Wonder Box: Time for All Ages
Unitarian Universalists cherish wonder as a feeling and as an action. Consequently, twice a month as part of our children's religious education curriculum, and usually as part of our multigenerational Sunday Services, children are presented with a "Wonder Box" filled with learning tools intended to instill a sense of wonder, curiosity, feelings of surprise, and a desire to learn.
The Wonder Box is:
Multigenerational – It involves all ages in worship through a story or lesson.
Interactive – It allows for interaction of children in worship, and spontaneous conversation with all ages in the congregation. Doesn’t patronize or put anyone on the spot.
Adapted to Multiple Learning Styles – It is visual, tactile, verbal, and possibly more!
Connected – It supports the theme of the service; well-planned; a forethought.
If you are interested in leading a Wonder Box sesson, please contact our Director of Religious Education at email@example.com
Instructions to Volunteers for Putting Together a Wonder Box Session:
- Write your own, take a spin on an old favorite, or tell an existing story!
- As much as possible… TELL the story, don’t read. Use voices, dramatic pauses, hand-gestures. If you MUST show pictures, project them on a screen. Don’t show from book.
- Use familiar hooks, “Once upon a time,” “And the story goes,” “Stories are powerful,”
- Have a “conversation” with the congregation about a topic.
- Use examples that all ages can relate to (or offer several examples). Remember elders! - Invite spontaneous answers from the congregation. Don’t put anyone on the spot unless they have been “cleared” in advance.
Tips and Tricks:
- Make it your own!
- Use songs, poems, ritual, call-and-response, interaction, etc. to liven things up!
- Work closely with the worship leader to ensure the Wonder Box supports the service.
- Choose a beautiful box (or container). Doesn't need to be expensive to be pretty.
- Call for a volunteer, or choose ahead of time (especially if box contains something very unexpected or weird). You can have more than one volunteer sometimes!
- Honor the volunteer by using their name and thanking them before they sit back down. - Honor the Wonder Box moment with dramatic and respectful introduction.
- Wrap up the Wonder Box time with a familiar closing, like, “Help me remember…”
- It’s ok (good, in fact!) to challenge the congregation with difficult, sad, or scary topics. Be sure to tread carefully, and remind them of their community, safety, and/or role in creating justice now. Focus on emotions rather than specific details.