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Helping Hands

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1


To consider the many uses of our hands.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a collection of tools that we use with our hands. For example, a knife and fork, pen, pencil, paintbrush, scissors and a jar or bottle to open.

  • You will also need a lump of modelling clay that will be placed on a table at the front of the room so that it is visible during the assembly.

  • Have available an image of hands and the means to display it during the assembly. An example is available at:

  • Note: Please be sensitive to any children present who have difficulty when using their hands.


  1. Ask the children to look at their own hands and the hands of the people sitting next to them. Ask the following questions.

    - Are all hands the same?
    - What are the differences?

  2. Ask the children if any of them can do anything amazing with their hands – some children might have a special trick! Point out that all of our hands are amazing. Ask several children to come to the front and demonstrate how they use their hands to hold a knife and fork, open a jar or bottle and so on.

  3. Invite one or more of the volunteers to work the modelling clay into a shape with their hands. Ask the other children to describe how the volunteer(s) is/are using their hands to change the lump of clay. (You may wish to leave the child(ren) making their clay models while you continue with the rest of the assembly.)

  4. Encourage the children to think of hand tools that adults may use during the course of their work. Examples could include a joiner’s drill or screwdriver, a surgeon’s instruments, a dentist’s drill, a doctor’s stethoscope and a computer.

  5. Ask for volunteers to mime certain actions, using only their hands - no words! Examples might be asking for something, warning of danger, helping someone, being angry or giving directions. Encourage the children to think about the ways in which our hands can help us to say what we feel.

  6. Return the focus to the children who have been modelling with clay.

    - How have they used their hands to change the clay?
    - How does it feel to create something new from a ball of clay?
    - How does it feel when you have made something?

Time for reflection

In the Bible, in the Book of Isaiah, God is described as being like a potter who moulds clay: Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.’ (Isaiah 64.8)

Point out that God wants to help us create something beautiful with our lives.

Show the image of the hands.

Ask the children to look the picture first and then focus on their own hands. Ask the following questions to help the children to reflect.

- What can these hands do?

Pause for thought.

- How can these hands help others?

Pause for thought.

- How can these hands protect others?

Pause for thought.

- How can these hands change the world?

Pause for thought.

Dear God,
Thank you that you made us.
Thank you that you want our lives to be wonderful.
Please help us to use everything that we have for the good of other people.
Please help us to use our hands to be kind and to care for others.


‘He’s got the whole world’ (Come and Praise, 19)

Publication date: April 2020   (Vol.22 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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