Love has been called the greatest virtue, perhaps because we need it to faithfully execute so many of the other virtues like patience, kindness, humility and temperance. The apostle Paul devoted the entire 13th chapter of the Biblical book of Corinthians to describing and exalting love. Modelling love constitutes a critical component for teaching children how to love. Engaging, interesting games can complement modelling love to children and help them receive a well-rounded instruction on its virtues.
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Sick Stuffed Animal
One of the best ways to teach children how to show the virtue of love to others is through role-playing. Play a game with your young child where you pretend that his stuffed animal is sick. Tell the child that the stuffed animal or doll has a tummy ache and ask what your child can do to help the stuffed animal feel better. Prompt her to tell the stuffed animal that she's sorry it's not feeling well and to ask if there's anything she can get it. Coach her to offer the animal a blanket, get it a drink of water and to read a story to the toy or offer the toy one of his favourite toys to play with. Afterwards praise your child and tell her that what you just played through represents a way of showing love to others.
You Go First
Set aside a time for children to play a series of games that involve running, jumping and teamwork. Separate children into four or more lines, with each line comprising a team of five or six children (adjust the number of lines and children in each line up or down depending on the total number of children that you have to accommodate). Allow children to line up and discuss the concept of love before you begin playing. Tell children that one of the best ways to show love is by putting someone else's needs and desires before your own. Help them understand that they can demonstrate selflessness by letting others on their team go first. Ask the children to take turns being first in line and to help each other through the different activities. After game time, spend a few minutes discussing how the children can show love at home at outside of class, such as sharing toys with siblings or letting other kids go first when they play neighbourhood games.
Play a game with middle schoolchildren that helps them identify their strengths and then discuss how you can use those strengths to love others. First, have children take a strengths test online such as the Strengths Finder test, Jung Typology Test or the Multiple Intelligences Strengths Test. Cut out cards and put one set of cards into an envelope. Prepare a set of cards and envelope for each team. Create a timed competition for students to work in teams to match as many of the strength terms (on the cards) with their descriptions (also on the cards). Allow the winning team to lead the discussion with the group on how each strength can be used to love others.
Play a game with flag cards that highlights the differences between the many cultures of the world. Download the flags and answers powerpoints, and use them to talk about topics like the concept of self, societal vs. personal responsibility, the concept of time, source of status and many others. Explain that the "answers" are based on research performed by scientists and as such are opinions based on their findings. The answers are not necessarily "right" but do provide a good basis for discussion. Divide students into teams and ask them to arrange country flags along a continuum for each concept. Then, discuss why teams arranged countries the way they did. Explore any prejudices teams may have against countries. Finally, connect the activity to love and discuss how love involves not judging people for their cultural differences but treating everyone with kindness, dignity and respect, even when their actions don't make sense or seem offensive to you.
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