Having a sense of belonging doesn't have to be abstract -- we can count the number of groups we belong to, and we can name the people with whom we feel loved.
Kids will leave this exercise knowing with whom they feel belonging. They will know who to go to in times of need, and they will identify who they would like to grow a closer bond with.
- Gather materials for making your circles. The kids can draw on paper or you could get out the paper & pencil idea and use any create material – even go outside (rocks, sand, hula hoops, etc) to make multiple circles
- Explain the activity. To help the child see how many different groups to which they belong (family, friends, school, sports, club, extended family, etc.) have them create a picture with overlapping Circles of Belonging.
- First, have them draw/create/mark with name themselves on the paper. Then, they can add their first circle around them, labeling/drawing the circle group “Family” or “Mom, Dad, Sister”
- Make subsequent circles. Keep adding more and bigger circles of belonging, with the various people groups included,until you have represented all the groups they can think of.
- (Optional) Put feelings to the people. Ask them to share feeling words about how they feel when they are with one of the groups (swim team: strong, family: loved). Then, have them represent that feeling with words or illustrations on their Circles of Belonging. Continue with more circles. If comfortable, the children can share the drawings with a partner or small group.
- When you think about all of these people loving you, how does that feel?
- Who would you go to with different needs – i.e., if you needed a hug or to ask for help with homework?
- Who can you be most “yourself” with, and what would it take to be more “yourself” with others?
- Who would you like to be closer to, and what are some steps you could take to get there?
Put feelings to each group, asking how the child feels when they are with each. They can also share their drawings with each other if in a group.