Activity time: 18 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Stalks of barley, wheat, or another grain, six 18" pieces per bracelet
- Water and paper towels
- Optional: Raffia
Preparation for Activity
- Obtain dried stalks of grain, suitable for softening in water and knotting together to make bracelets. If real grain stalks are unavailable, purchase natural raffia; see Leader Resources for sources.
- Soak the grain stalks in water for at least half an hour. Set them on paper towels to dry.
Description of Activity
Making a bracelet to give to a friend engages children in the power of friendship as demonstrated in the stories, "Ruth and Naomi" and "Owen and Mzee." This activity also gives participants a chance to interact with natural grains.
Tell the group, in your own words:
The stories we have heard today show how important friendship can be in our lives. Sometimes, we can feel as much at home with friends as we do with our families. Love is the most important element to establishing a home. And good friends do love each other. When you are grown-ups, some of you may have homes where you live with your friends.
Tell the children they will make a friendship bracelet to give to a friend. They will make the bracelet using the stalks of a grain, like the barley Ruth gathered for herself and her mother-in-law. If you are using raffia instead, tell the group you chose this material because it looks like grain stalks and they can make a bracelet with it the same way.
Show the children the grain stalks you have brought. Pass the grain stalks around. Tell them that grains were the largest part of what most people ate in Ruth and Naomi's time, long ago. In many parts of our world, many people eat mostly grain now. Ruth and Naomi had little else to eat beside bread or porridge made from grains. What would that be like?
Give each child six strands of grain stalk to start. Make a knot to hold all the pieces together. Tape the knot securely to a table or use the clip of a clipboard to hold the knotted end. Tie knots at intervals of one inch or so, keeping the six strands together. Finish the bracelet with one more knot when it is large enough to slip onto a child's wrist.