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Variety is the spice of life

To explore the idea that we all need variety in our lives.

by Gordon Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To explore the idea that we all need variety in our lives.

Preparation and materials

  • For the variety challenge you could create cards or checklists for each child to take away using the headings given (see point 5) with space to write below.


  1. Ask the children about their favourite sport. Point out that you are only interested in the very greatest fans of the sport, people who would like to spend all their time playing or watching it. Take a few suggestions and ask for two sport-mad children (two different sports) to come to the front.
  2. Ask them: Are you sure that you like this sport? Absolutely sure? Then prove your commitment. Can you only say ‘football’ (or running, swimming, or whatever) for the next minute?

    Get their agreement and then interview them one at a time, asking questions such as those below to which they each answer with the name of their sport:

    What’s your name? (Football)
    Where do you live? (Football)
    What do you like to do in your spare time? (Football)
    What do you like to watch on TV? (Football)
    What do you like to eat? (Football)
    What do you like to drink? (Football)
    Who’s the prime minister? (Football)
    What do you write with? (Football)
    What’s the most boring sport in the world? (Football)

    Thank the volunteers and ask them to sit down. Admit that your game wasn’t very fair but suggest that if the volunteers really spent all their time playing or watching their favourite sport, life would soon get very boring!
  3. Ask who likes sweets? Hopefully nearly all hands will go up. Play the game again, this time with the entire assembly allowed only to say the word ‘sweets’ when you ask the questions. For the last question, say: What are the most horrible things in the world? (Sweets)
  4. Point out that even the biggest fan of sport, or sweets, or books or films or anything, needs some variety in their life. It makes them a more interesting person and it makes their sport (or whatever) more fun when they go back to it after doing something else for a while. Point out that if you only ate sweets then you’d soon become ill because sweets don’t give you what your body needs to live on. And if you only played football you’d never learn to read or write.
  5. Introduce the phrase, ‘Variety is the spice of life’. Spice gives things flavour. Challenge the children to develop a more flavoursome life with a greater variety. Can they come up with a plan that gives them each day:

    Something physical and energetic (sport, games, exercise).
    A good, balanced variety of food and drink.
    Time to be still and quiet.
    Something that challenges their brain (maths puzzles, word searches).
    Something that is creative (story-writing, art, music composition).

    It’s not as easy as you think.
  6. You could end the assembly by giving out cards with the above headings for children to fill in in their own time.

Time for reflection


Today, how can I be:

Active and lively

Still and thoughtful

Challenge my mind

Challenge my creativity

Eat a good variety

And still find time to go to sleep



Dear God,

Thank you for the variety of things that we can do.

Help us to be rounded people with a good variety of activities in our lives.



‘In the bustle of the city’ (Come and Praise, 101)

Publication date: May 2008   (Vol.10 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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