Lesson One

Unity

 

Judaism
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
Psalm 133:1

Christianity
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:14

Baha'i Faith
So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.
Baha'u'llah

. . .the children of men are sheep of God and He their loving Shepherd, that
He careth tenderly for all His sheep
Abdu'l-Baha

 

Discuss: What unity means. How the children see unity practiced in their daily lives. How unity is practiced in your class. What various situations would look like without unity. Why unity is important.

Books that reinforce the theme of unity
Books can be previewed @ http://www.amazon.com
If you don't want to purchase books, consider requesting them at your local library.

We Share One World By: Jane E. Hoffelt
The Sandwich Swap By: Queen Rania of Jordan
What A Wonderful World By: George David Weiss and Bob Thiele
Whoever You Are By: Mem Fox
All Kinds of Children By: Mary Ann Hoberman
Stone Soup By: Heather Forest
Is There Really a Huma Race? By: Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell

 

Activities to support the theme of unity
Remember to plan enough time for the children to help clean up after each of their activities. It's another opportunity for them to put into practice the virtues they're learning.

  1. Stone Soup Activities: To go with the Stone Soup story
    Invite the kids to bring something to class that can be added to a pot of soup. Before class prepare a delicious broth for the base of the soup. At the beginning of class add whatever everyone brings and let the soup simmer during class. While the soup is simmering read and discuss the Stone Soup story. For arts and crafts make posters representing a big black pot and all the things that can be added to make soup. You could also play a game similar to Pin the Tail on The Donkey, instead of a donkey have a big black pot. Have the kids draw and cut out things that could be added to the soup pot for example: carrot, potato, onion, green pepper, and corn etc. Put double sided tape on the back of their vegetables. Blindfold the kids one at a time and have them try to put their vegetable into the pot. Encourage the kids to help the blindfolded child by giving them verbal guidance such as "higher", "lower", "to the right" etc. The class succeeds when everyone has gotten their contribution into the pot. For older kids you might make it even sillier by coloring and cutting out a fire to put under the pot and they have to be careful not to get burned. (Younger children might take it to seriously and find it stressful).

    If your class is outside it might be fun to play a game of Splash Soup. Set out a big pot filled with water and borrow whatever veggies you have in the fridge. Have the kids take turns trying to toss potatoes, green peppers, onions etc., into the pot from a designated distance. Have them also take turns standing next to the pot. When a toss doesn’t make it into the pot the child standing near picks it up and tosses it back to the thrower so they can try again. If you’re playing inside you can just use an empty pot and have the kids toss the veggies in.

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  3. Love Unites Us All Obstacle Course Activity: To reinforce Colossians 3:14 lesson
    Create a fun and moderately challenging obstacle course for the children to practice unity while going through together. Take strips of paper apx. 20 inches long x 2 inches wide. Write LOVE in large letters in the middle of the strip and glue the two ends together to form a circle. You will use these as links to chain the kids together. Have the children form a continuous line all connected by holding a love link between everyone. Explain the obstacle course and instruct them not to let go of their links because everyone should stay connected. They will need to be careful and not rip any of the links. To do this they will all need to watch out for one another and communicate with each other. Have several extra links to replace ones that accidently get ripped. When links get broken it's ok, they replace the love and try again until they succeed as a group.
    *Similar quotes from other religions that this activity works well with:
    "Let all be united in this Divine power of love!" - Abdu'l-Baha
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  5. Shepherds and Their Sheep Activity: To reinforce Quote: ". . . the children of men are sheep of God and He their loving Shepherd, that He careth tenderly for all His sheep . . ."
    I found some cute printable sheep coloring pages here.
    Blow up small balloons and attach the sheep using a glue stick. It takes the glue a while to dry so do this at least a few hours in advance. But the balloons might gradually deflate so don't plan to do this to far in advance. Or simply draw sheep on balloons using a permanent marker. (Check to make sure marker won't leave smudges on carpet or furniture) Make enough balloon sheep so there's one or more per child. Shepherd's canes can be made by rolling brown paper bags into tubes. If you think there will be time you can let the children make their own canes during class. Plan where this activity will take place. In a home you might pretend one area is a grassy pasture, another area an imaginary pond and another where the sheep rest in the shade. Doing this activity outside in a yard or park is even be more fun. Just make sure it's not going to be a windy day or the sheep will blow away.

