Tapestry of Faith: Sing to the Power: A Social Justice Program for Children Grades 4-5

Alternate Activity 2: Moving Candle Flame

Activity time: 5 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Candle, candle holder, and saucer for each participant
  • Matches or lighter

Preparation for Activity

  • Make sure a candle with an open flame is allowed in your religious education space.
  • Set candles firmly in candle holders. Set each candle holder on a saucer or other stable surface that will protect surfaces from dripping wax.

Description of Activity

The flame of a candle makes air visible, as it moves and bends with the slightest air movement.

Light a candle for each participant. Explain that not only do candle flames exist by burning oxygen, they also are an expression of the power of very small things. Ask participants to simply observe their flame for a few moments. Can they tell if there are drafts in the room and which way they are blowing? Then encourage participants to experiment with moving the flame by blowing on it. Emphasize that they should not put their face directly over the flame, but blow from the side. Instruct them to blow very gently; this is an exercise in the power of very small things. As they experiment, ask:

  • How much air does it take to move the flame?
  • How much air blows it out entirely?
  • Does the flame always move the way you expect it to move? Can you control the flame better as you practice?

After a few minutes, ask participants to blow out their candles, using the least amount of air possible.

Lead a discussion:

  • Did moving the flame take less air or more air than they thought?
  • Did they get out of breath even when only blowing gently?
  • How much difference do they think a single candle flame could make in the world? (For instance, one candle could keep a person from freezing to death, or could start a fire that would burn down a city block.)

Including All Participants

If any participants are anxious about being near live flame, or are, in your opinion, likely to be insufficiently careful, pair them with another participant or a co-leader. Encourage them to try the exercise at a slightly greater distance.