Sharing the Beauty of God's Creation

Unit Activity

Bring in a tree leaf, flower, rock, container of water, and any other created object that may be of interest to the children. Sit together in a circle. Pass around each object. Encourage the children to share what it feels like, its color, and how it help us to live. Do this with each object. Close with a discussion on how all of these things were created by God. God made them to help us enjoy his Creation. Explain to the children that each of us has a responsibility to protect God’s Creation.

Give each child a piece of paper and crayons or markers. Encourage the children to think of ways they could share the beauty of flowers with others, or the beauty of rocks, or etc. Have them draw a picture of their favorite flower, or created object. Send their pictures home with the children to share the beauty of God’s Creation with their families.

Photo by Nanagyei

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See My Hidden Quality

Unit Activity

Provide each child with a large unlined index card and a crayon or marker. Attach a loop of yarn long enough to hang the card around a child’s neck. Instruct each child to write a word or phrase on the card that expresses a “hidden quality” the child possesses that others may not be aware of (e.g., I am kind, I share, I help others). As an option, tell the children that they can draw pictures or symbols that express their qualities.

Allow the children to wear their cards for the remainder of the session. Suggest that each time they see another child’s card, they should remember that God has given each person special qualities that we may not always see on the outside.

Photo by M@rg

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A Teaching Mass Moment

Unit Activity

Talk with your parish priest about setting up a teaching Mass for children and their parents. You may want to consider using the Chapel for a smaller setting. You could offer to help the celebrant by identifying the items at the time of their use during the Mass. Perhaps beforehand the priest could explain the vestments and the seasonal color being used. This would enable parents and children to be more involved during future liturgical celebrations.

Use may also choose to share and use the Tour of a Catholic Church video provided on this website.

Photo by Taecilla

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Respecting Our Shared Space

Unit Activity

How we take care of the space we live and work in demonstrates our responsibilities to one another. We can show respect to one another by respecting our shared space.

Caring for the parish or school grounds is a responsibility in which children can be involved in. Work together to create slogans describing responsible actions. These can be made into posters or “bumper stickers.” They could involve actions such as: not littering, protecting plants, not bullying anyone on the playground, including others in games. The children will be able to add more ideas to this list of possibilities. Select the best ideas and create posters to display in the proper areas. Discuss the rights that are connected to these responsibilities.

Ask the children to think about their rights and duties. Invite them to share ideas of ways they can protect their rights and fulfill their duties – at home and at school. Help them to understand the rights to food, clothing, shelter, and safety that they have. Note that family chores and homework are some of their responsibilities, or duties.

Photo by JeepersMedia

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Modeling Good Manners

Unit Activity

Guide the children to work in small groups. Have them create skits to illustrate ways that children their age can express themselves positively. Encourage them to create skits that model good manners. Encourage them to portray scenes at home, school, church, or the community.

Talk with the children and ask them to name individuals with whom they interact in their daily life. For example, they may name a parent or family member, catechist, priest, senior citizen, police officer, bus driver, or friend. Then encourage them to think about and discuss the ways in which that they show respect to that person on the list. End by asking how they show respect for themselves and for God.

Photo by International Information Program (IIP)

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Connecting with the Elderly

Unit Activity

Contact personnel at a nursing home or assisted living home in your area and ask if they can suggest a list of things residents might appreciate receiving from a group of third graders. Many administrators are happy to contribute ideas. They might even supply the names of residents who do not receive many visitors or much mail and would enjoy either or both.

Share with the children the list you received. Work with them to help choose items from the list in which they are interested. For instance, one child may choose to write a letter, another to draw a picture, or a small group may decide to create greeting cards. Or, you may decide to arrange a “field trip” so that children could sing or put on a skit for the residents.

Invite the children to share if they have elderly family members living with, or near them, or elderly neighbors with whom they are friendly. Encourage the children to offer ways that these people could benefit from their help.

Record on the board their ideas about ways to help. Then, ask the group to select one or two of the listed ideas and discuss how they might act on them individually or as a group.

Photo by JSmith Photo

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Honoring One Another

Unit Activity

Put the names of all the children in a bowl. Each child draws a name and is to make a “medal” to honor the child whose name he or she draws. This medal should identify some inner quality the child possesses, not for external appearance or physical talent.

You may want to put on the board a sample list of possible “inner qualities,” such as: truthful, kind, humorous, generous, patient, helpful, sensitive, forgiving, loyal, honest, courageous, gentle, and thoughtful.

Invite the children to think of some good “inner qualities” about themselves. Then have them write or draw symbols of these qualities on a sheet of paper. Individually encourage those who may be having difficulty.

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Inventory of My Possessions

Unit Activity

Assign each child to make an “inventory” of all the things he or she has at home that are not necessities. Clarify that food, clothing, and shelter are necessities of life for everyone. Have them list all the games, toys, and electronic devices they have. Instruct them to be thorough in their search.

Have the children bring their lists to the next session. Ask if they are surprised at how much “stuff” they actually possess. Then have them individually go through their lists to find things to trade or share with others. Perhaps some items will need repair or cleaning first. Together, decide on a way to share these items with others, perhaps at a day care, shelter, or nearby parish or school. Discuss how such sharing is an example of stewardship of God’s creation.

Talk about ways that reusing items helps protect the earth. Then see who can come up with the most ways to reuse a plastic bag (e.g., holding small toy pieces, cleaning up table scraps, lining wastebaskets, cleaning up behind pets), a brown paper bag (wrapping paper, mailing packages, covering books), cans (cleaning and using to hold pencils or small items), magazines (making collages or greeting cards, using pages as pictures to frame, sharing with others).

Photo by The Tire Zoo

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Examining Our Common Humanity

Unit Activity

Invite a member of your parish’s “Respect Life Committee” to a session. In advance, work with the children to create questions to ask this person, such as:

  • How is our parish involved in respect life issues?
  • What is our parish doing to help end abortion?
  • What are some ways fifth graders can help promote a Culture of Life?

Be sure to send a thank-you note to your guest. Also, encourage the children to share with their families what they learned in this session.

Display images showing people of different cultural backgrounds. Have each child select an image to study. Have them write down answers to questions about likenesses and differences between himself or herself and the person selected:

  • How are we alike? In what ways am I different?
  • What emotion is that person expressing? Have I felt that emotion?
  • What emotions do all people have in common?

Photo by Glyn Lowe Photoworks.

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A Prayer for God's Creation

Unit Activity

Many children today are becoming involved in helping to care for the environment. Have the children in your group brainstorm a list of things that fifth graders can do to help care for God’s gift of Creation. Some suggestions are tuning off lights after leaving a room; tending a garden; recycling aluminum, plastic, and paper products; giving old toys and games to a younger sibling, cousin, or neighbor; composting leaves; not littering.) Have the children report back on their progress.

Have each child identify two reasons why he or she thinks caring for Creation is one of our basic duties as Christians. Then have the children work individually or as a group to compose a prayer of thanksgiving to God for giving us our beautiful world.

Photo by rkramer62

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