14 SRF YSS Camps' Activities for Children to do at Home

Children making bracelets with affirmations on them

Summary: 14 activities from SRF YSS camps and classes are discussed which can be done at home. The activities include making posters, bracelets, photo frames, altar, garland, etc. Apart from spiritual development, it is a great way to keep children busy and away from gadgets.

Self Realization Fellowship and Yogoda Satsanga Society of India conduct “How to live” Summer camps for children every year and Sunday classes for children in many of the centers world wide. The camps and classes involve children in a lot of activities that inculcate spiritual qualities.
This article shares some of these activities that can be done at home. Please understand that simply making the children do these activities may not help them much. Activities should be combined with a storytelling session or at-least share the teachings of Yoganandaji related to the activity.

Activities should be combined with a storytelling session or at-least share the teachings of Yoganandaji related to the activity.

Make decorative photo frames

Children who already have some connection with Yoganandaji will love this activity.

Children in Self Realization Fellowship's summer program - making frames for Master's photo
Children making frames for Master's photo
Frames for Paramahansa Yogananda's photo
How lovely! This helps in building relationship with the Guru.

Similar frames can be created for pictures of Krishna and Jesus.

Altar decoration

Altar decoration can be a great devotional activity for children.

Floral Decoration for Guru's of Self Realization Fellowship
YSS camp students making floral decorations for the altar
Floral Decoration for Guru's of Yogoda Satsanga Society
Notice the altar at the back

Make an Altar

Sister Preeti of SRF guiding teens to make an altar
Sister Preeti of SRF guiding teens to make an altar
Teens engrossed in work!

You might have noticed that the altar they are trying to make looks similar to SRF YSS travel altar but they are using wood instead of card.

Like SRF YSS travel altar, cardboard or thick card may also be used instead of wood. In India, every home has wedding invitation cards, which can also be used. But no doubt, it is a challenging activity because the shape of the altar has to be proper, the thickness of the card has to be appropriate and picture sizes have to be appropriate.

How to get the pictures? Here are a few options:
1) Order them from the SRF online store or the YSS online store.
2) Get a colored xerox of photos from the books.
3) Get a colored xerox or cut out the pictures from SRF YSS magazines.

Make a Garland

Children can make a garland for Yoganandaji’s picture just like these children made it for SRF monastics.

It seems to be made with thread, straws, and a thick paper cut in shapes of heart, circle, flower, etc, with loving messages written on them.

Such Garlands can be made for masters on the altar. On each garland children can write qualities examplified by the great master on whom it is worn.

Make posters

Following posters were made by SRF camp children in the camp in which the theme of the camp was ‘Courage’. The words on the posters are from the chant on ‘courage’, titled ‘None can tone me’. It is a chant that was originally composed by Swami Ram Tirtha and recomposed by Yogananda for western audiance.

Lovely posters by the children on the Cosmic Chant "None can tone me"
Another one from the same chant
A simple poster with a quote of Yogananda ji

This activity will actually serve its purpose if the child understands the meaning of the chant or affirmation that he is working on. It is even better if he has listened to the chant a few times.

Note: The chant “None can tone me” is part of “I will sing Thy name” album. It can be bought from here (India) or here (Worldwide);

Children can make such posters for their own rooms. Affirmations, chants, quotes, or list of different spiritual qualities (that the child is actively trying to cultivate) can go in them. A sheet of cloth or chart paper or drawing sheets can be used to draw and paint on.

Have posters in kids room

SRF puts posters even in the dining area to remind children of the spiritual qualities they should inculcate. For the same reasons, spiritual posters can be put in kids room at home. Big pictures of Masters can also be placed on the walls.

Notice the posters at the back
Lovely! Isn't it?

Make bracelets

Children making bracelets with affirmations on them

Wondering how the bracelet is made? Most likely it uses beads like these, inserted in a wire or a thread like this one. A neclace can also be made in a similar fashion.

Have Discussions

According to research in Pedagogy, discussion is one of the most effective way to teach a concept to a child.

A discussion on 'Swami Ram Tirtha’s Song', which concentrates on fearlessness (the theme of the camp was 'Courage')
Teen discussion on introspection and right conduct

Simply doing the activites listed on this page, is not enough. Doing discussions along with it is a must to make sure that the kid understands the lesson.

Let us say that the child is working on activities related to ‘courage’. Try to find Yogananda’s writings on ‘courage’ (index of ‘Second Coming of Christ’ or ‘God Talks with Arjuna’ is a good place to look into) and then discuss the writings.

Storytelling

Children love stories as we all do. Yoganandaji said, “In Mother’s presence we tasted our earliest bitter-sweet acquaintance with the scriptures. Tales from the Mahabharata and Ramayana were resourcefully summoned to meet the exigencies of discipline. Instruction and chastisement went hand in hand.”

Sister Sarvamayi shares stories of Paramahansaji with teens

Read more about storytelling tips by SRF YSS monastics from here.

Theme of the month

Every year a theme is set for the 7 days long SRF Summer camp.

Spiritualizing Relationships' was the theme in 2017 camp
'Balance' was the theme in 2014 camp
'Courage' was the theme in 2013 camp

Parents who are seriously working on spiritual development of their children can set a spiritual theme for each month and focus on development of that particular quality in their children.

Pilgrimage

Take children to pilgrimage spots (like YSS Ranchi, Lake Shrine Temple, etc). When you visit the place, tell children about Guruji and stories of that place.

The boys learn about the history of the first SRF temple in Encinitas...
…and hear stories about Paramahansaji when he was in Encinitas.

Devotional music

Brahmachari Sarat leads class for teens on devotional chanting
Another devotional music class
Children engrossed in playing chants

If you already know a musical instrument, you can teach your kid to play a chant (bhajan) on that. If you do not know any yet, you may get a Harmonium or an electronic keyboard and learn together to play a chant using the book: Cosmic Chants made easy.
You may like to start with the ‘Aum chant’ or ‘Door of my Heart’, they being the easier ones to play.

Taj Mahal, The Gurus, and Krishna

Skill and time required: Intermediate

This picture shows three products made by students. One of them is white colored Taj Mahal, one of the eight wonders of the world located in India. The one on the right seems to be a pond with lotuses and swans with Sri Krishna’s childhood form in the middle in white color. The third and the most interesting one is of the 6 Guru’s meditating in front of the Taj Mahal.

Make Babaji’s cave

Skill and time required: High

SRF Sunday School teachers of Washington DC Center made this copy of Babaji’s cave.

A child meditating inside the cave

Parents can make a similar one along with their children.


That’s it for this article!

namaste

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