Tapestry of Faith: Toolbox of Faith: A Program That Helps Children Discover the Uses of Faith

Activity 2: Word Bodies

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Paper and pencils for writing the words assigned to each group

Preparation for Activity

  • Review this activity, Activity 4: Skits in a Bag, and Activity 5: Responding to Music with Paint. Decide how to allocate the time, depending on the amount of time you have, the space you are using, the children in the group, and the size of the group.
  • Write out the words you want the children to form with their bodies. Keep the words short to fit the number of children in the small groups; some letters may require two or three people. Words can be random, such as CLOCK, VOTE, TAPE, SPELL. Or make up a set, based on animals (FISH, APE, LEMUR) or actions (FLY, RACE, JUMP).

Description of Activity

Participants express themselves in a different way from the artistic media by using their bodies to create letters and spell a word. This is a non-threatening way to introduce a movement activity that is inclusive of all, even those who wouldn't touch "dance" if it was introduced as such.

Explain that the children will work in small groups. Each group will be given a word, which they must spell with their bodies. For example, to spell "DOG," the group might have two people make a "D", one make an "O," and how might they make a "G"? What about the word, "CAT"? Walk through a few examples so the participants can get warmed up.

Form small groups of four or five children. Give each group a different word to express, and send the groups to separate corners or rooms to figure out how they will write the word with their bodies for the other group(s).

When the groups return, allow each to present their word. The first group to guess the word correctly gets to go next.


Participants can generate their own words and give them to a team to illustrate.

Or, try making one long word with everyone helping, such as FLAMING, CHALICE, RELIGION, or EXPRESSION.

With four or fewer participants, you can play the game non-competitively. Challenge the group to work together to create the letters of the word. Or, you might send one person out, have the others spell the word with their bodies, and then have that one person try to guess the word.

Including All Participants

With a movement-challenged child in the group, make sure there are letters in the words that can be formed incorporating that child. In fact, braces or a wheelchair might be assets for creating a word!