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Friday the 13th

To encourage the children to think about the effect of luck, on what is considered by some to be the unluckiest day of the year.

by Brian Radcliffe

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage the children to think about the effect of luck, on what is considered by some to be the unluckiest day of the year.

Preparation and materials

  • Suggested music: ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ by Kylie Minogue.


  1. Cross the index and middle fingers on both hands and show these to the children. Ask if they can see what you’re doing with your hands.

    I’m crossing my fingers. Why do some people cross their fingers? Take some suggestions from the children.

    Some people believe that, if you cross your fingers, it will bring you good luck. For the same reason they might say ‘Touch wood’ and reach out to touch a wooden chair, shelf or even a pencil.

    Sometimes people make the sign of a cross over their front like this (demonstrate). They believe it creates good luck.

    If you believe in luck, the very best thing that could happen would be for a black cat to walk across the path in front of you. Ask if any of the children have a black cat at home. Maybe you’re the luckiest people of all, because I’m sure your cat walks in front of you all the time.
  2. Can anyone tell me what day it is today? (Friday) Can anyone tell me what date it is today? (the 13th).

    Friday the 13th is a day that is connected with bad luck. Some people say that on this day it’s very unwise to walk under ladders, because that would bring bad luck.

    They also say that it’s very unwise to spill some salt today because that would result in even more bad luck.

    And it would be even worse if you happened to break a mirror on Friday the 13th. That would make you very unlucky.

    And some people say that you don’t want to see one magpie all on its own. That would complete your bad luck.

    That’s what some people say.
  3. Sometimes it’s fun to be a little bit scared. Maybe it’s listening to a (ghost) story that sends a shiver down our back; or playing a game when someone puts on a scary mask. But we never need to be really scared about these things. Just like Friday the 13th, they give us a bit of entertainment, and we might like to give each other a fright, but it’s all pretend.
  4. We aren’t scared because we know that there’s always someone bigger than us to keep us safe. In school it’s the teachers and the teaching assistants. At home it’s our parents, brothers and sisters. In the Bible it tells us that there’s someone even bigger than them.

    Whoever goes to the Lord for safety,
    Whoever remains under the protection of the Almighty,
    can say to him, ‘You are my defender and protector.
    You are my God; in you I trust.’ (Psalm 91.1–2)

    These words were written thousands of years ago to encourage the men, women and children who lived at that time not to be scared. This psalm goes on to describe ways in which God protects us, such as like a mother hen with her chicks. She lets them roam around, exploring and doing what they want. But when she senses danger they rush back to her and hide under the shelter of her wing where they feel safe.

    Whether we feel lucky or unlucky today, there’s no need for us to be worried. We can believe there’s someone watching out for us.

Time for reflection


Thank you that we need never feel worried or alone.

Not on the lucky days when everything seems to be happy,

not on the unlucky days when things seem to upset us and go wrong.

Thank you that there is always someone we can go to for safety.

Thank you especially for teachers and assistants, and for parents, brothers and sisters.



‘I Should Be So Lucky’ by Kylie Minogue

Publication date: February 2009   (Vol.11 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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