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A Tapestry of Faith Program for Children

Grades 4-5


© Copyright 2008 Unitarian Universalist Association.

This program and additional resources are available on the web site at

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Kate has been a religious educator since 1984. She received her M.Ed. from the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study at Tufts University and is the author of the curriculum, Chalice Children, and the book, Full Circle: Fifteen Ways to Grow Lifelong UUs, both published by the Unitarian Universalist Association. In addition, she self-publishes other curricula at Kate is currently director of religious education at the Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Lafayette, Colorado.


Copyright 2008, Unitarian Universalist Association, Boston

For my father, who taught me how to hammer a nail and how to value our faith.

I grew up enjoying the smells, sounds, and sights of the hardware stores and the workshop where my father built furniture. I would like our children to feel the same sense of comfort, pride, and challenge as they build their faith.

— Kate Tweedie Erslev

Tapestry of Faith Core Team

The following UUA staff brought Tapestry to fruition:

Judith A. Frediani, Curriculum Director, Tapestry Project Director

Adrianne Ross, Project Manager

Susan Dana Lawrence, Managing Editor

Jessica York, Youth Programs Director

Gail Forsyth-Vail, Adult Programs Director

Pat Kahn, Children and Family Programs Director

Alicia LeBlanc, Administrative and Editorial Assistant

We are grateful to these former UUA staff members who contributed to the conceptualization and launch of Tapestry of Faith:

Tracy L. Hurd

Sarah Gibb Millspaugh

Aisha Hauser

Pat Hoertdoerfer

Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley


The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic who would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. — Confucius

Toolbox of Faith invites fourth- and fifth- grade participants to reflect on the qualities of our Unitarian Universalist faith, such as integrity, courage, and love, as tools they can use in living their lives and building their own faith. Each of the 16 sessions uses a tool as a metaphor for an important quality of our faith such as reflection (symbolized by a mirror), flexibility (duct tape), and justice (a flashlight).


Reflecting on the qualities (tools) of our faith, children and leaders gain insight into what makes our faith important in their lives, and how they can grow in our faith.


Leaders are an important component of the Toolbox of Faith program. Leaders are not recruited to "indoctrinate" children, but rather to share the journey as seekers with the children. Leaders are not in the role of experts handing down information but are co-explorers and "beloved adults." Children value adults who are interested in their opinions and lives. They will reward those who work with them with trust, sharing, and affection.


This program is written for fourth- and fifth-grade children. With some adaptation, it can be used with younger or older participants.

In her book, Nurturing Children and Youth: A Developmental Guidebook (Boston: Unitarian Universalist Association, 2005), Tracey L. Hurd lists characteristics of the older school-age child. A summary follows. Comments relating these characteristics specifically to the Toolbox of Faith curriculum appear in parentheses.

At the age of nine, ten, or eleven, a child:

  • Uses gross and fine motor skills, which are almost fully developed

  • Has fully developed vision (by age seven to age nine) and a highly developed central nervous system (by age ten to age twelve)

  • Needs adequate exercise, food, and rest (during religious education programming as well as in school, at home, in sports, and at play)

  • Enters puberty toward the end of school-age years (particularly girls)

  • Is influenced by media images and may be at early risk for eating disorders (So, Toolbox of Faith can be an important antidote to pervasive, intrusive media images.)

  • Engages in logical thinking based on concrete operational thinking

  • Practices cognitive skills of acquiring, storing, and retrieving information (Toolbox of Faith sessions offer factual information, stories, and specific details appropriate for their cognitive development.)

  • Develops specific learning styles such as an auditory, visual, sensory, and/or kinesthetic style of learning (Each session provides activities to address a variety of learning styles.)

  • Exhibits domain-specific intelligences such as verbal/linguistic, musical/rhythmic, logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, bodily kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, or naturalist

  • Uses student identity and personal, informed knowledge as sources of self-esteem (Toolbox of Faith gives children opportunities to name what they already know, in Council Circle discussions.)

  • Engages peers and learns through mutual friendship (Toolbox of Faith builds community.)

  • Comprehends the perspective of others (The Council Circle format encourages children's discussion and reflection.)

