Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Story, "Swimming Home"
- A large basket
- Objects to place in the basket that are related to the story such as a book about the ocean, plastic fish, pictures of a sea anemone and a clown fish
- A chime or rain stick
- Optional: Fidget Basket (Session 1, Leader Resource 1)
- Optional: "Swimming Home" 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 Session 1, 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 "Swimming Home." Plan when you will offer coloring sheets and crayons to the children; a good time might be while they are listening to the story.
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 during 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, "Swimming Home."
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?
- I wonder if you know about any other partnerships in nature.
- I wonder how we help each other in this group.
- Can you think of any ways that people in this congregation have worked together?
- I wonder, have you ever had a partner help you do something you couldn't do?
- Have you ever helped someone else do something they couldn't do?
- How can we as Unitarian Universalists can be partners with the animals and plants in the web of life?
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. Offer the coloring sheet for this story and soft crayons as a fidget option.