Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A copy of the story "The Everything Seed" or a copy of the book The Everything Seed, by Carole Martignacco, illustrated by Joy Troyer, available from Amazon.
- A large basket
- Objects to place in the basket that are related to the story "The Everything Seed," such as images of the universe and our galaxy, models of planets or other space objects, various types and sizes of seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, acorn, beans, pine cone, milkweed, or poppy seeds
- A large seed, visible when held between your fingers, such as a lima bean, avocado pit, or acorn
- A chime, rain stick, or other calming sound instrument
- Optional: Box or small table and a decorative cloth cover
- Optional: Fidget Basket, see Leader Resource 4
Preparation for Activity
- Place the story-related items and the chime, rain stick, or other sound instrument in the story basket. Place the filled basket in the storytelling area you have designated.
- Read the story a few times. Plan how you will use items from the story basket as props.
- Optional: To provide a focal point where story-related items can sit while you tell the story, set up a box or table next to your storytelling area and drape it with a decorative cloth.
- Optional: If you have a basket of fidget objects for children who will listen and learn more effectively with something in their hands, make the basket available during this activity. Remind children where it is before you begin the "centering" part of this activity. See Leader Resource 4, Fidget Objects, for a full description of fidget baskets and guidance for using them.
Description of Activity
Gather the children in a circle in the storytelling area and show them the story basket. Say something like, "Let's see what's in our story basket this week."
Tell the group the items in the story basket will be placed on this table after the children have passed them around the circle. Take the story-related items from the basket, one at a time, and pass them around. Objects that are fragile, or which should not be passed around for any reason, can be held up for all to see and then placed directly on the table. Briefly name the various objects.
Now remove the sound instrument from the story basket. Tell participants that every time you tell a story in Love Will Guide Us, you will first use the instrument to help them get their ears, their minds, and their bodies ready to listen. Invite them to sit comfortably and close their eyes (if they are comfortable doing so). You may tell them that closing their eyes can help them focus just on listening. In a calm voice, say, in your own words:
As you breathe in, feel your body opening up with air. As you breathe out, feel yourself relaxing.
Repeat this once or twice and then say:
When I hit the chime (turn the rain stick over), listen as carefully as you can. See how long you can hear its sound. When you can no longer hear it, open your eyes and you will know it is time for the story to begin.
Sound the chime or other instrument. When the sound has gone, begin telling the story, "The Everything Seed," which illustrates the origins of our universe with the metaphor of an unfolding seed.
Sound the rain stick to indicate the story is over. Bring back the story basket with its seeds and take one out. Take a few minutes to guide the children in a brief discussion, using these questions:
- I wonder what things were inside that Everything Seed? (Lead participants to list things in our universe.)
- How do you think love came out of the Everything Seed? How love could be inside a seed?
- What sorts of ways might our universe continue to unfold? What new things might grow out of the Everything Seed?
- Why is it important we remember that we need to love each other and everything on Earth? (Lift up the meaning of the interconnected web of life to Unitarian Universalists.)
Including All Participants
You may wish to make fidget objects available to children who find it difficult to sit still while listening to a story. Fidget objects, described in Leader Resource 4, can provide a non-disruptive outlet for a child who needs to move or who benefits from sensory stimulation.