Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Moral Tales: A Program on Making Choices for Grades 2-3

Alternate Activity 1: Candles Of Joys And Sorrows

Part of Moral Tales

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Large container, such as ceramic or metal bowl
  • Play sand (can be found at local hardware store) or unscented cat litter
  • Large number of candles
  • Basket for candles
  • Matches or lighter

Preparation for Activity

  • Fill your container with the play sand or cat litter.
  • Put the candles in the basket.

Description of Activity

Determine if your room and building policies allow for open flames. If not, consider doing this activity with a felt board and felt candles or with beads in a jar.

Begin by lighting a "starter" candle. Invite the children to come forward one at a time and light a candle of joy and sorrow from the starter candle and push it into the sand. The child should then face the group and tell them what the candle is for. Translate the language so they understand that we are talking about things that have made them very happy or sad.

Candles of joy and sorrow offer the opportunity for children to experience what is a weekly ritual in many Unitarian Universalist congregations. This activity can deepen sense of community in the Moral Tales group. It gives participants a chance to name those things which they carry in their hearts, encourages listening to others, and, in many cases, makes a link with the adult worship experience.

IMPORTANT: Do not leave burning candles unattended. When all who wish to participate have done so, blow the candles out and put the matches away in a safe place.

Including All Participants

If a child is physically unable to light a candle and stand to address the group, ask the child to invite another child to light a candle for them or offer to do it yourself. Allow the child to speak joys and sorrows from where they are sitting.