Today is Epiphany, the day in the Christian church when we celebrate the "showing forth" of the Christ child. It is now that the story tells of the arrival of the Magi, the Three Kings; though it could be just a grand story, there could have been more kings, maybe there were some queens - who knows? But the story has a purpose that goes beyond facts.
I teach a Sunday School class of first to third graders. I like to plan activities that will help them engage in the stories we tell. Nothing in our teacher's guide was grabbing me so I turned to a book I have on my shelves - To Dance with God, by Gertrud Mueller Nelson. And she had the perfect solution - a suggestion to make an Epiphany Parchesi game. I had fun putting it together. She suggested drawing in a simple pathway, adding some pictures, and designating some squares with hazards or good luck. A nice feature is that you can play the game with as many children as are present, just by adding more buttons for tokens. Since the teacher of the pre -k/kindergarten class was sick, we absorbed those children into the game, too - and the kids seemed to have a fun time with it.
The game allowed us to imagine what a journey like that might entail - sandstorms, mountains, deserts, the night sky. It gave the children time to tell what they knew about the story. I was really pleased with how well it worked for a multi age group, and how much they got into it. I really loved seeing their imaginations at work. We may play it again. Or we may come up with other versions - and they could plan the hazards and gifts that advance the traveller.