  • Engages in gender-segregated play

  • Works on developing racial, ethnic, and gender identities and seeks peers' affirmation of these identities

  • Learns and negotiates early understandings of social scripts about sexuality

  • Shows interest in moral issues of fairness, justice, and care (addressed extensively in this program)

  • Is energized by developing rules to assure fairness, in work or play (The games in Toolbox of Faith can give children opportunities to make the rules.)

  • Uses the Golden Rule (treating others as one would like to be treated)

  • Wrestles with moral dilemmas in relationships (highlighted in many of the sessions)

  • Demonstrates awareness of a culture of violence and is receptive to strategies for personal and global nonviolence and peace

  • Exhibits increasing awareness of societal moral issues and interest in helping to solve community problems (Children's awareness and interest can be engaged by the Faith in Action suggestions in this program.)

  • Shows interest in concrete aspects of faith and religion (This program helps participants understand and give voice to what Unitarian Universalism means.)

  • "Does" religion or spirituality by participating in traditions (Each session opens and closes with traditions of our faith.)

  • Ponders increasingly complex moral and spiritual questions (such as those posed in the Council Circles)

  • Explores religious or spiritual ideas as a way of deepening faith (a major purpose of the program)

  • Enters Fowler's mythical-literal stage of faith development (Toolbox of Faith provides engaging stories which are the basis of a mythical-literal framework of understanding.)

Hurd's book also suggests some ways religious educators, leaders, and parents can offer support to the developing, older school-age child. Comments specific to Toolbox of Faith again appear in parentheses. Healthy strategies for support include:

  • Provide for the overall care of physical needs, including nutrition, exercise, and sleep (The games in each session provide an outlet for the energy that is typical of this age.)

  • Counteract school and societal pressures by affirming the child's developing body

  • Support self-esteem

  • Continue to provide time for play and hands-on activities (Sessions allow for games and expressive options, such as water play and skits.)

  • Allow the child to be active and limit extended times of sitting and listening. (Let these sessions be different from school learning, with active games and Council Circle.)

  • Encourage the natural impulse to learn and present challenges that promote thinking skills. (Some of the Council Circle questions are conundrums which challenge adults, too!)

  • Support different learning styles such as auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and/or sensory (A variety of learning styles are addressed in the variety of options in each session.)

  • Help learners develop their own organizational strategies

  • Encourage problem solving and discussion. (This program helps participants develop inner resources.)

  • Allow time to ponder large, complex questions

  • Help with follow-through on projects and ideas

  • Support interest in peers and intervene appropriately against exclusion

  • Allow opportunities to practice social problem solving and assume others' perspectives

  • Allow time with like-identity peers and support or facilitate mixed-peer times; recognize the unique needs of multiracial or transracially adopted children

  • Affirm student identities as important

  • Provide honest conversation about sexuality and cultural scripts about sexuality

  • Support the natural impulse for rule making and negotiation of fairness with peers

  • Recognize that children need to work out relational complexities as a part of moral development

  • Provide alternatives to the culture of violence (Studying the qualities of our faith can do just that.)

  • Provide many ways to contribute to the community (The program provides many opportunities for children to demonstrate their responsibility and leadership skills.)

  • Provide opportunities to "do religion" and be part of a faith community

  • Welcome large spiritual questions and encourage questioning of religion

  • Model lifelong spiritual development

  • Provide encouragement and love

  • Support the whole child as an individual and as a family member (Use the Taking It Home resources and Faith in Action activities to build home-congregation connections.)


In her book, Welcoming Children with Special Needs: a Guidebook for Faith Communities, Sally Patton explains how we practice and deepen our own faith when we work to integrate all participants in a religious education program:

Ministering to children with differences helps us be more creative in our ministry to all children and reaffirm our beliefs. Lessons of compassion, caring, and acceptance benefit us all, young and old alike. . . . We deepen our faith when we embrace and fight for the vision of an inclusive community.

Patton continues:

(We) . . . have to learn from these people about compassion and forgiveness, persistence and courage, and most importantly, the wholeness of their spirit and the gifts they offer if we allow them to flourish. Listening to children's stories encourages us to see each child's uniqueness rather than their limitations . . . Parenting, loving, befriending, and ministering to children with special needs changes people. How we handle the change will either mire us in the prevalent belief system about disability and limitations, or it will set us free and alter our ideas about who we are and why we are here.

