Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A copy of Leader Resource 3, All My Friends and Neighbors - Making a Difference
- Optional: A piece of paper or large, flat books for each child
- Optional: Small carpet squares
Preparation for Activity
- Make sure you have a large enough space for everyone to sit or stand in a circle.
- If you want the children to do this exercise standing you will need to give a piece of paper, small carpet square or other object (at least as large as a book) to each child to place behind them on the floor to mark their space.
Description of Activity
Arrange the group so that everyone stands in front of a carpet square or a piece of paper or a book, or sits in a chair, with one person in the center who has no carpet square/paper/chair. Important rules to share before the game begins are that there are no running (fast walking is okay, if children don't bump one another), no pushing, and no shoving. If some children cannot abide by these rules they can take a seat on their chair or in their "spot" and simply watch the action.
Be the first player to stand in the center of the circle. Start the game with a simple statement, such as:
I want to meet my friends and neighbors who like (chocolate ice cream, peanut butter, lima bean, etc.).
I want to meet my friends and neighbors who have (birthdays in the spring, a cat, etc.).
Instruct all the children to whom the statement applies to rise and move to a different chair or space. Then help the next child left in the middle to make a general statement, such as:
I want to meet all of my friends and neighbors who (something that pertains to them)."
As soon as the children get the hang of the game you can tell them that they cannot change places with the person next to them in the circle.
Once you feel that the children have had some fun with general questions you can shift the focus to questions about specific to ways that they make a difference at home, at school and in the world. Find examples of these questions in Leader Resource 3, All My Friends and Neighbors - Making a Difference.
This game allows the children to release some energy and have fun, giving movement-oriented children a chance to participate with their strength. It helps children to see that they share similarities with many others in the group, not just their friends. They will also see that they are unique, having some differences from their friends, as well as those they don't know so well.
When the questions in this game focus children's attention on ways to make a difference, children are reminded of responsible things that they already do and hear about things some of their peers do. Substitute this exercise for the Gems of Goodness activity as framed in this session, if you want a more active way to elicit this information from the children.
Including All Participants
This active game can be adapted for children with limited mobility. Children can take turns being a "designated mover" for a child who cannot move quickly around the circle. The designated mover can stand in a spot on the circle just in front of the child with limited mobility and if the question posed was something that they could answer yes to the child with limited mobility behind them would tap them and they would move to another square or to the center. If they moved to the center then they would consult with the child they were moving for, who would give them a question. The child with limited mobility would not occupy a "space" but would sit behind it so that the space would be open for another child to jump into thus making them the new designated mover.