Family, Parent & Guardian Resources

These resources can help families with children engage with our theme for the month.

June: What does it mean to be a family of Beauty?

Family Journey

Tree Beauty

Take a tour of a nearby park and notice the beauty and variety in the trees. What if all trees were  supposed to look like a social construct from a cartoon? Invent personalities for the  trees, i.e. these 5 cedars are a little wild, as they live in the back of the park. They have a secret rock band they play in when no one is around.

 

Stories To Read Together

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman  (Author),‎ Beth Krommes (Illustrator)

Celebrate the beauty and value of spirals. What makes the tiny snail shell so beautiful? Why does that shape occur in nature over and over again—in rushing rivers, in a flower bud, even inside your ear?

Book     Video

Sometimes You’re a Caterpillar Video

Snail and Caterpillar are besties, but they are different. The importance of trying to see what others have to deal with. It’s really important to stop and see the other side so the beauty of everyone can shine through. Recommended by UUA Youth Office, Race and Identity Resources.

 

Family Discoveries

Try Umami , the fifth taste

“Umami describes foods with an inherent savoriness. It has been described as brothy or meaty. You can taste umami in foods like Parmesan cheese, seaweed, miso, and mushrooms, which contain a high level of the amino acid, glutamate… Foods with umami elements include chicken, beef, and pork, as well as tomatoes, cheese, soy, potatoes, and carrots.” –  https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15819485

Serve bits of tofu, cooked chicken tenders, parmesan cheese or mashed potatoes.

Make a Salad or Soup

Use the senses of taste and smell and sound to create and eat a salad. Hear the snap of carrots, smell the green onions, feel the cucumber juice, use the sense of space to be careful if you are using a knife. Be mindful of the beauty that our senses can provide.

Family Games for Beauty

Online Spirograph Game

A short description: https://www.fastcompany.com/3039458/stop-working-play-with-this-virtual-spirograph-instead

The Spirograph or The Original Spirograph Game

 

Family Movie Night Ideas

Our Planet

Netflix’s documentary, Our Planet, explores both the beauty of our planet and our complicity in its decline. More suitable for older kids.

Read full review

Blue Planet

Series of TV documentaries, narrated by David Attenborough, that explores the beauty of our oceans.
Available at the library or on Netflix

For Parents

Grateful Song to Inspire You

How to Teach What “Being Beautiful” Looks Like

 


May: What does it mean to be a family of Curiosity?

Family Rituals

Share Curiosity

Gather as a family before an evening meal. Have each member of the family name something they are curious about or something they learned that day. If you like, light candles as you share. Consider saying candle-lighting words that affirm asking questions, for example, “We give thanks for our curiosity and the answers it brings.” Avoid editing or answering one another’s questions, correcting information, or exchanging dialogue until everyone has shared. Where possible, provide resources and encourage family members to seek answers themselves. It is okay to validate questioning as a process that is as important, if not more important than, determining answers. (To keep this activity popular, avoid pressuring family members to do research every time a “wondering” is shared.)

Attention to Curiosity

Pay extra attention to times when your child asks questions, shows curiosity, or otherwise actively seeks to learn. Point out instances of your child acting faithfully in a way that affirms or promotes a free and responsible search for truth and meaning our  — their own search, or others’.

Stories To Read Together

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher (Family Fletcher Series) by Dana Alison Levy  (Author)

“Follow the lives of the four Fletcher boys, Sam, Jax, Eli, and Frog and their two Dads (the kids are all adopted) over the course of a school year. Each boy struggles with his own hurdles, from finding new interests, to difficulty with friends, to trying out a new school, but it all blends together perfectly in a show of everyday family life.” – review

Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story  by Reem Faruqi  (Author), Lea Lyon (Illustrator)

Now that she is ten, Lailah is delighted that she can fast during the month of Ramadan like her family and her friends in Abu Dhabi, but finding a way to explain to her teacher and classmates in Atlanta is a challenge until she gets some good advice from the librarian, Mrs. Carman.

Family Journeys

Curiosity Journey

Choose a topic that interests family members or a question you would like to have answered. Spend an evening in a library or online, learning everything you can about it. Challenge each person to learn at least one new thing (or five, if you are ambitious).

Family Games for Curiosity

I Spy-Sesame Street

A little boy and his mother learn to play eye spy in the grocery store.

Twenty Questions

One person thinks of a person, place or thing, and the others try to guess by asking questions that can be answered yes or no. For example: “Is this a person?” / “Is the person alive?” / “Is it a character from a book?” / “Is it a man?” If someone guesses correctly before twenty questions have been asked and answered, it is their turn to think of a person, place, or thing for others to guess.

Family Movie Night Ideas

Peep (3 ten-minute episodes for Preschoolers):

Peep and the Big Wild World

Peep and the Big Wild World: A Peep of a Different Color

Peep’s Moon Mission narrated by Joan Cusak

 

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

The story encourages viewers to look beyond the superficial and to be compassionate, curious, humble, and generous. Director Bill Condon took care to make sure that this version had diverse supporting characters, including a gay LeFou (Josh Gad) — Gaston’s sidekick, who briefly dances with a man — and people of colour, not represented in the animated version. – Common Sense Media

 

For Parents and Guardians (as Faith Formation Guides)

The Problem with Curious George/Raising Race Conscious Children

A parent negotiates a reading of Curious George with her 3-year-old through the lens of racism.

I Wonder: Tools to Inspire Curiosity, Reflection, and Empathy in Kids

From the “Doing Good Together” website

There’s No Good Mother’s Day card for a not-good mother

The author is curious about what to do for her own and any mother who isn’t a good fit for the butterflies and schmaltzy sentiments for Mother’s Day.

