Week One: Family Connections Toolkit

Connecting with the Sacred in Nature

Scripture: Genesis 1:1-13

Spend a few moments wondering together as a family about the story:

  • I wonder if there is a part of the story that stands out or shimmers?
  • I wonder what part of the story is the most important?
  • I wonder where you are in the story?

Note to parents: The Genesis 1 creation poem is a beautiful poem celebrating the intrinsic goodness of all God’s creation. However, the male gendering of God throughout the text and the gender-binary used for humany (verse 27) is limiting language and may feel exclusive. Please feel free to play with the text, find more expansive language (e.g., alternate she/they/he for God), share your questions and your wrestling with your children, and invite them to share theirs.

Spiritual Practice: Nature Meditation Walk

View the guide. At first, walk around this place the way you normally might be in nature. Notice what it feels like in your body to be in a place while only casually connecting to it. Now, barefoot if possible, feel the weight of your body through your feet and toes. Let your feet sink into connecting with the earth, and pay attention to how it feels in each foot.

Scavenger Hunt

active, observational, playful, all ages 

Try our playful, interactive scavenger hunts!

Nature Journal

creative, reflective, calm, ages 6+

Download journal page with creative prompts for reflective engagement with the outdoors.

Nature Coloring Pages

creative, calm, ages 2+

Download sweet coloring sheets, hand-drawn by Dylan Welch, to bring you up close to the natural world.

Make an Insect Hotel

creative, playful, calm, ages 4+

We rely on pollinators and other insects to keep the web of life connected. Build these small friends a cozy place to live using recycled materials!

What is an insect hotel?

Start an Upcycle Bin

Learn how to repurpose would-be waste into crafty supplies.

Create space in your home to store items that either can’t be recycled or can easily be repurposed before being recycled. Then encourage your children to use their imaginations, turning this would-be waste into something new.

Be a Citizen Scientist

Participate in a shared space where people of all ages can get involved with the scientific process and scientists can crowd source new data.

Choose one among hundreds of research projects searchable through SciStarter.com. Some are online only. Others get you out into nature. Still others put you to work analyzing results.

Family Game: “I’m a Tree!” 

active, creative, playful, 3+ 

Click here to watch how!

Family Animal Walk

playful, observational, creative, 4+

How to Play: Using follow-the-leader rules, take turns selecting an animal (or better yet, an inanimate object, like a leaf!) and invite everyone to move, ‘talk’ and interact like that entity. Invite noticing: Do we all create our animals the same? What differences do you notice between our pretend leaves? How might our butterflies talk?

At the Dinner Table

reflective, engaged, all ages

Prompts to invite reflection and conversation about our environment and natural world.

  • 3 Things: What three things on our table/in our food do we wonder about tonight (where it came from, what it is, how it tastes)? 
  • Rose/Thorn/Bud: What rose happened today? What is a thorn from your day? A bud (something to grow on/a question)? How are all three of these components important to the rose and to us? 

Journal Prompts 

elementary +

For each prompt give yourself at least 1-2 minutes to write or draw in response to these prompts.

Tips: ✐ When you get stuck, keep coming back to the prompt and re-write it to start your next sentence or drawing. ✐  Try to keep your pen moving and don’t overthink your words! ✐ Feel free to speak your truth or write your fictions. 

  • I wonder why…
  • I am grateful for…
  • When I’m outside I notice…
  • In nature, hope looks like…
  • Design a new animal or plant: What would it would look like? How would it move or grow? How would it reproduce?
  • Write a love letter to nature. Or write the letter a tree or fruit or animal might write to you!
  • When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons
    by Julie Fogliano
  • The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng
    by Sophia Gholz
  • A Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park
    by Ashley Benham Yazdani
  • Camp Tiger
    by Susan Choi
  • Old Turtle
    by Douglas Wood and Cheng-Khee Chee
  • Wangari’s Trees of Peace
    by Jeanette Winter

Buy these titles online at a local bookstore! Some we recommend in the Twin Cities: Red Balloon, Mager’s and Quinn & Moon Palace Book.

© Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ | 2023