" EarthCare for Lent - " KIDZONE"
As part of the Eco-Congregation activities, St John's (Hurst Green) and All Hallow's (Mitton) ( Lancashire ) organised a Lenten programme for children (ages 5-12) which helped them to make connections between faith and environmental issues and have a good time in the process!
The programme began at half-term with an afternoon "Earth Walk", playing games that encouraged the children to look closely at nature. As part of this, they also completed a sponsored 'natural treasure hunt' for the Tsunami Appeal. All 23 children (!) arrived back at base for a pizza tea!
Each subsequent Monday, we met in the Church Hall at 4.15, starting with tea around the table and prayers.
The activities for the four weeks were:
Saving resources, looking especially at water and electricity
- making collages on the theme of water.
- demonstration of how much water we have to share.
Diagram of a mug with 1.5 l seawater and other types of water
- Team game to see which team could use the least water to wash off marks made with charcoal pencil on their forehead (we wrote H2O) (they needed mirrors)
- We simulated a rainstorm by standing in a circle and each made various sounds (e.g. clapping, rubbing hands)
- We discussed electricity and how it was made and why we had to use it sparingly.
They took home Energy Efficiency Trust material and energy saver cards to stick by the light switches.
With hindsight, we should have been more focussed in this session on the essential message we wanted them to go home with.
We had no time for a worship/prayer session, which we felt after, was essential!
The key issues the children looked at were:
- Fair trade
- Organic growing
- Food miles
- Environmentally friendly products
The children were organised into family groups to go "shopping" and make choices.
Caring for Wildlife
Making bird cakes i.e. filling yoghurt pots with lard, seeds, 'old' cheese, and stale biscuits. Very messy but good fun!
We also made fat 'logs' filling holes with fat mixture (good for woodpeckers!)
We played a game (rather like musical chairs) about the rainforest. e.g. 5 trees (which only support 5 species) they 'chop' them down for roads, houses, furniture, crops etc.
Looking at our bodies:-
- Relaxation session, while the children were told interesting facts about their bodies e.g. Digestive system is is 8 metres long; we lose 90 hairs per day from our heads etc.
- Making hand prints in clay.
- Stretching exercises.
We finished with a prayer session when the children made clay figures (to take home).
Although the leaders felt there were improvements/changes we would make another time, the children had enjoyed the programme and attendance varied between 13 - 17 children.
Alongside the children's programme, the adults in the congregation were encouraged to look at their relationship with creation on the theme of the week via Church notices at services.
During Lent the children of All Hallows and St. John's will be meeting together weekly. Their meetings will each focus on a different aspect of conservation and care for God's creation. The adults of both congregations are invited to take up some practical activities based on the subject of the week's KIDZONE.
WEEK ONE - Earth Walk
Choose a suitable day and take whatever time you have available for an 'Earth Walk'.
This is simply a walk during which you try to see things in a different way. Don't be afraid to stop and touch things - moss growing on a stone wall, the bark of a tree - in the way that young children do. How many different shades of green can you see in mid-February? What about actually carrying out that opening verse from Psalm 121? "I will lift up mine eyes to the hills; from whence cometh my help". Relax, and enjoy the simple things of God's creation. An Earth Walk is much about stopping to look as it is about walking. You may like to stop at some point and pray about what you are seeing.
Other weeks they were asked to:-
- Use less water, switch off lights/standby switches.
- Look carefully at their shopping, buy Fair Trade
- Put food out for the birds.
- Enjoy some extra exercise and fresh air!