Today is Golden Rule Day! Since the Golden Rule shows up in all of the world’s major faith traditions, it’s a great interfaith topic to explore with kids. Here are a few book and craft ideas that we use in our program, which has kids ranging from Preschool through Middle School.
Golden Rule Books
There is one book that is actually titled, The Golden Rule (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2007). This book, written for kids in the Lower Elementary age range, reviews some of the ways in which the Golden Rule shows up in different faith traditions. It then goes on to explore how one might begin to live according to the Golden Rule. The author, Ilene Cooper, and the illustrator, Gabi Swiatkowska, are both award winners, and this book is the most religious of the titles mentioned here.
A few other books help kids learn to appreciate one another in a more general way. They are also good options, depending on your specific needs.
One of our favorites for Lower Elementary kids is The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth (Scholastic, 2002). In this book, based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, a young boy seeks advice from the animal kingdom as they help him answer the three questions that guide compassionate behavior: When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do? Along the way, the boy realizes that his own actions have answered the questions for him.
For younger kids, we like Whomever You Are by Mem Fox (author) and Leslie Staub (illus.) (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2006). This book has great illustrations that highlight both our differences (e.g., “their schools may be different from yours”) and our similarities (e.g., “joys are the same, and love is the same”).
The Crayon Box that Talked by Shane DeRolf (author) and Michael Letzig (illus.) (Random House Books for Young Readers, 1997) is also very popular. The different-colored crayons in the box do not get along at all, until a little girl takes the box of crayons home and begins to color with them. Soon, everyone realizes that the tapestry of colors makes a much better picture than any crayon could make alone.
Golden Rule Craft Ideas
Any craft using gold glitter glue will work for the golden rule! For our younger kids, we sometimes do this 3-D heart craft. The kids decorate the heart and tape it to a background sheet.
Then, we provide some scrap paper, so they can write or draw kind and compassionate things they can do for their family, friends, teachers, and pet. The template for the 3-D heart can be found here.
Our middle-schoolers really enjoy using gold leaf. For this craft, you need:
- black paper
- double-sided adhesive paper (found at most office supply stores)
- gold leaf (found at most craft stores)
- paint brushes
Give each person some double-sided adhesive paper. Sketch an image on the paper and cut it out. Then, remove the paper from one side and apply the sticker to the black paper.
Remove the paper from the top layer of the image and apply a layer of gold leaf.
Press firmly so the gold leaf sticks to the adhesive paper. Use a paint brush to remove the extra gold leaf, which leaves behind a beautiful, shiny image.