Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Story, "Growing Green"
- A large basket
- Objects to place in the basket that are related to the story such as an apple, packet of seeds, garden tools, and a compost bin with compostable scraps
- A chime or rain stick
- Optional: Sharp knife to cut the apple
- Optional: Fidget Basket (Session 1, Leader Resource 1)
- Optional: "Growing Green" 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. Decide if you will slice the apple at the start of the story.
- 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 fidget objects for children who will listen and learn more effectively with something in their hands. Remind children where it is before you begin the "centering" part of this activity. See Session 1, Leader Resource 1, Fidget Basket, for a description of a fidget basket and how to use it.
- Optional: Print and copy the "Growing Green" coloring sheet (PDF) and at a time you choose, invite children to color with crayons.
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.
Sound the chime or rain stick. When the sound has completely disappeared, tell or read the story, "Growing Green," which introduces the Green Sanctuary program and how one congregation, the First Unitarian Church of St Louis, engaged all ages in working together.
When the story is finished, guide the children in a brief discussion using questions such as:
- What did you wonder about the story?
- What did you like most about the story?
- In what ways did the people in the St. Louis congregation cooperate?
- How did the congregation include people of all ages-kids, teenagers and grown-ups? Do you think anyone felt left out?
- I wonder if you remember what the 5 R's are (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot). Which one did we hear about in this story? (rot - compost bin)
- What did the people in St. Louis do with some of the food from the garden? [Donated to the food pantry, prepared meals for others/]
- How can people of all ages in this congregation work cooperatively to care for the earth?
Including All Participants
Fidget objects, described in Session 1, 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.