Don’t Shy Away from Ignorance – use it to better yourself. TED TALK

 

Becoming familiar with “I Don’t Know” as the start of an adventure.  Value questions and curiosity to transform a family, making ignorance a catalyst for change.

 

Soulful Home Family Guides

If you’d like to dive deeper into our monthly themes with your family you could subscribe to the monthly family guide, Soulful Home, created by Soul Matters.


April: What does it mean to be a family of Wholeness?

Family Adventure Ideas

Making Pizza

Passover Matzo Pizza

In honor of the traditional unleavened bread served during the Jewish holiday of Passover this month, make these matzo pizzas and reflect on the slices of life which you celebrate, and which are ignored or minimized.  The pizza represents the whole person with intellectual, spiritual, emotional, vocational, financial, physical and social slices.

Stories to Read Together

Meet Jesus by Lynn Tuttle Gunney   Illustrated By: Jane Conteh-Morgan

“Meet Jesus introduces children to Jesus’ life and message of love, kindness, peace and tolerance with simple text and lively, full-color illustrations. This book is a resource for a wide range of liberal religious parents and teachers, appropriate for Unitarian Universalists, progressive Christians, humanists, non-Christians and families blending more than one religious tradition; ideal for church groups and home.” – UUA Bookstore

Theme Message:  Jesus’ message of love, kindness, peace and tolerance is a path to wholeness in a broken world.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña (Author), Christian Robinson (Illustrator)

“A little boy and his Nana take the bus after church to a shelter. There they help serve food to people living there. The inclusiveness comes in how Nana speaks to CJ her grandson about all the different people they encounter on their journey.” https://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2018/03/picture-books-promote-diversity-inclusion.html

Theme Message:  The grandmother models how to be part of a diverse community that not only accepts but celebrates everyone. This is the widening of the circle for wholeness.

 

Family Journeys

Can Hunt

We are made whole by helping others. Instead of an Egg Hunt, offer a Can Hunt. Hide the cans the same way that Easter Eggs are hidden, on a lawn. You will need sturdy baskets, or the children bring one or two at a time. Make the journey to donate the cans to a Food Bank.

An additional angle is for Earth Day. Avoid cheap plastic stuff on a day when we want to take care of the earth.

Family Movie Night Ideas

The Wizard of Oz

Even 70 years after its release, director Victor Fleming’s film is quite obviously a masterpiece of early cinema. Not only does it have one of the most iconic female roles and one of the finest examples of the hero’s journey, which has influenced every epic quest tale from Star Wars to Harry Potter, but it is also a magical combination of drama, adventure, fantasy, and musical. This is one of the rare movie phenomena that modern-day grandparents can remember seeing as little ones, and that nostalgia can be easily shared with yet another generation of children, who can now watch it in high-definition or Blu Ray. It’s a testament to the movie’s universal appeal that seven decades later, The Wizard of Oz is still culturally significant — from Halloween costumes to sing-along-shows to remixes of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Common Sense Media

Theme Connection: Becoming whole…” If I only had a brain, a heart, some courage, a home.”

Hidden Figures (PG)

“HIDDEN FIGURES is the true story of three African-American women who worked for NASA in the 1950s and ’60s. They served as “human computers,” doing complex mathematics and engineering tasks to help launch the manned spaceflight program — particularly, sending astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit.” – Common Sense Media

Theme connection: Shows the need for the Civil Rights Movement and Women’s Movement in order for the talents of women and African Americans to become recognized and our society to become whole. We won’t be whole as a society until we tell the whole story of our history.


March: What does it mean to be a family of Journey? 

Family Adventure Ideas

Pilgrimage – the Journey Out

What places would be considered pilgrimages in your family? A special bench in a park where you shared news of a new family member? A place where a pet is buried? A National Park where a child made their first big hike? Name these places as places of pilgrimage for your family.

 

Stories To Read Together

Journey, Quest, Return (Wordless Trilogy) by Aaron Becker (Author, Illustrator)

Share all three. They are wordless so use it as a silent moving picture book.

Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey by Doug Kuntz (Author), Amy Shrodes (Author), Sue Cornelison (Illustrator)

“This heartwarming true story about one lost cat’s journey to be reunited with his refugee family gently introduces children to a difficult topic and shows how ordinary people can help with compassion and hope.” – Amazon.

Theme Message:  On scary journeys, you are never alone as you think. You can always trust others to surprise you with help along the way.

The Fountain of Fair Fortune from Tales of Beedle the Bard by J K Rowling

Video Text

Family Movie Night Ideas

Lion King (G)

Theme Connection: The journey of life is a circle of birth, life and death.

The Velveteen Rabbit – The Journey of Becoming Real (min. 19:00 – 25:51)

This UU favorite celebrates the idea that each journey is a journey of transformation. Indeed, as a religion, you might say that our “salvific moments” are our individual journeys. The journey itself saves us. This classic children’s tale takes that idea and adds the message that the most important journey is that of being loved into being real.  Its tender message echoes the circle of life, in which one ending becomes a beginning.

 

Soul Matters Spotify Music Playlists:

Discover musical inspiration on each of our monthly themes through our playlists:

https://www.soulmatterssharingcircle.com/spotify-lists.html

 

For Parents and Guardians (as Faith Formation Guides)

Unitarian Universalist Child Dedication Ceremonies – Marking the Beginning of the Journey of life

If you are interested in the UU Child Dedication Ceremony, contact your worship leader or minister.

https://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-do/celebrations/births

https://www.questformeaning.org/rites-of-passage/baby-child-dedications/

Family Journeys – Marking the end of the journey of life

When Families Grieve – Sesame Street

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2VpflpbOmk&t=23s

https://sesamestreetincommunities.org/activities/explaining-what-happened/

UU Family Rituals for other times on the Journey of Life

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/creating-rituals-with-for-children