Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Love Surrounds Us: A Program on the UU Principles and Beloved Community for Grades K-1

Activity 2: Johnny in the Ink Pot

Activity time: 10 minutes

Description of Activity

This active game encourages participants to think of ways to help the environment.

Explain that you will be playing a game like Charades that some children play in England. The game will be about ways to help the environment. Choose one child to stand away from the group so they cannot see or hear the group. Tell the others to think of something they can do to help the environment and how they can act it out, without speaking, to help the "Johnny" guess what they are doing. Examples of activities could be picking up litter or turning off lights. Then teach the participants to chant "Johnny in the ink pot, what shall we do today?"

Bring the "Johnny" participant back to the circle and lead the children to chant "(Participant's name) in the ink pot, what shall we do today?" Direct the "Johnny" to respond, "Get to work!"

Now invite every participant in the circle to do the agreed-on charade and "Johnny" to guess what they are doing. After "Johnny" guesses, they can choose the next participant to be "Johnny" and repeat the game. Ask these discussion questions:

  • Can anyone think of other activities you could have acted out?
  • What would that have looked like?
  • Are the things you acted out easy things to teach others to do? Why or why not?

Including All Participants

Some participants may need to just shut their eyes and cover their ears so the group can decide on an activity. If the group is large or you think some children may have a hard time guessing, partner children to be a "Team Johnny." Assist children with hearing or sight challenges to participate in the group's choice of an action and gestures to act it out.