Patton's book does not merely inspire, it provides a strategy for congregations to engage in to institutionalize and internalize the spirit and justice of an inclusive faith community that deepens the faith of all participants. Consider reading this book and sharing it with a broad spectrum of congregational leadership.


The loving family unit, of whatever configuration, is the primary source of spiritual nurture in a child's life. For parents and/or caregivers to engage with the program in the family setting, it is vital for them to know the theme of each session and something of its content. Each session includes a Taking It Home section for the religious educator or leader to customize and share with families as a handout or e-mail. Taking It Home sections summarize each session's goals and describe stories, activities, and other aspects of the session to provide background for family conversations and activities at home.

Here's the usual conversation, oft repeated in religious education programs everywhere:

Parent: What did you do today?

Child: Nothing.

Parent: Did you have fun?

Child: Yeah.

Parent: (pause) Oh, ummm . . . fine.

With Taking It Home, a parent will have enough details to ask an engaging question such as, "What did you think about the Cellist of Sarajevo story today?" Or, "How do you play Cloaks and Daggers?" Or, "Do you remember the story of Aunt Kim who protested at the Pentagon?" In this way, parents and children may learn from each other.


All 16 sessions in Toolbox of Faith follow the same structure. Between an opening ritual and the Council Circle (which incorporates reflection, a sharing of joys and concerns, and a closing ritual), a number of activities guide participants to investigate a particular facet of Unitarian Universalist faith. Each session includes hands-on exploration of a Tool of the Day and engagement with a central story.

Each session offers at least one idea for a Faith in Action activity. These activities are optional, and the time you will need for them is not calculated into a 60-minute session. Nevertheless, Faith in Action is an important element of the Tapestry of Faith curriculum series. You can incorporate Faith in Action into regular sessions, if you have time. You can create Faith in Action activities for the group to complete in one, additional meeting. Longer-term Faith in Action activities may require advance planning, additional meeting times, and the involvement of congregants or community members outside your group. Before you commit to a long-term Faith in Action project, make sure you obtain the support of congregational leadership and the children's families.

Core activities in Toolbox of Faith often include options. For example, an activity in which participants process a story's message by playing a game may suggest several different games. Choose the game(s) you will use according to the time you will have, the group's interests, and the learning styles you observe in the group. Let these factors also guide your use of any alternate activities suggested for a session. Optional and alternate activities may also prove useful outside of the Toolbox of Faith program. Consider using some of them at family retreats, intergenerational dinners, or other gatherings where some interesting child-friendly programming is needed.


One or two quotes introduce the subject of each session. You may decide to read a quote aloud to your group as an entry point to the session. However, the quotes are intended primarily for leaders and are not always at a child's level of understanding or experience.

Co-leaders may like to discuss a quote as part of preparation for a session. Exploring a quote together can help you each feel grounded in the ideas and activities you will present and can help a team of leaders get "on the same page." Quotes are included in the Taking It Home section for families to consider.


The Introduction gives an overview of the session concepts, explains how you can use the activities to teach the concepts, and provides tips on what to aim for and what to watch out for in planning and leading the session. In addition, the Introduction presents the Tool of the Day and the quality of Unitarian Universalist faith it represents; for example, "The mirror symbolizes reflection."


The Goals section provides general participant outcomes for the session. Reviewing the goals will help you connect a session's content and methodologies with the four strands of the Tapestry of Faith religious education programs: ethical, spiritual, Unitarian Universalist identity, and faith development. As you plan a session, apply your knowledge of the particular group of children, the time and space you have available, and your own strengths and interests as a leader to determine the most important and achievable goals for the session and the activities that will serve them best.

Learning Objectives

Each session includes Learning Objectives. These will help you see how specific activities connect to specific, intended outcomes and support the overall goals of the session; for example, "Participants will learn a song in which the hammer is used as a metaphor for justice."


The Session-at-a-Glance table lists the session activities in a suggested order, and provides an estimated time for completing each activity to conduct a 60-minute session. The table includes all of the core activities from the Opening through the Council Circle/Closing.

