may wish to download, customize, and distribute Leader Resource 4: Scarf Request. Always bring extras.
  • Purchase covered elastic hair ties that will fit comfortably on a child's wrist, at least one for each participant.
  • Optional: If you are supplying the scarves and the hair ties, tie each scarf to a ponytail holder ahead of time to make wrist scarves for the group.
  • Optional: Your congregation may have adult or teen members who would excel at teaching the song "Spirit of Life" to participants and/or leading an improvisational dance activity. Invite volunteers to help lead this session well in advance.

Description of Activity

Ask the children to gather in a circle, with their colorful scarves if they have brought them from home. Wrist scarves are easily made by children, if you have not made them ahead of time. Tell the group they will learn the song, "Spirit of Life" - a popular hymn sung in many Unitarian Universalist congregations. Then they will put on wrist scarves to accompany their own singing with improvisational dance.

"Spirit of Life" has become symbolic of Unitarian Universalist faith values of compassion and love. The phrase "Roots hold me close, wings set me free" expresses the power of a home, and the importance of leaving home for journeys. Share these ideas with the children.

First, have participants listen to the song.

Then, teach the words. Sing each phrase of the song and ask the group to sing the phrase back to you. Then, sing two phrases together and ask the group to sing these back to you. Finally, sing the whole song with the group.

Now distribute wrist scarves if you have made them ahead of time, or distribute ponytail holders and help each child tie their scarf to a hair tie. Show the children how to knot a scarf around a hair tie, and then slide a hand into the hair tie to make a wrist scarf. Allow them to experiment with their wrist scarves.

Play the recording of "Spirit of Life," inviting participants to sing along. Or, lead the group in singing "Spirit of Life" together.

Invite the children to dance creatively with their wrist scarves as they sing the song and/or hear the recording. Encourage participants to move and dance to feel and see the energy and color of their wrist scarves.