Materials for Activity
- Birthday cakes (brought in by participants, at least 12, one for each month of the year)
- Tables and chairs
- Cake plates and forks (preferably to be washed after the event and not disposed of)
- Newsprint with responses from Activity 4 and 5
- Handout 1, Birthday Party Resources
- Closing Song poster from Session 1 (see Session 1, Leader Resource 4)
- Optional: A copy of the story, "Enough Stuff" from Activity 2
- Optional: list of "famous" UU birthdays by month
- Optional: DVD player
- Optional: "Parenting Wisely In A Too Much Of Everything World" DVD
Preparation for Activity
- Consult with the director of religious education to choose a date and time for the workshop and communicate to families (you may wish to invite the wider congregation as well to promote multigenerational community).
- Be sure the group will include a mix of ages. Plan on 12 mixed age groups, one for each birth month. Recruit one adult per birthday month table to serve as small group facilitator.
- Decide if you wish to extend the "birthday party" by screening a copy of "Parenting Wisely in a Too Much of Everything World" by Unitarian Universalist Dr. Bill Doherty, which you can order on DVD from the Action Steps section of the "Birthdays without Pressure" website.
- If showing the parent video, recruit volunteers to lead games with the children.
- Solicit volunteers to bring birthday cakes and encourage parents to bake with their children for the event. Ask for cakes to be as "green" as possible: Encourage the use of fair trade and organic ingredients, use eggs from free range hens, include vegan options (made with no animal products). Ask bakers not to use any nuts as ingredients, and to prepare a card listing the ingredients they do include.
- Recruit volunteers to take photographs or video during the event
- Copy Handout 1 for all participants.
- Set up tables and chairs and label each table with a month.
- Place a birthday cake at each table, labeled with the baker's name, along with plates and forks.
- Optional: Ask for volunteers to create a list by month of "famous" UU birthdays.
- Optional: Review websites listed on Handout 1, Birthday Resources.
Description of Activity
A multigenerational group shares alternative birthday party ideas.
Invite participants of all ages to move to the table set up for the month of their birthday. Have each table introduce themselves to each other and give their birthday; see if anyone shares a birthday. Optional: have a list of "Famous" Unitarian Universalists with birthday in that month.
After a few minutes of conversation, introduce the World of Wonder program. Then, tell or read the story, "Enough Stuff." Share the ideas the group recorded on newsprint in Activities 4 and 5 and ask that tables talk about birthdays parties they have had, attended, or would like to attend that have an element of any of the 5 Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot. Ask the volunteer facilitator to jot down ideas to add to the newsprint.
After ten or fifteen minutes of discussion, start the party by asking those who have baked cakes to briefly describe the cake they brought (ingredients, etc.) and on which table it is. Ask everyone to rise in body or spirit and join in singing "Happy Birthday to Us." Invite everyone to have a piece of birthday cake at their own table or at another if they prefer a different flavor.
Optional: Extend the event by showing the DVD to adults while the children engage in games or activities that have been suggested by participants-at this gathering, or at another time.
When the cakes have been eaten, ask all participants to help clean up.
Close by asking the World of Wonder children to lead participants in the song "We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands."
Share the photos or video with the children, next time the group meets.
Including All Participants
Make space at work tables to accommodate people who use wheelchairs.