Exploring Peace: Below are some ideas, activities and discussion starters to help children and young people explore the theme of peace.
Print off the inspirational quotes about peace and display around your meeting space.
Peace – Mindfulness Colouring
Activity: Origami Doves
Instruction Video here
Group Activity: Agree/Disagree
Write the words “agree” and “disagree” in very large letters on poster board and post them on two walls, preferably across from each other.
Make statements relevant to the children or young people you’re working with and have everyone move to the wall with the poster that match their opinion.
Have the groups discuss why they agree or disagree and create a statement to support their opinion.
Dear God, We thank you for giving us your peace. Help us to spread peace at home and at school by loving and caring for one another. Help us to spread peace by listening to one another, even when we don’t agree. Help us to spread peace by sharing our time with those who are lonely and who need a friend. Help us to spread peace by thinking and praying for children who have no food or who are frightened and live in fear. Let us pray every day for peace for our families, for our friends and for ourselves. Amen
Energizer: Group Rhythm
A fun enegizer to get everyone working in harmony – especially after the agree/disagree game. The game is played in a circle and leader creates a rythmn that the rest of the group have to copy. e.g Clap, Stomp, Clap, Clap, Stomp.
Song: Teach the World to Sing in Harmony
Younger Kids: What does Peace Feel Like?
What Does Peace Feel Like is a beautiful booked by Vladimir Radunsky. It explores peace through the five senses of young children from around the world. Peace smells like fresh air that makes you want to go outside and sleep in the sun to 10 year old Oliver. For 9 year old Gilula, peace looks like her mum’s hugs and kisses
Read the book with children and explore with them their own responses to what peace looks like, feels like, tastes like, smells like and sounds like. The children could write story, create a poem or make some art in response.
The book is available to buy on Amazon here.
Young People: Is Peace Possible?
Watch video here
- Is peace possible?
- What does peace mean? Is it just the absence of fighting?
- What do you think are the biggest causes of conflict? …at a local level? Globally?
- Does being “peaceful” mean being “passive”?
- Can you fight for peace or is that a contradiction?
- Can a country where people are oppressed and their human rights are abused be described as “peaceful”?
Peace String Art
Choose the materials you want to work with. When it comes to string art, you essentially need three things: string, nails, and some type of surface. Here are the details on all three:
String. The type you use depends on the look you want to create. Embroidery floss works well for more delicate pieces. Yarn and thicker strings work well for pieces that pack a punch.
Nails. Veneer pins work very well – they have small heads that let paper slide easily off (if you’re using paper). You could also use small, regular nails from the hardware store. Coloured nails can be a nice touch, too, especially if you use more than one for the juxtaposition.
A surface. Canvas or wood are the basic options. However, do know that if you’re using canvas, the nails will likely be wobbly and harder to work with. You can use plain wood, or you can use wood covered in felt or cloth.
Choose how you’re going to transfer your design.
For a paper transfer, you simply find an image or word you like on your computer and print it to size. You’d place it on the board and put nails into the paper. When you’re done, you need to take off the paper up and over the head of the nail. Prep your board, if necessary. If you’re using a block of wood (or cork floor tile), you may want to cover the surface with cloth or felt. Secure it on all sides with hot glue if you have it handy – if not, adhesive spray, double-sided tape, or white glue will do the job, too.
- Whatever you’re using (canvas, wood, or otherwise), you may want to paint the background beforehand. A solid pop of red or orange can turn an otherwise simple string art shape into something that makes more of an artistic statement.
- Or you could just leave your surface bare. Simple can be quite striking, too.
Place on your design. You’re probably using a piece of paper with a shape or word on it or a stencil, right? Whichever one you use, centre it on your surface where you’d like the image to be. Secure the design to the surface with tape on the edges where it won’t interfere with the string. This is important as you don’t want the design to shift while you’re pinning.
Hammer the nails or pins into your surface. Following the printed pattern, place nails as close together as you want – the more the nails are scrunched together, the more vibrant the piece will be. That being said, about 1/4″ (6mm) apart is a good place to start.
- Grip the pins with needle-nose pliers to make it easier to hammer the pins in. It also keeps you from slamming the hammer into you fingers.
- Hammer each pin only until about 1/4″ (6mm) protrudes from the surface. You want the nails to be very stable and not be going anywhere anytime soon.
Remove the paper pattern or stencil. Once all the pins or nails are in, un-tape each corner of the design. Then either slide off the stencil or pull the paper up through the nails. If you’re working with paper, be patient – you don’t want to take any of the nails with you. This may take a second – just pull up each section little by little if it’s not easily coming off.
Unwrap your string and find the end. Determine your starting point and tie a knot around that pin (or nail). Dab a bit of clear-drying glue or clear nail polish on the knot and let it dry.
- While it’s drying, map out the design in your mind. Are you going to do it haphazardly (which does work) or incrementally, making the entire thing symmetric? Are you working with different layers of colours? Do you want to weave them in and out?
Begin weaving your string around the nails. There’s no wrong way to thread and weave around the nails. You could do it immediately across from the current nail or weave up and down or side to side. And the beauty of string art? If you mess up, just un-weave and try again. This part is all about experimenting.
Continue weaving in and out of the nails until you’re satisfied with the piece. Are you happy with just the one colour? Do you want to create multi-coloured layers? Maybe a different pattern? This is up to you. When you like it, your work is done!
When you’re finished, knot the string to a nail. It’ll probably make most sense if you can knot it in a corner. Then, cut off the string as close to the knot as possible and once more, secure it with a dab of glue. Your first piece of string art is completed!
Additional Idea: Game of Risk
Time consuming but would work well as a good introduction to the topic. Board game is available to buy at amazon here.
You can become a patron of Children & Youth through Patreon. In return for your monthly support, we offer first access to a range of youth and children’s work resources. Thank you for being part of the C&Y team.