Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Story, "Amrita's Tree"
- A large basket
- Objects to place in the basket that are related to the story such as a small globe or map to locate India, a tree branch or tree "cookie" (a cross section, like that of a slice of a tree), pictures of girls and women in saris
- A chime or rain stick
- Optional: Fidget Basket (Session 1, Leader Resource 1)
- Optional: Coloring sheet (PDF) for "Amrita's Tree" 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 "Amrita's Tree."
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, "Amrita's Tree."
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 what Amrita was feeling inside as the woodcutter came toward her?
- I wonder if any of you have done something brave, like Amrita? How did that feel?
- How do you think Amrita felt when she saw everyone hugging trees after they saw her do it? How do you feel when you are a leader?
- Why do you suppose it is important for Unitarian Universalists to help take care of plants and trees?
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.