Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Graph paper, 11x17-inch
- Pencils with erasers, and color pencils or crayons
- Optional: One or more architectural-style residential floor plans
Description of Activity
The place where we live creates and holds our memories and our sense of rootedness. Participants draw their home as best they can, in an architectural floor plan style, then decorate the floor plan to show how they are rooted in the place where they live.
Distribute graph paper and pencils with erasers. Invite the children to sketch, as best they can, a floor plan of the place where they live. Explain that a floor plan shows how a building looks if you were in an airplane above and the roof had been removed. If you have brought sample floor plan drawings, show them to the group.
Emphasize that it is difficult to imagine and create a building as a floor plan. No one should worry if their plan does not come out looking like an architect's drawing. The point of this activity is for participants to visualize where they live as vividly as possible. Acknowledge that the place where a person lives now might not be the place that holds the most significant memories for them; participants are free to draw the living space which is most vivid or meaningful to them.
When participants have sketched out the floor plan, invite them to write or draw inside the rooms any particular memory they have associated with that room. For instance, the kitchen might say "smell of waffles on Saturday morning" or the living room might say "wrestling with my brother."
Give participants about ten minutes to work on their drawings. Encourage them to share with one another. Then, invite reflection with these questions:
- How long have you lived where you are now? Does it hold most of your memories, or is there another place that means more to you?
- Do you feel rooted in the place you live? What does being rooted feel like?
- What do you think someone can gain from being connected to one place for a long time? If you have not lived in the same place for a long time, what makes you feel rooted in the place where you live?
- How does living in the place where you live now shape your life?
- How does living in the community you are in shape your life?
- How does living in America shape your life?
Including All Participants
This exercise may bring up painful associations from children who are or have been homeless, children who have been abused in their homes, or children who have moved one or more times. Be sensitive to the level at which children wish to share, and turn to your religious education director or minister if you sense that any child is experiencing significant emotional pain at home.