How do we nurture kids who include others, ask for more support, and feel secure enough to be themselves? We help them grow belonging. We hope our POP-UP Mini Box this months inspires you and the children in your life to explore where, how, and with whom you belong, and how you can appreciate the bonds that connect us all.

Share your “Circles of Belonging” on Facebook or Instagram!

 
 
CIRCLES OF BELONGING
 
Intro: 
Having a sense of belonging doesn’t have to be abstract– we can count the number of groups we belong to, and we can name the people with whom we feel loved.
 
Goal: 
Kids will leave this exercise knowing with whom they feel belonging. They will know who to go to in times of need, and they will identify who they would like to grow a closer bond with.
 
Instructions: 
1. Gather materials for making your circles. The kids can draw on paper or you could get out of the paper & pencil idea and use any creative material– even go outside (rocks, sand, hula hoops, etc) to make multiple circles.
 
2. Explain the activity (see photo examples below). To help the child see how many different groups to which they belong,(family, friends, school, sports, clubs, extended family, etc). have them create a picture with overlapping Circles of Belonging.
 
3. First, have them draw/create/mark with name themselves on the paper. Then they can add their first circle around them, labeling/drawing the circle group. “Family” or “Mom,Dad,Sister”
 
4. Make subsequent circles. Keep adding more and bigger circles of belonging, with the various people groups included, until you have represented all of the groups they can think of.
 
4. Put feelings to the people (optional) Ask them to share feeling words about how they feel when they are with one of the groups, (Swim team: Strong, Family: Loved)  then have them represent that feeling with words or illustrations on their Circles of Belonging. Continue with more circles.  If comfortable, the children can share the drawings with a partner or small group. 
 
 
 
Discuss:
When you think about all of these people loving you, how does that feel?
Who would you go to with different needs– ie, if you needed a hug, or to ask for help with homework?
Who can you be most “yourself” with, and what would it take to be more “yourself” with others?
Who would you like to be closer to, and what are some steps you could take to get there?
 
Picture Books
 
by Lynne Cherry
The author and artist Lynne Cherry journeyed deep into the rain forests of Brazil to write and illustrate this gorgeous picture book. One day, a man exhausts himself trying to chop down a giant kapok tree. While he sleeps, the forest’s residents, including a child from the Yanomamo tribe, whisper in his ear about the importance of trees and how “all living things depend on one another” . . . and it works.
 
by Kara LaReau
Mr. Prickles was not a particularly friendly fellow. He was tough to get close to . . . because he was a porcupine. Poor Mr. Prickles was very lonely-until the day he met Miss Pointypants. Could she be the perfect prickly companion for moonlit strolls and midnight feasts? Was love in the air for even the sharpest of sorts?
 
by Liz Garton Scanlon
Following a circle of family and friends through the course of a day from morning until night, this book affirms the importance of all things great and small in our world, from the tiniest shell on the beach, to the warmth of family connections, to the widest sunset sky.

 

Chapter Books
 
Percy Jackson Series
by Rick Riordan
Get lost in Rick Riordan’s bestselling Greek mythology series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The books follow the demigod son of Poseidon and his friends on an action-packed quest.

Each month we will be featuring the story of a past POP-Up Festival host. Meet Ayaka, a Super POP-UP Host in Japan who has held three POP-UP Festivals for school children.

 

1. In what country were your POPUP Festivals held? Japan
 
2. How many POPUP Festivals have you hosted? Two for nursery school and one at a music concert for kids!
 
3. How many children attended your festivals? About 50
 
4. Do you have a favorite memory from the POPUP Festivals? I really enjoyed watching some 5-year-old kids play witht he Emo-Monster cards. I was amazed at how many emotional experiences they’ve already had and how they could tie the face to the memories and feelings!
 
5. What do you love about the POPUP Festivals? The activities were so convenient and cute– they were already made, so all I had to do was lead the activities! They were also easy to customize to the kids I had. I feel so involved with a larger movement!
 
6. What is a tip you would give to a new POPUP Festival host about holding a festival? Use your TFA (thoughts, feelings, actions) awareness a lot and remember this Six Seconds philosophy– “the process is the content”! 
 

A sense of belonging is critical to learning. When students feel like an outsider to a group, their cognitive energy is unconsciously directed toward scanning for threats and discrimination. In contrast, when students feel a sense of belong, their cognitive energy is freed up to learn.

 

Kitchen Table Question:

Where do you feel like you most belong? How do you know?

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