Working with Pagan Kids

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Working With Pagan Kids

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Are you helping to raise future generations of Pagans?. Image by Hero Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Many people in modern Pagan belief systems are raising their kids to follow in their footsteps, and educating their children about Pagan faiths beginning early in life. While it’s certain that spiritual education always begins in the home, sometimes it’s nice to be around other like-minded people – and if you’re a Pagan kid, it’s great to meet other children whose families are similar to your own.

A fantastic way to get your children around other kids in Pagan religions is to take them to some sort of public event. However, this isn’t always feasible. There may not be an event near you, or – perhaps more importantly – there may be one, but it might be for grownups only. Don’t take that personally, though; there are a number of reasons why your children might not be welcome.

So, what can you do? If the need for a Pagan kids group is one that needs to be filled, why not take the bull by the horns and fill it, instead of waiting for someone else to handle it? Consider organizing a Pagan kids group in your community. This can be either formal or informal, a regular meetup or a one-time event, big or small, toddlers or teens.

Scouting

Mention Pagan kids groups, and immediately the first thing most people will think of is a group called Spiral Scouts. It’s a fantastic organization, which promotes Pagan values and ideals within a traditional Scouting structure. Spiral Scouts receives no government funding, and each group is strictly autonomous. If there’s no circle near you, it means no one has taken the opportunity to start one yet. Spiral Scouts is an international organization, founded in 2001.

In addition to Spiral Scouts, there are other scouting-themed groups, generally in regional areas, such as Navigators USA. This inclusive group is open to children of any religious background, and has found some popularity in the Pagan community because of its focus on environmental awareness and outdoor living skills.

If you’re interested in leading a Spiral Scouts circle or a Navigators USA group, contact those organizations through their websites for more information.

Forming Your Own Group

If you’re interested in forming a group for Pagan kids that meets regularly, much like with forming an adult group, there are a few things you will need to keep in mind for it to be a success.

  • Will other adults be available to help you, or are you doing this all by yourself? Try to recruit parent volunteers to be part of the group’s leadership. If you’re the only adult involved, you may rapidly find yourself burned out and frustrated.
  • What age group will you be working with? If you’re looking at younger children, under the age of ten, more supervision will be needed. That means more volunteers. Older kids, in their teens, can be given significantly more freedom. How many kids will be in the group?
  • Are parents expected to stay and participate at meetings, or are they simply dropping their child off with you? If you’re responsible for the child’s welfare in the absence of parents, make sure you understand any potential legal issues.
  • What sort of activities will your group do? Will it simply be worship and ritual? Or will you do community service, outdoor education, craft projects, hiking excursions, and more?
  • How often will you meet, and where? Do you have a regular location for your meetings, or will you rotate from one place to another? If you’re meeting weekly or monthly, will the majority of the group be able to attend? Is there a formal attendance policy?
  • Will there be someone present at meetings who is trained in first aid, if the need arises?

Sure, all of this stuff sounds terribly formal. It doesn’t have to be, and if you just want to get a bunch of kids together for a group, it can be as casual and light as you’d like it to be – but all of the above are things you do need to at least consider, if you’re going to have an organized group that meets up for more than just an occasional get-together.

If you want to really make your group feel “official,” you may want to think about actually naming the group or creating a logo. This is something you can even encourage the kids themselves to do – after all, they are the focus of the group!

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Organizing a Single Kids Event

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If you can't commit to a regular meeting or organized group, consider a single event. Image by Stephanie Hager - HagerPhoto/Photodisc/Getty Images

Let’s say you don’t have quite the time or availability to commit to a scouting group or other regularly scheduled meetings. Perhaps there’s an upcoming larger Pagan event, and you’d like to organize children’s activities for the day. Maybe you’d like to put together a Pagan kids event that focuses on a single celebration, like the end of the school year, or the upcoming Yule Sabbat.

While organizing a single event isn’t nearly as big of a job as running a formalized group that meets each month, there are still some things you’ll need to keep in mind.

  • Who will you invite to your event? What age groups are involved? Is it open to all ages, just older kids, toddlers, or everyone in between?
  • Are parents encouraged to stay and participate, or are you running a drop-off service? How will you contact parents if there is an emergency involving their child?
  • What kind of activities will take place? Nature hikes, wildcrafting and outdoor education? Craft projects, rituals, songs and dancing? If supplies are needed, who will pay for them?
  • Will the activities be ongoing throughout the course of a day, or are there set times and schedules?

Keep in mind that sometimes, at larger Pagan events such as Pagan Pride Day celebrations, parents may view a children’s group event as a free babysitting service while mom and dad are off enjoying ritual. You may want to clarify that an adult must accompany children under a certain age. If parents are expected to stay and participate with their child, make sure you let them know ahead of time.

Pagan Kids Activities

There are all kinds of activities you can do with kids at a Pagan event, and what you choose to do is going to vary depending on the age, interests, and attention spans of the children in your group.

Older kids, from about twelve and above, can often work together and write and enact a ritual together. You may want to help empower them by encouraging them to create a ceremony of their own, or assigning each of them a specific job within the ritual.

Nature-focused projects are a great idea too – take time to learn about the earth and the sky and plants. If you’ve got someone who can help educate kids about various things they find in the woods, or wildcrafting, all the better. It’s a wonderful way for children to get hands-on.

Younger kids – and even some older ones – may enjoy craft projects, such as wand-makingbuilding their own altar to celebrate a deity or a seasonal event, or even something as simple as coloring.

Storytelling is always popular with younger children. Find a story that relays the values and ideals of your belief system, and share that with kids – remember, the smaller the child, the smaller the attention span.

Drums and dancing are another activity that kids love, and even the older ones will probably get into it. In addition to being an amazing way to raise energy, drumming is a lot of fun. Encourage kids to make their own percussion instruments – use empty boxes and containers, bells, or even banging a pair of sticks together – to make music.

Want to know the best way to figure out what kids want to do at an event or activity session? Ask them! Kids of all ages are full of creative ideas, and they’ll tell you exactly what they think is fun, and what they think is boring. If you’ve volunteered to work with our young ones, and are donating your time and energy, you probably find it to be a rewarding and enlightening experience – after all, you’re helping to shape generations of Pagans for the future.

Be sure to read Keeping Kids Involved in Pagan Practice for some specific ideas focused on various teaching moments. Also, check out Ten Activities for Pagan Kids for some additional ideas.