Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Story, "The Grumpy Gecko"
- A large basket
- Objects to place in the basket that are related to the story such as a toy gecko, tiger, or other character in the story, or pictures of a jungle
- A chime or rain stick
- Optional: Leader Resource 1, Fidget Basket and materials suggested
- Optional: "The Grumpy Gecko" coloring sheet (PDF) and crayons
Preparation for Activity
- Place the story-related items and the chime or rain stick in the story basket and place the filled basket in the storytelling area.
- Read the story a few times. Plan how you will use items from the story basket as props.
- Read the story questions and choose ones that will best help these children interpret the story and relate it to their own lives.
- Optional, but highly recommended: Provide a basket of soft, quiet, manipulable items for children who will listen and learn more effectively with something in their hands. Remind children where is the Fidget Basket is before you begin the "centering" part of this activity. See Leader Resource 1, Fidget Basket, for a full description of a fidget basket and guidance for using it.
- Optional: Print and copy the coloring sheet (PDF) for “The Grumpy Gecko.”
Description of Activity
Gather the children in a circle in the storytelling area and show them the story basket. Say something like:
This is our story basket. I wonder what is in it today?
Take the story-related items from the basket, one at a time, and pass them around. Objects that are fragile or cannot easily be passed around can be held up for all to see and then placed on the altar/centering table or any table or shelf.
Take the chime or rain stick from the basket and say in these words or your own:
Each time you hear a story in World of Wonder we will use this instrument to get our ears, minds, and bodies ready to listen. Sit comfortably and close your eyes. When I sound the chime (turn the rain stick over), listen as carefully as you can and see how long you can hear it. When you can't hear it anymore, open your eyes and it will be time for the story to start.
Sound the chime or rain stick. When the sound has completely disappeared, tell or read the story, "The Grumpy Gecko." If needed, explain what a gecko is before you begin.
When the story is finished, lead a brief discussion using questions such as:
- What did you wonder about the story?
- What did you like most about the story?
- The Grumpy Gecko saw how he was connected to and depended on many living things in the jungle. He saw how he fit into a small part of interdependent web of life. Can you think of something living in nature that you are connected to and depend on? How about something not living in nature?
- Do you ever wish it would stop raining?
- Do we really want all living creatures in the web of life? Even mosquitos?
- The gecko gets its food by sticking out its tongue. But most of us get our food from a grocery store. Suppose you had a glass of milk. Can you think of some connections that are needed for you to get milk? [Milk, cow, grass, sun, rain.]
- The animals in the story are all real ones, but, in real life they don't talk like we do! This story helps us imagine the animals, but, scientists know true facts about them. Is it important to know real facts about nature if we want to protect the web of life? Why?
- How can we, as Unitarian Universalists, help care for the web of life?
Including All Participants
Fidget objects, described in Leader Resource 1, can provide a non-disruptive outlet for anyone who needs to move or who benefits from sensory stimulation. With soft crayons, the coloring sheet for this story can also work as a fidget object.