Playing with Place

“Playing with Place”

Rev. Caitlin S. Cotter | July 30, 2017

One of my favorite parts of being your Minister of Congregational Life and Learning is that I get to lead Family Circles on first Sundays during the school year. These Family Circles are an opportunity for children and their caregivers to come together and participate in activities and discussions about our congregational theme of the month. The idea is to give families things they can keep working on together after our time here on Sundays is done, and to have fun together. At Family Circle we’ve done everything from puppet shows to stories and games to small service projects.

My favorite family circle activity, so far, was fort building. Kir Zecher and I were the ones who led the family circle that day. Our theme was freedom, and our story for the day was called Two Blankets, about an immigrant child who felt most safe and free at home where her native language wrapped around her like a warm blanket, but who with the help of a friend learned the language of her new country and found a way to make herself a new blanket from friendship and the words her friend taught her.

We had our families build their own blanket forts in Jefferson Hall – some of the kids wanted the a simple fort with just them and a parent, some wanted to make as big and complicated a fort with as many kids involved as possible. We put on music and invited the families to dance inside their forts, showing each other dance moves. And then we invited them out of their forts to show all of us their moves. It was easier to dance outside the forts, they told us, where they had freedom of movement, but there was a kind of freedom to dancing inside the forts as well, the sense that you could really dance however you wanted without being nervous about it.

There is a kind of safety in even the simplest and most precarious of forts, isn’t there? A kind of magic, too.

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