Practising spirituality with children, the Play-Way method

We all have been given a mission to be spiritual companions to our children, grandchildren, and young friends. There are many blessings to be shared across the generations. We also can do more to respect and cherish children’s spirituality. How do we express it? Through creativity, sharing experiences, narrating stories, questions and much more.

“Practising spirituality with children-the Play-Way method” – is an attempt to reach out to the inner child in all possible ways the child would cherish. I would like to share learning approaches – art and craft, reading, group activities journaling and more – and will be writing on the various spiritual time activities for children over the nextfew blogs. These activities act as spiritual tools that help children realize their potential and deepen their sense of purpose in life. Let us together, as parents, help children tap their inner strengths and see that the power to overcome challenges is within them.

As the summer vacation is around the corner, these activities also come in handy to keep kids gainfully engaged. Following each activity is a practice suggestion, something you can do with children to help them to reflect on their inner-self.  As we progress with these activities, let us together with our children explore life’s purpose and the rewards of play, humor, and joy. These activities are more interesting when a group of kids are involved and well suited for weekends. So here we go!

Image 1Name of the Activity: My creation!

Age Group:  4+ years

Participants: A minimum of 5 kids (more kids= more Fun!)

Material: Kids Play-Doh, string beads, decorative stuff.

Purpose of this activity: To convey the message that God loves each of his creations immensely. God has designed each one of us in a unique way.

Activity: Have each child create a clay self. Give them time to decorate their doll with pieces of string, beads and pasta, etc., Talk to the children about how their clay people look different. Ask the children to bring their clay sculptures up to you. Show the children’s work around and say what is special about each one. Once you have commented on each child’s sculpture ask the children if they liked making their sculptures.

Time to reflect: Talk about how God loved making each one of them. How they are all special to God. How God loves everything about them. How different everyone is, and God loves them all.

image 2Age group: 7+ years

Name of the Activity: Two Voices!

Participants: Parent and child

Material: 2 socks or blank sock puppets, scissors, glue, markers.

Purpose of this activity: Your child will identify and understand the difference between his/her True Voice and Opponent Voice.

Concepts:

True Voice: The voice within that encourages me to make an effort, share, care and think of myself and others; connects me to the Light.

Opponent Voice: The voice within that challenges me to take the easy way out and think only of myself.

Note for parents: The True Voice can also be called as Pure Consciousness (The Atman). This is subtle yet strong. The opponent voice is called Psychic Consciousness. This is a true manifestation of our Mind.

Activity:

  • Explain to your child that he will be making two puppets: a True Voice puppet and an Opponent Voice puppet.
  • Explain to your child that his puppets need to look like him, made with the same color hair and eyes, but the clothes can be decorated however he likes. (Tip: Tell your child that the reason their Opponent Voice and True Voice need to look like them is because they reflect their own voices from within.)
  • Emphasize the fact that although his puppets look alike, his True Voice has a heart. To seed this idea, cut out a felt heart and glue it onto the True Voice puppet.
  • Have your child use the puppets during the week to act out instances when he listens to the two conflicting voices.

Time to Reflect:

  • Share a personal example with your child of what either your True Voice or Opponent Voice tells you to do in a specific situation.
  • Help your child fill out what his True Voice or Opponent Voice tells him to do in each situation. Go over each situation with your child and discuss his choices.
  • We are the only ones who can hear what our voices are telling us.
  • We can distinguish between the two voices by asking ourselves “Am I thinking of myself and others?” or “Am I thinking of myself only?”
  • Our Opponent Voice gives us the opportunity to overcome our selfishness and win the Game of Life.

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children. This blog was written by  Kalyani Sankaranarayana. 

Kalyani Shankar is a mother of twins and works as a German Linguist in an MNC. Amidst the jam packed busy life of a working mother, she looks forward to spending quality time with her kids when back home. Kalyani loves to introduce thought-provoking and fun activities that interest children. As a Balvikas spiritual educator for children, she strives to include ‘Spirituality and its Relevance’ in daily life situations and mentors parents on the same lines.