Tapestry of Faith: Love Connects Us: A Program on Living in Unitarian Universalist Covenant for Grades 4-5

Activity 1: Filling Buckets Obstacle Course

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Plastic buckets, two for each team
  • Plastic cups, one for each team
  • Cardboard boxes of different sizes and shapes, and items such as chairs, tables, brooms, and pillows
  • Yardstick or ruler
  • Whistle, bell, or gong
  • Optional: Plastic tarps or other waterproof floor cover

Preparation for Activity

  • Calculate how many teams of three or four you will have. For each team you will need two plastic buckets, a plastic cup, and a set of cardboard boxes and other objects to make the team's obstacle course.
  • Decide where to do this activity. You will need a large, open space where it is okay to splash some water-ideally, outdoors.
    • If needed, secure permission to use an outdoor space and take the group outside.
    • If you are doing the activity indoors, spread plastic tarps to protect the floor and simplify clean-up.
  • Set up the obstacle course: For each team, place a bucket at the start of the course and another bucket at the end. Arrange the cardboard boxes and other items so team members must climb through, around, under, and over them. Make the obstacle courses as similar as possible; for example, if one team must climb through a tire, then the other teams' obstacle courses should include tires to climb through or equivalent challenges.
  • Fill the starting-line buckets with water.

Description of Activity

Form teams of three or four. Explain that one team member at a time will scoop up water from the starting bucket with the plastic cup, make their way through the obstacle course spilling as little water as possible, dump the remaining water into the bucket at the end, then return the cup to the next team member. The team will win that collects the most water in their finish line bucket when time is up.

Give each team a plastic cup.

Tell them you will sound the whistle, bell, or gong to start the teams and when you sound it a second time, everyone must stop.

Allow enough time for every participant to have a turn at the obstacle course. (Some children will get more than one try.) Then sound the "stop" whistle.

Use a yardstick or ruler to measure the water in each bucket, and announce which team has won.

Take some time to reflect upon the experience with questions such as:

  • How much of the water in the starting buckets actually made it into the finish line buckets?
  • Which team collected the most water in its bucket? Was this the same team that moved fastest? Why do you think this particular team was the one to win?
  • Did you find the obstacles difficult to maneuver around?
  • In what ways do we have obstacles in our lives that prevent us from simply going from one point to another?

Take this opportunity to briefly make the point that in life, obstacles can give us opportunities to strengthen our persistence and think of new ways to get things done.

Including All Participants

If any children in the group have mobility restrictions, design the obstacle course so they can fully participate. For instance, if any children use a wheelchair, provide extra room for team members to maneuver around obstacles and omit obstacles that require team members to climb over or under items. You might invite all the participants to help you design an obstacle course which can accommodate the special needs of everyone in the group; you may be surprised at the creative solutions they can come up with to make sure everyone is included.