Children’s Religious Exploration
The Children’s Religious Exploration program gives our young ones the basics of Unitarian Universalism. We strive to teach them the Seven Principles through games, art and play. We also teach other values such as friendship and sharing.
Our Children’s Religious Exploration curricula is based on the curricula from the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Activity Guide ~ We live in a big and beautiful world
Straggle In activity:
Pick one of the easier activities for the kids to do as they come in to the room. This is very helpful for some kids with the transition process. Simple hands-on activities work well here.
Have everyone sit in a circle. Invite everyone to get a steady beat going by tapping on legs…
Oam, everyone ~ celebrate everyone. Say it with a loving heart.
Oam, Rainbow Seekers ~ celebrate Rainbow Seekers. Say it with a loving heart.
(repeat with kids’ names instead of everyone and group name).
OR use a welcome song like this one to the tune of Skip To My Lou
Welcome, welcome everyone … sing 3 times and then … Welcome to our circle.
Repeat with each child’s name, such as “welcome, welcome our friend Skylar”.
Light the chalice and lead the group in our opening words: (do as a “repeat after the leader” thing.)
We gather with thinking minds
We gather with loving hearts
We gather with helping hands
Let each child pick a faith stone and put it in our special water-filled “sharing bowl”. If time and interest allows, invite each child to answer a one word question as they put the stone in … like name a place you traveled a long way to go visit. (This is a first step towards doing our “joys and sorrows” sharing circle.)
“We are Unitarian Universalists ~
with minds that think,
hearts that love,
and hands that help.”
(point to head on “minds”,
cover your heart on “hearts”,
and hold out your hands together on “hands”.)
Introduction of the UU “gem” we will discover today:
We live in a big and beautiful world.
Read one or two picture books related to the theme.
Here are some options to pick from …
- What a Wonderful World by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele
Simply the words to the popular song with great illustrations! Great for all. Taking time to appreciate the beauty in this world.
- Hello World! Greetings in 42 Languages Around the Globe! by Manya Stojic
Very simple diversity book. 42 different ways to say hello. Great!
- Earthdance by Joanne Ryder
Beautiful prose that allows the child to imagine that he or she is our precious earth.
- Angels on a Pin by Barbara Helen Berger
Angels who live in a city on top of a pin are thrilled to learn there are other cities on other nearby pins. Everyone celebrates to discover they are not alone. Beautiful illustrations – good for all ages.
- This Land Is Your Land by Woody Guthrie
Fun illustrations to match this traditional song.
- Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
Another short but sweet book that introduces us to people around our world as it explores our differences while celebrating our similarities.
- All the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka
Beautiful and simple celebration of the different colors we come in – colors that are just
- We All Sing with the Same Voice by J. Phillip Miller
This picture-book version of the beloved song sung on Sesame Street since 1983, it celebrates the fact that no matter where kids live, what they look like, or what they do, they’re all the same where it counts — at heart.
Sing one or two songs related to the theme.
- Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
- My Aunt Came Back
Do one or two activities related to the theme
Do a parade to “This Land is Your Land”.
Parachute time. Go around in a circle with the parachute as you sing “We’ve got the whole world in our Hands”. (note – change the words from “He” to “We” and “his” to “our”.)
Other verses can be “mountains and valleys” with the parachute going up and down, “oceans and rivers” with the parachute being shaken, etc.
Continue parachute time by having the children work together to send a bear on a journey. Put a teddy bear (or other stuffed toy) in the middle of the parachute and do different movements with the parachute to “make believe” the bear is traveling across different parts of the country … up and down for mountains, gently shakes for the wind across the dessert or the ripples in a river, big shakes for the waves in the ocean, throw cotton balls on for a snowstorm, etc.
Work together as a group to write a story imagining that the group is traveling around the world. Use multi-cultural puppets or dolls to imagine the new friends they could meet.
Make a mural (or individual pictures) of our world. With a drawing of the earth in the center, invite the kids to draw all different kinds of people around the world. What else might they want to put in their world? For kids that don’t like to draw, have multicultural people and various other stickers to put on.
Optional Silent meditation:
Invite the children to take a rock from the basket to look at as they pretend to become the rock. Have them go back to their carpet squares and then physically demonstrate the actions as you say, “I invite you to pretend to be your rock. Move your body to become really small and strong like your rock. Close your eyes and be quiet and still just like your rock. (Wait a few seconds of silence). Now carefully open your eyes and become a tree that might be growing near your rock. Slowly grow taller and taller. Let your arms be branches that the wind is gently blowing. Stretch up high and let your hands be the leaves dancing in the wonderful breeze. Now imagine you are a boy or girl climbing down from the tree. Carefully sit down and rest a moment. Think about the adventures you had today.”
Using a colorful ball of yarn, create a friendship circle. To do this, start the circle by saying “goodbye” to the child next to you and roll the ball to him/her while still holding onto the yarn yourself. He or she will say goodbye to the next child and roll the yarn ball along while still holding on to it. This will continue on till the circle comes back to you.
Then say, “Throughout this week, remember you have a circle of friends here at UUFC.”
Extinguish the Chalice and say (as the children repeat after you):
We go now with thinking minds
We go now with loving hearts
We go now with helping hands