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

Activity 1: Covenant Charades

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Five index cards
  • A bag or basket
  • A timepiece (minutes)

Preparation for Activity

  • Write these phrases from the Blake covenant on index cards (one phrase per card):
  • Place the cards in the basket or bag, folding them if necessary so the writing cannot be seen.

Description of Activity

Participants act out concepts from the Blake covenant in an adapted version of Charades.

If needed, explain the game, in these words or your own:

Charades is a game where one person acts out a phrase, without speaking, for the others on their team to guess as quickly as possible. To act out a phrase, the presenter first shows what kind of phrase it is-in this game, all the phrases will be quotes from the Blake covenant-and how many words the phrase has. Then the presenter can begin acting out the phrase, either one word at a time or by showing the entire phrase, all at once.

Explain the Covenant Charades hand gestures:

  • To indicate that a phrase is a quotation, make quote marks in the air with fingers.
  • To indicate the number of words in a phrase, hold up that number of fingers. To act out one of the words, hold up the number of fingers representing that word's position in the phrase (one finger = first word).
  • Hold arms far apart to indicate a big word. Pinch fingers together to indicate a small word. Sweep arms in a circle to indicate acting out the entire concept.
  • A hand cupped behind the ear expresses the concept "sounds like."

A gesture which appears to be the stretching of a large rubber band can be used to indicate a longer form of the word (such as "painting" when someone guesses "paint").

Select a co-leader or participant to be the timekeeper. Form two teams. Tell them each team will have three minutes for one of its members to act out a phrase, without speaking, for the rest of their team to guess.

Pick a team to go first. Have one team member choose a card from the basket, read the phrase (without showing it to anyone else), and then place the card face down on a table or the floor. Give the child a moment to think about how they will act out the words on the card. When they are ready, start keeping time and signal the presenter to begin acting out the phrase. Encourage their team to yell out their guesses. Give them three minutes to guess the phrase.

If the team has not guessed the phrase, invite the other team to guess (without the presenter doing any more acting out). If they cannot guess in one minute, tell everyone the phrase.

Now allow the second team to have a turn. Continue until all five phrases have been acted out, or until you are out of time.

Save a few minutes for participants to reflect on the experience. Ask questions such as:

  • How did the gestures each person made help you figure out what phrase they were acting out?
  • Once you knew what a phrase was, did you have ideas for how the person could have demonstrated it? What?
  • Which phrase was the easiest to guess? Why? Which was the hardest? Why?
  • What if this was the only way we could communicate with one another? How might it be harder to get along? How might it be easier? Why?

Including All Participants

Some children may be uncomfortable acting out a charade for a group. If you know which children these are, you might offer suggestions as the teams make their selection. Acting out a charade should always be a volunteer activity.

A participant who is unable to either act out a phrase or yell out their guesses can serve as timekeeper or hold the basket of phrases for their team members.