We suggest you read this portion of the guide aloud with any other adults in your group before scheduling your first Playdate.
- 1. Create a Spiritual Playgroup
- 2. Set Dates & Times
- 3. Choose Your Soul Talk Topic
- 4. Go Play!
- Tips & Information
1. Creating a Spiritual Playgroup that Works for You:
Our program can be tailored for all kinds of groups – whether you join with friends, family, or in a classroom setting (i.e., become an affiliate). For home-based playgroups, we do suggest that you try to include friends and not just siblings. This way, you can achieve greater diversity of ideas and opinions.
How large should the playgroup be? An ideal, home-based spiritual playgroup consists of two or three kids, close together in age. Each child should also have an adult mentor. Although the adult would most likely be a parent, it could be a godparent, teacher, spiritual mentor, or other friend.
How do we find participants for our playgroup? You may already have in your mind the perfect members for your playgroup. If not, don’t worry! Here are a few pointers:
- Ask: One of the first places to look is in your children’s circle of friends and/or acquaintances. Are there any kids and parents that you already interact with who might be open and interested in this type of program? Another great way to find a group is by talking to your own circle of friends.
- Word of Mouth: Spiritual Playdate® is all about exploring and understanding other faiths, as well as your own, so consider reaching out to friends and acquaintances who may have differing beliefs than you. Even try mentioning your intentions to other adults and parents who you may not know well. You may find that as you start mentioning your intentions to other people with kids (or who work with kids), they will be just as eager for spiritual exploration!
- Look to a local house of worship or contact one of our affiliate members in your area. Our affiliates range from houses of worship to interfaith organizations to yoga studios, and they are committed to supporting this work. Many of our affiliates are even willing to host Meetups, which are designed to help introduce this program to interested parties. Meetups are a great solution if you’d rather not approach an affiliate or you don’t yet have one in your area – and it’s easy to host your own Meetup.
- Reaching Out: Check out Spiritual Playdate’s social media Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or visit our Affiliate page. All of these links are great ways to communicate with people who are just as curious as you, who may have already established a group in your area.
How can we be sure they will be a good fit? It is important that the adults in your group are open to the interfaith nature of this program. Spiritual Playdate is not designed to preach or dictate which belief is right or wrong. Our programming is designed to present and explore all different types of beliefs, so each person can discover, develop, and live from a belief system that works for them. Whether your group members come from a similar tradition or from entirely different faiths, it’s imperative that all minds be open and judgments be set aside. Spiritual work is the work of seeking truth; but what rings true for one will not necessarily ring true for another. Our core affirmation is “I respect and honor you and your beliefs.” We encourage all to embrace this sentiment, so they will pass this acceptance on to their children.
2. Set a Time and Place that Works for Your Entire Group:
Spiritual Playdate is designed to take place anywhere and at any time that is convenient for you and your playgroup. It is most desirable to have an internet connection for the best experience, although Soul Talks can be printed out, if necessary.
Where do we meet? A Playdate can take place anywhere. If you are a group of parents and kids, we recommend rotating homes to host your Playdates.
- Yoga Studio
- A room at your local library
- A classroom
- Outside in the park or yard
- House of Worship
You want your Playdate’s space to provide peace and comfort. By trying new destinations, you will discover what works best for your group.
When do we meet?
- After school
- Sunday mornings
- Anytime that works for you!
How often do we meet? If possible, we suggest meeting weekly! Of course, this material can be worked on more or less often. If you’re meeting weekly, try to take a break after every three sessions (in between Soul Talk topics). The fourth session can be a play day for the kids and the adults can chat about how everything is going. You’re welcome to try different options – every other week, once a month. If you let this process unfold naturally, you will find it more fun and interesting for everyone.
How long is a Playdate? Usually 45 minutes to an hour, although you can modify the timing to fit your needs. When your group starts meditating, it might take longer. Please note that the activities, such as our crafts, can vary in time depending on each participant of the group.
3. Choose your Soul Talk Topic
Soul Talks are Playdate scripts that guide you in leading your playgroup. We suggest you start with What is Love? or What is God?, and then move through the rest of our topics.
