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Bring everyone together to create and celebrate a positive environment

This is a wonderful way to bring children, teens, and adults closer together. It's a great intergenerational activity for schools, community groups, and families. Everyone first meets to make "gifts;" the gifts are displayed for a certain period of time; and then everyone comes together again for a Peace Party to unwrap the gifts.

At the beginning of this activity, you might want to evoke the appropriate mood by reading a book like Dream by Susan V. Bosak, For Every Child by Caroline Castle,
I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or Prayer for the Twenty-First Century by John Marsden.

Start by talking about peace. What does "peace" mean to you? What would your community look like if there were complete safety and harmony? What would the world look like if there were peace everywhere? Part of making peace happen is envisioning it. Finish the sentences "I feel free when..." and "I feel peaceful when..." and "I can work for peace in my community and the world by..." What are your wishes, hopes, and dreams for yourself, your family and friends, your community, and the world?

Now think about the one gift you would give the world if you could to make it more peaceful? Think carefully about your answer. This is the ONE thing you think is MOST important to make the world a more peaceful place.

Create a drawing, or write a poem or story, about that gift. Or, get an object that symbolizes your gift. For example, if your gift is enough food to feed everyone on the planet, you might choose a bag of rice.

Once everyone has created their gifts, wrap them up in brightly colored paper. Construct a special Peace Tower (make the tower out of several boxes and arrange the gifts to cover the tiers created by the boxes). Enjoy the beauty of the wrapped gifts for a week or two.

Then throw a Peace Party to unwrap the gifts. Learn how to say "peace" in different languages. People can greet each other using the new words they've learned. You can also create and put up posters with the words as decoration for the party. Some examples:

Spanish -- paz (pahs)
French -- paix (peh)
German -- friede (FREE duh)
Italian -- pace (pa CHE)
Russian -- MP (meer)
Swahili -- amani (ah MAH nee)
Swedish -- fred (frehd)
Hebrew -- sholem (shO lum)

During the party, each person unwraps a gift. Share what the gifts are and why they were chosen. Which of the dreams that the gifts represent do you think you can make come true? Brainstorm ideas that the group might be able to pursue throughout the year.

© SV Bosak, www.legacyproject.org


Pencil crayons
  and/or markers
Items symbolic of
Boxes (to put gifts in)
Wrapping paper
Several large boxes
Poster-sized paper
Food and drinks for
  a party


Schools (social
  studies; family/life
  studies; language
  arts; art)
Youth groups