Presents from Nature
To foster awe and wonder in the natural world
by Vicki Johnson
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To foster awe and wonder in the natural world.
Preparation and materials
- You will need 20 roughly wrapped parcels, each containing one of the following: a pencil, a rubber, a wooden ruler, a book, some paper, a nut, an orange, a bottle of olive oil, an apple, a banana, a wooden toy, a wooden chess piece, a cricket bat, a wooden draughts piece, a wooden boat, a wooden ornament, a piece of wallpaper, a wooden spoon, a wooden bowl, a wooden bread board.
- All the parcels need to be numbered, with corresponding numbered tickets.
- A large leaf, also in a parcel but not numbered.
- As the children file into the hall, give out the tickets in a random fashion across the school.
- Ask the children when they usually receive presents, and elicit the usual answers. Highlight any unusual responses, such as a range of religious festivals, when relatives visit, etc.
- Explain that there are some things that give presents to all of us every single day of the year, more presents than we have got here.
- Call out the numbers one by one (or in groups) and ask the children to come up and open the parcels and describe what's inside. Ask: who could have given these to us? Accept all answers, and celebrate the person who offers 'trees'.
- Elaborate on how trees have given us all these 'presents', and add other benefits, such as medicines, furniture, houses, homes for animals, compost, etc., depending on the ages of the children.
- Unwrap the last parcel and explain that one vital gift of trees is that their leaves act as 'vacuum cleaners' to help keep our air clean. They absorb carbon dioxide and give out oxygen, helping us live and breathe.
Time for reflection
Ask the children to close their eyes and be aware of the used breath going out of their bodies and fresh air coming in clean. Ask them to think about the gift of the leaf. Suggest that they look for a tree at playtime/hometime to hug as a way of saying thank you!
Thank you for trees - that's all, thank you, thank you, thank you for trees.
'Think of a world without any flowers' (Come and Praise, 17).
Publication date: September 2004 (Vol.6 No.9) Published by SPCK, London, UK.