Age Range: 5 to 11
Possible themes: dealing with unexpected, facing change, having a go, persevering.
Needs: 2-3 huge sheets of sugar paper; scissors, sticky tape (masking tape is best).
What to do: Cut paper roughly into 10-15 cm strips, as long as possible. Tape one of these into a loop. Tape the others, but give these a twist in them before taping, 180 or 360 degrees. This can be done in front of the children, with 'help' from volunteers.
Cut down the middle of the first, untwisted strip, to give two narrower but otherwise identical loops. Comment "ordinary, boring" etc.
Then cut the 2nd loop. Halfway, pretend anxiety, oh dear this is going wrong etc; maybe ask the children's advice, should you persevere or what? Complete the cut and act amazement at result. (I'm not telling you, try it yourself!)
Discuss the "moral"... Have A Go. If a Christian message is needed, read or tell the miracle from St John's gospel, chapter 21, verses 4-6.
Suitable songs could be One More Step, or Give me Oil in my Lamp. You can challenge children to try the same cutting at home, explaining that the twisted loops are called Mobius strips.
I've used this several times and found children loved seeing the "magic".
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