I am posting a bit later this time as my hands were literally busy with a new bundle of joy!
I am so excited for this Special Guest visiting my blog – my dear friend and one of my most favorite bloggers, Leanna of All Done Monkey! She visited my blog twice before with a fun Daffodil activity and a Fruit Pizza recipe! Please don’t follow by Leanna’s FB page, Pinterest, Twitter and G+ to keep up to date with her posts and activities!
Starting last fall we began teaching a character-building class for my son and several of his preschool aged friends. Here is one of our recent lessons, on love:
I wanted to give the kids some real “skills” in showing love and choosing to be loving.
We started by discussing what love is (caring about someone, really liking to be with them and do things with them). This was a bit abstract, so I asked them to name people they loved. (Parents and pets were the big winners! I was also so pleased that several shouted out the names of other kids in the class).
Then we discussed ways to show love. We talked about giving hugs and kisses, sharing toys, giving gifts, playing together, doing something nice for them, and telling them “I love you.” While we didn’t discuss the love languages directly, I did keep them in mind so I would be sure to include ways that all of the kids could relate to, rather than assuming they all like to give kisses or say “I love you.” I had drawn some cards illustrating some of these ways and asked them each to put a heart sticker on the card that reflected how they most liked to be shown love. (I thought the moms would be interested to see their answers!) Unsurprisingly, at this age the most popular response was getting gifts 🙂
Then we switched to thinking about showing love. I had asked each of the kids to bring a favorite stuffed animal or toy, which we used in some pretend play to practice showing love. Each kid partnered up with his/her mom to practice showing love to the stuffed animal in the ways we had discussed. Afterwards, I asked them to put a heart sticker on the card that showed the way they most liked to show love.
Next we talked about choosing to show love instead of anger when someone does something we don’t like. I gave them each an “angry” mask and a “loving” mask, and we used them to practice different ways to react in disappointing situations.
Such as, “Your mom says it’s time to go to bed, even though you’re having so much fun playing. What’s an angry way to react? Now, what’s a loving way to react?” The kids had a lot of fun with this part, especially acting out the “angry” reactions, which seemed to inspire a lot of Hulk imitations 🙂
Our quote for the day was “In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love” (Bahá’u’lláh), so we talked about what kind of garden we wanted to grow in our heart and how we could grow a beautiful garden by choosing loving reactions instead of angry ones.
Earlier I had taken an egg carton and cut a slit in the bottom of each cup. I flipped this over and asked the kids to “plant” their angry masks. Next we tried planting our loving masks and talked about how much prettier the garden was. But we had to be careful to keep trash (mean thoughts, etc) out of our garden. To illustrate these we crumpled up paper and tossed it into our garden, noticing how the trash made it so much harder to see the garden.
For our craft, they each made a bag of love for someone they cared about. (Most chose to make one for their fathers). They decorated the bags and filled them with little pictures of things they loved about the person or activities they loved doing with them.
I was so happy with how our love lesson turned out, and the kids really enjoyed it. I really hoped it drove home the point that we choose to love every day, often when we are in difficult situations and would rather respond with anger or disappointment. How are you teaching your kids about love?
O FRIEND! In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold. -Bahá’u’lláh
Leanna is a stay at home mother to a sweet, funny, rambunctious four year old boy and his adorable, smiley baby brother. She draws inspiration from the Writings of the Bahá’í Faith and tries to raise her Monkeys in a fun, spiritual, loving environment. She and her husband, who is from Costa Rica, are raising their boys to be bilingual and bicultural but more importantly to be “world citizens.” Her blog All Done Monkey is dedicated to sharing this journey with you!