The table also shows Faith in Action: Ideas. Note that the time required for your Faith in Action activities depends entirely on the projects you choose to do and is not included in the calculation of a core, 60-minute session.

The Session-at-a-Glance table also presents any alternate activities, with their estimated times. Alternate activities can be substituted for core activities or added to your core session if you have time.

Spiritual Preparation for the Session

Taking five or ten minutes to center yourself within the session's purpose and content will support and free you to be present with the children and focus on providing the best possible learning experience.

Each session provides a short spiritual preparation exercise to help you focus on the quality of Unitarian Universalist faith being introduced, engage the issue in your own life, and get ready to bring the topic to the group in an authentic manner. The exercise will guide you to call forth your own life experiences, beliefs, and spirituality and relate these to the session you are about to lead. In this way, leaders may experience teaching as an experience in spiritual growth and faith development.

Session Plan

The session plan presents every element of the session in detail, in the sequence established in the Session-at-a-Glance table. The session plan also presents a Taking It Home section with extension activities for families, a Leader Reflection and Planning section, a Resources section, and all the stories, handouts, and other leader resources you need to lead all of the session activities. Finally, under "Find Out More" you will find additional sources to help you, the leader, further explore session topics. It can be useful to scan the resources in "Find Out More" before you lead a session.

If you are reading Toolbox of Faith online, you can move as you wish among a session's elements — Opening, Closing, Faith in Action, Activity 4, Resources section, the session's core story, etc.

Each element occupies its own web page. You can click on "Print this Page" at any time. However, if you click on "Download Entire Program" or "Download Workshop" you will have a user-friendly document on your computer to customize as you wish, using your own word processing program. Once you decide which activities you will use, format and print only the materials you need.

Welcoming and Entering.

Guidance is provided for greeting, orienting, and immediately engaging children as they arrive for each session. For a first or second session, Welcoming and Entering may involve making and putting on nametags. You may wish to display the Tool of the Day and the Toolbox of Our Faith poster during the Welcoming and Entering time.

Shape the Welcoming and Entering activities to suit the needs of the group and the limitations of your physical space.


Each session begins with a chalice-lighting, a sharing of opening words, and an introduction of the Tool(s) of the Day. To ensure safety, obtain an LED/battery-operated flaming chalice or use a symbolic chalice.

The Opening is a time for centering, both for individuals and the group. Take the liberty you need to shape an opening ritual that suits the group, works within space limitations, and reflects the culture and practices of your congregation.


Up to five activities form the core content of each session. While you are free to order the activities as you wish, presenting activities in the sequence suggested will help you provide a coherent learning experience. The variety of activities presented within each session addresses different learning styles you may find among participants. The suggested sequence alternates listening and talking, sitting still and moving about, individual exploration and team or whole group exploration, to provide variation that will help keep nine-, ten- and eleven-year-olds engaged and on track. Pedagogically, the sequence of activities is designed to activate prior knowledge, pique interest, engage children in experiential learning including hands-on interaction with the topic, and help them process and apply their observations and new knowledge. As you mix and match activities to form a session that will work well for you and suit the needs of the group, keep in mind the benefits of a well-paced session that includes different kinds of activities.

Welcome and Entering activities are suggested to meaningfully use the time, before a session, when individual participants "straggle in."

The Opening includes an opening ritual and introduces the Tool of the Day.

The next activity usually presents the session's core story.

Games and physical activities are offered next. In most sessions, multiple options are presented for games. Choose according to the learning styles, developmental readiness, energy level, and other aspects of the particular children in the group. Also consider whether you will have time for just one game, or more. For some games, we suggest adaptations for children with mobility, cognition, or other limitations under the heading, Including All Participants.

After participants have let off some steam, a personal expression activity involves them in music, art, crafts, or role-play.

Finally, participants gather in a Council Circle. A sharing circle is becoming central in many Unitarian Universalist religious education programs. This activity incorporates rituals of reflection, sharing joys and concerns, and a Closing. Sharing, reflecting, and listening are important religious skills to cultivate with our children. Research and observation increasingly indicate that children do not automatically share intimate thoughts with their friends. Some authors describe a "code" which makes sharing feelings, especially for boys, something that is not done easily. Disruption, teasing, and fidgeting can be manifestations of the discomfort some children feel when sharing is imposed before they are ready.

