One of the best ways for a child to learn is by engaging in hands-on activities. So incorporating them into the teaching of VALUES is an excellent way to reinforce the message you are sending. This is true for the child you are working with whether it is your child or grandchild or if you are in a classroom situation. Since, as I have said before EACH person who interacts with a child can be instrumental in their life, you want to take advantage of every available technique to help him or her learn to lead a peaceful life.
A very hands-on activity is making a booklet related to the VALUES you are trying to teach. I often use several pieces of 8 ½” x 11” paper, folded in half and stapled on the fold. This makes a nice booklet and is easy to make.
NOTE: Paper Dolls: Just as I am posting this blog, I found this image and it brought to mind, making such dolls years ago. You could make cut-out dolls like these and put a difference value on each person, as a fun decorative center piece for the dining table or craft table.
If you want to plan a more formal activity,www.BareBooks.com has an excellent supply of “hard back” blank books, which children can use. I was introduced to this company over 30 years ago and have used their products many times. In addition, they also have puzzles and games you can create. These could easily be centered around the subject of Values and Peace!
THEMES FOR BOOKLETS:
1. All About Me! Talk about the uniqueness of each person. Brainstorm with your children, what it means to be unique. Talk about ways that they are special. What makes them…who they are! (As you listen to children, I’m sure you’ll learn much. Sometimes YOU might see something that is a child’s strength that they do not bring up. Invite an open conversation. I do however suggest you avoid “strongly” encouraging a child to write down something, they aren’t coming up with on their own. Each child sees himself/herself in a very special way. It may take time for a child to “own” all his/her greatness. Children, just like adults, can only give away, what they have. So, for a child to speak and live kindly to others, they must have this appreciation for themselves. This type of booklet helps them focus on their strengths. I actually saw a 6 year old struggle to come up with appropriate ideas until the last page and then he ended with “I am really smart!” and drew a great stick figure of himself, really ‘owning’ his smarts. It was precious!
2. A Set of Books On Your VALUES: Have the child make a book for each of the four core values you are working with. For examples, one set might have 4 books, named as follows:
10 Ways I am KIND
10 Ways I CO-OPERATE
10 Ways I play PEACEFULLY
10 Ways I HELP OTHERS
For young children, they can print just one word related to the value on one side of the page and then draw a picture or find one to paste on the page which they feel illustrates the meaning of the word. For example in the book about KINDNESS, one word might be “water” and then next to the word, the child could find a picture of children watering the plants. NOTE: For young children, it’s always good for you to go through magazines and find numerous appropriate pictures for the words you think might be used ahead of time.
3. Make Believe: Most children, particularly young ones, have a collection of dolls, stuffed animals or puppets that they play make believe games with. Let the child select a few and then make-up a make believe story with them which illustrates the value you are working on. You will probably be surprised at the way this can illustrate the depth of your child's understanding of the VALUES being taught.
All of these activities provide a great opportunity for children to have more experience learning about themselves and the VALUES you want to instill in them. After you have been working with such activities for a few weeks, you’ll begin to see the children using your words and the ideas you’ve been discussing in their play and conversation. This is so exciting. In these moments you know your teachings are becoming “alive” in the child.
4. Web Resources: There are a wide variety of resources which teach children the meaning of peace on the web. Following are a couple of them.
LIONS CLUBS: Each year, Lions clubs around the world sponsor the Lions International Peace Poster Contest in local schools and youth groups. This contest is for the older child 11-13. The theme for 2013-2014 is “Our World, Our Future”. More details can be found at www.lionsclubs.org/EN/our-work/youth-programs/peace-poster-contest/
KIDS FOR PEACE GLOBAL: Peace for Kids Global has a variety of activities for children. They also have a pledge for children, which I feel is wonderful. This is a new site for me, and I look forward to exploring it! Its URL is http://www.kidsforpeaceglobal.org/
I am sure you will be able to find others with activities that help you teach the VALUES you have chosen.
Congratulations…for making a difference on the planet…and for helping to raise…Peaceful Children.