    Explain to the kids that the job of a shepherd is to take care of the sheep. They need to protect them from danger, help them find fresh grass to eat and water to drink and find safe places to rest. Explain that the object of the activity is for them to work together in unity and to keep the sheep together in one herd. The children should move the sheep from one area to another by gently bumping the balloons with their shepherd's canes. Emphasize kindness to animals: no hitting or kicking their sheep.

    This is a very fun activity. The balloons are a bit unpredictable and go in all directions with the gentle bumps. The children will really have to work together to succeed at keeping them in a unified herd. After the activity you can invite the kids to share examples of specific things they did to practice unity and work together. The kids will be happy to take home their shepherd's cane and a balloon sheep after class. Please remember that babies and toddlers should not play with the balloons. They might put them in their mouths and pop them. Balloons are a choking hazard for toddlers and babies.

    *Similar quotes from other religions that this activity works well with:
    John 10:14 - "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me"

  6. Kids can practice unity working together on this "Children of the World Floor Puzzle"
    49-Piece

 

Arts and Crafts Ideas
Consider printing the quote that goes with your lesson so the children can attach it to their projects.

  1. Unity poster
    Have kids make posters of
    kids around the globe.


  2. Herd of Unity
    This project goes well with the shepherds and their sheep activity. I found some cute printable sheep coloring pages here. Print the sheep on cardstock. Cut the sheep out and glue a craft stick to each one to make sheep puppets. The kids can cover their sheep with cotton balls or paint them fun colors.
  3. Virtue Paper Chain Decorations
    This project goes will with the Colossians 3:14 Quote and activity. Have the children make paper chains using various colored construction paper strips. Before they glue the strips together to form a chain have them write a virtue on each link. It might be helpful to write virtue words on a dry erase board or poster to help remind the children of a variety of virtues and also to help with spelling. For younger children who don't write yet you could have the strips pre-cut with the virtue words written out already. For virtue word ideas to consider see list of lessons on our home page.
    *Quotes from other religions that this activity works well with:
    ". . . unity is the essential truth of religion and when so understood embraces all the virtues of the human world". Abdu'l-Baha
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  5. So Powerful is the Light of Unity Lamp
    This little lamp was made by putting a battery operated tea light in a Save The Children paper cup and topping with a little 4oz. jelly jar.

    You could do the same thing with a clear plastic cup. Cut light weight paper to fit the inside of the cup. Have the children color their own design to illustrate the theme.

    *Quotes from other religions that this project works well with:
    Psalm 97:11 - "Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart."

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  7. Paper Bag Luminaries
    So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth luminaries using battery operated tea lights.


    *Quotes from other religions that this project works well with:
    Psalm 97:11 - "Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart."

 

Music

  1. "Concentrate" Angels in the World CD
  2. "All things bright and beautiful"
  3. "Listen" By Red Grammar

 

Snack Ideas
Remember to plan for hand washing or provide antibacterial wet wipes.

  1. Soup if you made it in conjunction with the Stone Soup story.
  2. Sandwiches Inspired by the Sandwich Swap Story
    Invite the kids to bring some of their favorite sandwich items to class. Provide a couple varieties of bread: slices, pita, lavash . . . You might also want to provide mayonnaise, mustard and a few of your own favorites. Set out all the sandwich supplies and let the kids experiment making themselves a sandwich out of the pot-luck of choices.
  1. Light of Unity Tortilla
    Let the kids decorate flour tortillas or cheese crisps with Food Writers to illustrate the So Powerful is the Light of Unity Concept.

 

Service Project Ideas

  1. Continuing with the Sandwich Swap Book theme: Have your class make sandwiches for a local homeless shelter. Maybe put together sack lunches and have the kids decorate the paper lunch bags. Call your local shelter beforehand to find out what their needs are and if it's suitable to bring your class. Get permission from all the parents/guardians before taking children on any service projects and have parents accompany the class to provide adequate adult supervision.
  2. Continuing with the Stone Soup Book theme: Have your class make a big pot of soup for the local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Or just have the children collect canned soups that can be taken to a shelter or soup kitchen. Call your local shelter beforehand to find out what their needs are and if it's suitable to bring your class. Get permission from all the parents/guardians before taking children on any service projects and have parents accompany the class to provide adequate adult supervision


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