Therefore, this program engages children in active play at the beginning of the session, then provides expressive options, and finally invites reflection and sharing in Council Circle. Conclude the Council Circle, and the session, each time with a closing ritual. To be most effective, a Closing should be a standard one that the group uses each time they meet. Find options for closing words and songs in the Council Circle activities in every session. Or, create a Closing with elements that are part of your congregational culture.

Materials for Activity.

Provided for each activity, this checklist tells you the supplies you will need.

Preparation for Activity.

Review the bulleted preparation "to do" list for each activity at least one week ahead of a session. The list provides all the advance work you need to do for the activity, from securing parent permissions for an off-site walk to downloading leader resources, practicing telling a story aloud, and organizing art materials.

Description of Activity.

This section provides detailed directions for implementing the activity. For many activities, the description includes a rationale which links the activity thematically to the rest of the session and to the entire program.

Read the activity descriptions carefully during your planning process so that you understand each activity and its purpose. Later, when you are leading the group, use the description as a step-by-step how-to manual.

Including All Participants.

Adaptation to include all participants should always be part of your planning process. For certain activities, an Including All Participants section suggests specific modifications to make the activity manageable and meaningful for children with limitations of mobility, sight, hearing, or cognition.

Faith in Action.

An important component of the program, Faith in Action activities give children practice at being Unitarian Universalists in the world. When you lead a Faith in Action project, you create an opportunity for participants to actively express faith values.

By design, Faith in Action activities engage leaders, participants, their families, other congregants, and sometimes members of the wider community, often outside the group's regular meeting time and place. They can provide a way for children to meet, work with, and be inspired by other members of the congregation and strengthen bonds between the generations.

Several ideas for Faith in Action projects are presented in each session. Let these stimulate you to devise short- or long-term Faith in Action activities that will help you make session themes come alive for the children in your group. Take advantage of the expertise and interests of members of your congregation, the opportunities for service and education available in your community, and the Internet.

Most Faith in Action activities will require special arrangements to be made in advance. As you begin planning a Faith in Action project, you may find it useful to develop a materials checklist, a list of preparations to make ahead of time, and a detailed activity description, as we have done for the core and alternate activities in this curriculum.

Leader Reflection and Planning.

This section provides guidance to help co-leaders process the session after it is concluded and use their reflections to shape future sessions.

Taking It Home.

Taking It Home resources for each session are designed to help families extend their children's religious education experiences. For each session, download the Taking It Home section and adapt it to reflect the actual activities you have included in the session.

Taking It Home resources may include games, conversation topics, ideas for incorporating Unitarian Universalist rituals into the home environment, and/or book or online sources families can use to further explore session themes or stories. After you have customized the Taking It Home section, print and photocopy it for children to bring home, or send it to all parents/caregivers as a group e-mail.

Alternate Activities.

Some sessions offer alternate activities. You can substitute these for core session activities, or add them to the core activities. Some alternate activities are simpler versions of a core activity; some require more time than a core activity; some are particularly suited to adaptation for developmental or ability differences among the children in the group. Alternate activities have their own materials checklists, preparation lists, and descriptions.


In a session's Resources section you will find information you need to prepare for the session, and the resources you will need to lead any element of the session, including:

  • Stories — the full text of the central story and any other stories that you will need for any session activity

  • Handouts — any material that needs to be printed and photocopied for participants to use in a session activity

  • Leader Resources — additional documents you may need to lead the session activities; for example, a recipe, song lyrics, a puzzle for you to print out and cut into pieces, or an illustration to show the group as a hard copy or on a computer

Under the heading "Find Out More," you will find selected resources to help you further explore session topics. These might include book or DVD titles, links to websites, or detailed biographical information about Unitarians, Universalists, or Unitarian Universalists, or other individuals mentioned in the session. You may find it useful to scan the Find Out More section before leading the session.


While you will find a full range of options for Closings in each session's Council Circle activity, it is recommended that you decide on a standard opening and closing ritual to use in each session, in collaboration with your co-leaders at the start of the program.

