Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Story, "Habitat at Home"
- A large basket
- Objects to place in the basket that are related to the story such as a picture of a backyard habitat with bird bath, bird feeder, trees
- A chime or rain stick
- Optional: Fidget Basket (Session 1, Leader Resource 1)
- Optional: "Habitat at 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 “Habitat at Home” and plan to offer to children, with crayons, just before you tell 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, read or tell the story, "Habitat at 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?
- Do you have a backyard? If you do, what kind of habitat do you have there? What living things could you find there?
- Can a habitat be in a front yard? On a porch or balcony? What kinds of things could you find in each?
- Do you have a favorite place where you can be in nature? Is it close by, or far from home? What do you like about it? Whose habitat is it?
- How can we as Unitarian Universalists care for the animals and plants in a forest, meadow, pond, or other habitat?
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. You can provide soft crayons and the coloring sheet for this story as a fidget option.