What is a Soul Talk? A Soul Talk is a pre-written outline for your use during each Playdate. Each Soul Talk contains a suggested script of questions and common answers, activity choices, book choices, music choices, and more. What’s unique about Soul Talks is that they cover a wide variety of topics, such as What is God?, Love, Forgiveness, World Religions, Holy Books and Texts, and many others.
Which topic and/or session should we start with? Depending on the Soul Talk, each topic may have two or three sessions, designed to be completed in order. We have a suggested order because we found that the discussion tends to naturally progress this way. Although we suggest you use the topics in our suggested order, you are welcome to choose any topics that might be right for your group. However, we highly recommend that once your group has started a topic, they should complete all the sessions listed.
4. Go Play!
Follow the directions and script in the Soul Talk to guide you through your first few Playdates. After a while, your group will find that a natural rhythm develops and you will not necessarily need all of the script.
Who should lead our group’s Soul Talk? Each Soul Talk is designed to be led by a pre-selected adult facilitator. The facilitator is responsible for reading the script aloud for your playgroup and keeping things moving along. We suggest that all adults in your playgroup take turns facilitating the various sessions. This will help keep your sessions more playful and interactive.
What kind of configuration should our group be in? Try a circle on the floor where everyone is on the same level, and alternate with the adults sitting in between the kids. Can’t sit on the floor? You can gather around a table. Find somewhere comfortable for everyone, but make sure you can see everyone’s face.
How do we keep things moving along? Try to keep the cross talk to a minimum (or you’ll never get through your Soul Talk). When answering, take turns while going around your circle. Ask everyone to save their questions or comments until after everyone in the circle has had their say. Remind everyone that they are here to listen to each other, so no interrupting. If there is still too much chatter, get a small ball or stuffed animal to use as a speaker’s totem. Whoever has the totem speaks, while the others are active listeners.
What kind of tone should we set? Keep your Playdate light-hearted. Whether you’re an adult or a kid, this gathering shouldn’t be stressful for anyone. Your group is coming together for a journey of faith and it is meant to be fun. It is also important to make sure that you are providing a safe space for everyone to speak. Remind your playgroup that they should try not to judge the ideas that they hear from anyone in the group. This program works best when everyone feels comfortable expressing their thoughts. Keep in mind that the nature of these topics may lead to many wild ideas that may or may not be true – but that is why we have come together. Remember the Playdate core affirmation: “I respect and honor you and your beliefs.”
A few safe starter statements for adults:
- I believe…
- You may be right…
- That’s an interesting idea, but my thinking is a little different…
- Thank you for your thoughts…
What if the group is a little rowdy or doesn’t seem like they want to participate this time? Start by taking a breath and letting your playgroup go with the flow. We’re working with kids here, so remember that some sessions are going to be smoother than others. Try changing up the order of the Soul Talk, such as trying a song, video, or meditation before the discussion, giving everyone an object to fidget with, or even grabbing a snack to share.
What if we are frustrated? Just keep going, and don’t throw in the towel. Every playgroup needs a chance to gain some traction. We suggest you try at least four Playdates before you evaluate whether or not Spiritual Playdate is the right fit for you. If you really want to open the doors of your home and heart to an honest spiritual conversation with your kids, it will take an ongoing commitment. Every spiritual journey is a marathon, not a sprint. All of us here at Spiritual Playdate are working to provide you with as many spiritual and faith tools as possible to have these conversations. Ultimately though, it is up to you and your playgroup to start and continue this path of discovery.
We also provide live, personal coaching sessions via video conference. Please contact us if you are interested in our personal help: via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone call at 847.901.3096.
And Coming Soon … Tutorials We are in the process of creating tutorial videos to help facilitate your Playdates. Keep a lookout here on our website and our YouTube account!
Through the Spiritual Playdate program, we have supplied different options designed to engage your child in this very important discussion of belief. It is our goal to provide you with information, support, and motivation as you embark on this exciting spiritual journey. If you have any further questions or ideas, please feel free to contact us. It would be our honor and privilege to help serve you!