Keep Openings and Closings simple so participants can remember them, from session to session. It can be as simple as a chant or brief words. Use the ritual to provide continuity for participants with discontinuous attendance. Another way to provide continuity is to display the Toolbox of Our Faith poster, adding a picture of the new tool each session. Find instructions for making the poster in Session 1: Faith, both in the Welcoming and Entering section and in Activity 4: Toolbox of Our Faith poster and Group Covenant. Over the course of the program, the poster provides a visual reminder of the session themes and tools.


The Session-at-a-Glance section suggests the duration of core activities for a one-hour session. Be aware of the flow of the session and maximize time for "teachable moments" as group interest allows. For example, if participants are intrigued by the story, "The Cellist of Sarajevo," because someone is taking cello lessons or comes from Eastern Europe, allow the discussion to flow. The ultimate goal is to encourage participants' reflection on and development of the qualities of our faith, not to be locked into conducting any specific activity.

A session isn't a race, and shouldn't feel like one. On the other hand, participants need to feel excited about attending and being part of the group. By meeting their need for challenge, physical activity, and enjoyable moments, we build a sense of community that will draw them into wanting to partake in the program. If the children don't come, there will be no opportunity for teachable moments. So, if a group is reluctant to engage in reflection and discussion, leaders may wish to expand the games or the artistic or musical expression activities to build community, at first, and gradually increase time for shared reflection and insight over the course of the Toolbox of Faith program.

A session can easily be expanded beyond an hour by increasing the games or expressive activities that you offer. If you have less than an hour, you may need to skip an activity entirely. For example, in the integrity session and with an active group, you may choose to leave out all of the expressive options (building compasses in this case) in order to invite participants to move about in the games to understand bodily what it means to go in a certain direction. This may help focus them on what it means to hold your own course no matter what direction people want you to go. On the other hand, a leader with a quieter group or a group that includes children who cannot meaningfully participate in movement activities may wish to omit the games and focus on the compass-building.

When scheduling the program, remember to include times for congregational traditions around holidays. Being part of the life of the congregation is as important as holding religious education sessions in the age group setting. Don't miss intergenerational services, such as Flower Communion. In addition, you may wish to schedule less formal mornings to celebrate themes such as winter holidays, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving, and Valentine's Day.

The Toolbox of Faith program lends itself well to a retreat format. The tool theme could be used as part of a day-long family program which ends with building something for the congregation, such as a picnic table or playground. It would also complement a Habitat for Humanity congregation-wide program.


These real tools will be needed for the sessions:

Session 1: Faith — Toolbox and Ruler

Session 2: Questioning — Magnifying Glass

Session 3: Integrity — Compass

Session 4: Flexibility — Duct Tape

Session 5: Reflection — Mirror

Session 6: Expression — Paintbrush

Session 7: Democratic Process — Chalk

Session 8: Power — Hammer

Session 9: Spirit of Life — Canteen

Session 10: Courage — Saddlebags (or bike panniers, or backpacks)

Session 11: Listening — Stethoscope

Session 12: Humor — Sandpaper

Session 13: Love — Gloves

Session 14: Justice — Flashlight

Session 15: Atonement — Level

Session 16: Resiliency — Hard Hat

You can keep most of these tools in a real toolbox and bring one tool out at each session. Another option is to simply present one tool at a time. For many sessions, you will need more than one of the same tool — ideally, enough for all participants to use.

The Session 1, leader resource, Introductory Letter to Participants and Families includes a list of the tools needed for the program. You may wish to customize and mail or e-mail this letter to families several weeks before the program begins, to build your inventory of tools well in advance.

Before Session 1, create the basic Toolbox of Our Faith poster. This poster will eventually include a representation of each tool and quality of faith you cover in the program, so leave room for adding on. Black foam core would be dramatic, but plain cardboard from the side of an appliance box is just as good, and lends itself to a hardware store atmosphere. You might cut it out in the shape of a toolbox, or paste an illustration or photo of a toolbox in the center. Hardware store catalogs may provide pictures that can be used as a border.

Find a place to display the Toolbox of Our Faith poster for the duration of this program, or each time the group meets.

