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Spread the Light

A celebration of the Olympic Torch Relay

by Becky May

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage us to share hope and ‘light’ with others.

Preparation and materials


  1. Welcome the children and ask them what they are looking forward to most as summer approaches.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Ask the children whether they know of a particular sporting event that is going to happen this summer. Explain that it is an event that people from all around the world are looking forward to.

    Listen to a range of responses. If necessary, steer the discussions towards the Olympic Games.

  3. Explain that the Olympic Games will be held this summer in Tokyo in Japan, beginning on 24 July. They are held every four years in different countries around the world. Every Olympic Games begins with a torch relay, where selected athletes take it in turns to carry a light from the site of the first Olympic Games in Olympia, Greece, to the stadium where the Olympics are to be held.

    This year’s torch relay began in Olympia on 12 March and is now travelling across Japan.

    Optional: show the current location of the Olympic torch.

  4. A new Olympic torch is made for each Olympic Games, and people get very excited about seeing the torch on its journey. It is a great honour to be selected to run part of the journey with the Olympic torch.

    Show the YouTube video ‘Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Concept Movie’.

  5. Ask the children what they think about the video. Hopefully, they will comment on the design of the torch and the excitement of the people.

  6. The theme of this years torch relay is ‘hope lights our way’. The organizers have planned a route that includes places previously damaged or destroyed by an earthquake and a tsunami. It is being seen as a symbol of hope, especially where there have been dark times.

  7. Hold up the hand torch and shine the light around the room.

    Point out that light is often a symbol of hope. Ask the children why this is the case.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  8. As the torch makes its way from Olympia to Tokyo, it is passed from one person to another. Each person carries the light for a short distance before passing it on. Explain that this reminds us that we can pass on hope and light to others.

    Ask the children how they think that we can do this.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  9. Explain that we can pass on hope when we share kindness with people. It may be that we notice someone alone in the playground, and invite them to join in our game; it may be that we smile at someone who is feeling down; it may be that we share our toys, or perhaps we stand up for someone. There are many ways for us to share hope.

Time for reflection

Ask the children to consider how they might be torchbearers today, sharing hope with people around them and passing it on to others.

Point out that it doesnt matter how small a torch, candle or lamp may be. Whenever we take that light into a dark place, the light takes away the dark; light always wins.

There is a verse in the Bible that describes this. It says, ‘A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.’

As the torch travels around Japan, some of its destinations have experienced a lot of darkness. It is being carried to places where homes have been destroyed and communities have lost people they loved. In every one of those places, the torch will be a symbol of light driving out the darkness.

Let’s make ourselves really quiet for a moment and think really hard. Today, we have talked about what it means to carry hope into dark places, like light in the darkness. Let’s take a few moments to think about all the ideas we have talked about today. Perhaps we could make a promise to ourselves to do one thing that will share light and hope with other people today.

Let’s remember that as light or hope travels around our school community, any darkness will disappear, and it will be a happier, friendlier, brighter place to be!

Dear God,
Thank you for hope and for the symbol of light.
As we look forward to these Olympic Games, and watch the torch travelling to its destination,
Help us to remember to be bringers of hope and light in the darkness, sharing kindness with those around us.


‘This little light of mine’, available at: (3.30 minutes long)

‘City on a hill’ by Nick and Becky Drake, available at: (4.40 minutes long)

Publication date: May 2020   (Vol.22 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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