Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Pieces of corrugated cardboard or poster board, about 12 inches square, for all participants
- Push pins with cylindrical tops
- Markers and/or crayons
- Scissors, including left-handed scissors
Preparation for Activity
- Obtain sheets of corrugated cardboard or another substance that will hold a push pin. Cut a 12-inch square piece for each participant.
- Obtain push pins, at least five for each participant. The push pins need to have cylindrical tops, big enough to hold the multiple strands of yarn a child will wind around them.
- Cut pieces of yarn, at least three feet long, for each participant.
- Obtain stickers that participants may choose to represent their family home, faith home, school, and other important locations in their lives.
Description of Activity
Children will explore the connectedness of their family home, their faith home, and other important settings in their lives by making a web in the style of a spider web. They will use yarn to make a web that shows how their different "homes" connect.
Say, in your own words:
A spider's web connects several places together. The spider moves around on the web, and uses the web to eat and grow. Did you know there is a web in your life that helps you eat and grow?
We are going to make a web that shows how the different homes in your life are connected, and includes other places that are important as you live and grow.
Distribute the 12-inch squares of corrugated cardboard and a piece of yarn to each child. Set push pins, stickers, and markers or crayons at children's work tables.
Ask the children to choose a push pin to stand for themselves. (If you have done Session 2: Symbols of Faith, you can reinforce their understanding of the word "symbol" by using it here.) Suggest they place themselves in the center of their cardboard. Show them how to stick the push pin in firmly.
Now invite the children to place a push pin in the corrugated cardboard to represent their family home and mark that spot with a sticker. Next, ask them to push a pin into the cardboard to represent their faith home and place a sticker there. Then, ask them to push a pin into the cardboard to represent their school and add a sticker. Some children may be home-schooled; invite them to give "school" its own push pin. You can explain that going to school is a special part of the web of their lives, and different from other kinds of things they do in their family home.
Some children - for example, those who have two custodial parents living in different homes - may want to use additional pins. Encourage all the children to think of a few more places they go regularly that are important to them and help them grow. You may say:
Some people spend so much time someplace outside their home that they might say, "I like to read so much that the library is like my second home," or "The swimming pool is like my second home." Some children have a grandmother or an aunt or an uncle or a family friend whose house they spend a lot of time at. Maybe some of you have a place that is almost like another home for you.
You may wish to prompt discussion with these questions:
- Where do you go to make sure your body can grow strong? Where do you get exercise? (a playground, sport or dance practice, a YMCA) Where do you get food? (a grocery store, a farmer's market)
- Where do you go to help your friendships grow? (a regular play date, a playground, an after-school program, a friend's house)
- What about helping your mind grow, and learning different kinds of things than you learn here or in your family home or in school? (art or music lessons; clubs such as 4H, Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts; the home or work place of a relative or family friend)
Once all children have placed and marked their push pins, show the group how to wind yarn around all of the pins to make a web. Tell them they can wind the yarn any way they wish to show how the different places are connected to them.
When all the yarn is gone, explain that this is how we build a web of relationship between the people in our lives and the homes we live in. Ask children to share how the yarn connects each place in their lives.
Including All Participants
Some children may have more than one family home, for example, if divorced parents share custody. Children of interfaith families may have a connection to another faith home along with your Unitarian Universalist congregation. Some children may have multiple extracurricular activities that are meaningful for them; others may have none. As you give directions for this activity, be sensitive to these possibilities and others. Allow children to use as many push pins as the web of their lives requires.
Avoid using stickers with images that represent specific kinds of families or homes. Families and homes differ widely.