Developing children's Unitarian Universalist identity is an explicit goal of the Tapestry of Faith curricula, and represents one strand of every curriculum's purpose along with children's ethical, spiritual, and faith development. As you lead Toolbox of Faith, you will have opportunities to nurture children's Unitarian Universalist identities by helping them understand, affirm, and choose to act on the seven Principles of our faith. In Toolbox of Faith, themes, stories, and activities are linked with particular Principles as well as Sources of our faith. If you are not very familiar with them, review the Principles and Sources before the program begins. This will help you authentically incorporate them — and, by extension, Unitarian Universalist identity development — into the sessions you lead.

Certain sessions require longer-term advance planning:

Session 3 offers several optional activities that require high-powered magnets as components of a compass. If you will need the magnets, order them well in advance.

For Session 8, you may wish to invite a song leader and/or a musical accompanist to teach and lead "If I Had a Hammer."

For Session 11, you may wish to order a listening tool. An auto mechanic's listening tool would be ideal and is available on the web. A medical stethoscope is another option. A toy spy listening device, a seashell, I-pod earphones, or a cupped hand could do in a pinch.

Make sure the meeting space includes worktables for arts expression activities; access to a large, open space for active games; and an area where children can sit comfortably in a circle on the floor (as they are able) for the Council Circle activity that ends each session. You may like to use the Council Circle area for Openings and storytelling, as well.


There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations covenant to affirm and promote:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

  • Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;

  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;

  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;

  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;

  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Unitarian Universalism draws from many sources:

  • Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;

  • Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;

  • Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;

  • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;

  • Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;

  • Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.


Nurturing Children and Youth: A Developmental Guidebook (at by Tracey L. Hurd (Boston: Unitarian Universalist Association, 2005)

The Gift of Faith (at Tending the Spiritual Lives of Children by Jeanne Harrison Nieuwejaar Second Edition (Boston: Skinner House Books, 2003)

Welcoming Children with Special Needs (at A Guidebook for Faith Communities by Sally Patton (Boston: Unitarian Universalist Association, 2004)


The Outrageous Outdoor Games Book by Bob Greyson (Torrance, CA: Frank Schaffer Publications, Inc., 2001) includes more than 100 group projects, games and activities for outside experiences. These include activities for multiple intelligences and a variety of learning styles. All games are easy to play, require little or no preparation, and are readily adaptable to a variety of situations and skill levels. Step-by-step instructions are provided for each game. Great for the whole group, small and large collaborative groups, and community-building activities.

Junkyard Sports by Bernie DeKoven (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers, 2005) offers 75 innovative, creative demonstration games using nontraditional approaches but outlined in the modes of six traditional team sports including soccer, baseball, and volleyball. Games are geared to be adapted and modified by the participants across a wide range of ages and abilities. Fosters leadership, compassion, and cooperation as participants create and adapt games.

Arts and Spirituality

Scribble Art: Independent Creative Art Experiences for Children by Mary Ann F. Kohl, 2nd revised edition (Bellingham, WA: Bright Ring Publishing, 1994) includes many media: drawing, painting, assemblage, printmaking, collage, sculpture, and crafts. It contains open-ended projects that are suitable for almost any age. Each page presents one project and is illustrated with line drawings. Each project is coded to show at a glance how much time and preparation are needed and what age or experience levels are appropriate.


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Ministries and Faith Development
Unitarian Universalist Association
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Boston, MA 02210-1409

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Directory: sites -> -> files
sites -> 9. 5 Political Powers and Achievements Tom Burns- beacon High School
sites -> Indiana Academic Standards Resource Guide World History and Civilization Standards Approved March 2014
sites -> Penn State Harrisburg American Studies/Women Studies 104: Women and the American Experience Spring 2015 Instructor: Kathryn Holmes
sites -> Penn State Harrisburg am st/wmnst 104: Women and the American Experience Spring 2015 Instructor: Kathryn Holmes
sites -> Abolition and Women’s Rights Chap. 14 Se
sites -> In the years between the Seneca Falls Convention and the Civil War, powerful links existed between antislavery and women’s rights advocates. Virtually all women’s rights advocates supported abolition
files -> Marching in the Arc of Justice: Re-Visiting Selma Keynote Address March 6, 2015
files -> Requirements for Ministerial Fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association
files -> About the authors

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