Dr. Seuss and the 7 Principles

For a PDF version:

The 7 Principles curriculum (grades 1-3)

The Seven Principles and Dr. Seuss, by Sara Lewis


The 7 Principles Rainbow (Grades 1-3)

  • Welcome the kids to class, and light the chalice.


  • Do Joys and Sorrows


  • Read the Children’s Version of the Principles


  • Wondering Questions:


  • I wonder if you have heard these principles before?
  • I wonder which of these principles is your favorite?
  • I wonder why we have Principles?


  • Work on the Rainbow Banner, which will be used throughout the session:

Before class: On a large piece of paper, pencil in a rainbow arc, with 7 stripes. Write the color name on each stripe.

During Class: invite children to color the stripes with crayon, OR:

Red Promise: cut paper dolls from red construction paper and write “Respect Everyone” on them, then tape them up on that stripe.

Orange Promise: cut out orange smiley faces and orange circles with “fair and kind” written on them, and tape them to that stripe.

Yellow Promise: Cut out yellow question marks, with “learn about each other and the mystery” written on them, and tape them on that stripe.

Green Promise: cut out green leaves, with “grow by searching” written on them, and tape them on that stripe.

Blue Promise: cut out blue “ears” with “share ideas” written on them, and tape those to that stripe.

Indigo Promise: cut out indigo birds with “peace” written on them, and tape them to that stripe.

Violet Promise: Cut out violet octagons, with “web of life” written on them, and tape them to that stripe.

  • Close with a review of the Promises, pointing to each stripe of the rainbow. In a closing circle, sing “The Principles Song”. (page 203 of Come Into the Circle by Michelle Richards)

The Sneetches and the First Principle

  • Light the Chalice and welcome the children
  • Do Joys and Sorrows
  • Read The SneetchesWondering Questions:
  • I wonder why the Sneetches with stars were mean to the ones without?
  • I wonder if you’ve ever felt left out like the Sneetches without felt?
  • Do some people feel like they are better than other people? Why?
  • Does it matter what a person looks like?
  • Read the 1st Principle again, and discuss what that means.   What is “Respect”, and how is each person “unique and important”?
  • Create art responses. There will be: star stencils, metallic papers, multi-racial markers or paints, and general art supplies available.
  • With face paint, paint a star on the cheek of anyone who wants one.
  • Close with The Principles Song

Horton Hatches the Egg and the 2nd Principle

  • Welcome the children and light the chalice
  • Do Joys and Concerns
  • Read Horton Hatches the Egg
  • Wondering Questions:
  • Who in the story was fair and kind to others? Who wasn’t?
  • Why did Horton stay on the egg? What did the egg need?
  • Have you ever been kind or taken care of something or someone else?
  • Read the Second Principle and discuss what it means. What is “fair and kind treatment”? How can you offer it to “all people”?
  • With hardboiled eggs, do an Egg Drop. Give the kids a variety of packing materials, bags, tape, string, etc., and the challenge is to package the egg so that you can then drop it from a height without it breaking. Once all the eggs are packaged, choose a location to drop your eggs. If you don’t have some stairs or another place like that, just dropping them from the highest an adult can hold them up will work as well.
  • Close with the Principles Song.


How the Grinch Stole Christmas the 3rd Principle

  • Welcome the children and light the chalice
  • Do Joys and Concerns
  • Read How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Wondering Questions:
    1. What did the Grinch learn? How did his feelings change?
    2. Did the Whos learn anything? Can something bad (like losing all your Christmas presents) be a chance to learn something?
    3. What is your favorite thing that you’ve learned already in your life?
    4. What do you still want to learn?
  1. Read the 3rd Principle and discuss it. What does “yearn to learn” mean? What can we learn about “ourselves, each other, and the mystery”? What is “the mystery”?
  2. Make a puppet version of the story. There will be blank felt hand puppets, and supplies for decorating them to be Whos, The Grinch, and Max the Dog. Once the puppets are made, act out the story in the puppet theater. Take pictures of the kids with their puppets, to possibly use later in a Story for All Ages in the service.
  3. Close with the Principles Song.

Horton Hears a Who and the 4th Principle

  • Welcome the kids and light the chalice
  • Do Joys and Concerns
  • Read Horton Hears A Who!
  • Wondering Questions:
    1. Why did Horton believe there were tiny people on the speck of dust?
    2. Why did the others NOT believe there were little people on the speck of dust?
    3. Why did the others want to destroy the dust? Why did it bother them that Horton believed something they didn’t believe?
    4. Have you ever learned something new that changed what you believe?
  • Read the 4th Principle and discuss it. How can you “grow by searching”? What does “true and right” mean? What kind of searching and growing are we all doing in our own lives?
  • Play Listening and Paying Attention Group Games.
  • The Blind Puzzler: put the kids in pairs and give each pair a jigsaw puzzle. Blind fold one. The blinded one will be the hands and the other will tell them verbally where to put each piece, but cannot use their own hands.
  • Cross the minefiled: clear the center of the room and then put out a few safe obstacles (orange cones, jump rope, pillows, etc.). Blindfold one kid and have all the others verbally direct them to cross the “minefield” without stepping on anything. Take turns.
  • Close with The Principles Song.

Yertle the Turtle and the 5th Principle

  • Welcome the kids and light the chalice
  • Do Joys and Concerns
  • Read Yertle the Turtle
  • Wondering Questions
  • How did Yertle treat the other turtles?
  • What kind of say in things did the other turtles get?
  • What did Mack mean when he said “but down at the bottom we too should have rights”?
  • Have you ever spoken out about something or shared how you felt about something?
  • Discuss the 5th Principle. How can you “believe in and share your ideas”? And then why is it important to “listen as others share their ideas”? How do we have this back and forth about ideas in our lives?
  • Work on stacking and balancing: build with blocks or play “cooperative” Jenga or other balance games.Play cooperative games:
  1. And/OR
  • Untie the knots: place several knots in a jump rope, and then everyone hold on somewhere along it with their left hand. Without anyone letting go with their left hand, get all the knots untied.
  • Leaning chairs: put the kids in pairs, back to back. Either have them link arms or put a yard ball between their backs, depending on their ability level. Challenge them to sit down and stand back up again by leaning on each other.

The Butter Battle and the 6th Principle

  • Welcome the kids and light the chalice
  • Do Joys and Concerns
  • Read The Butter Battle
  • Wondering Questions:
  • I wonder why the Zooks and Yooks hated each other?
  • Why did they keep making bigger weapons? Could one side ever stop?
  • Have you seen or heard of people acting like the Yooks or the Zooks?
  • I wonder what happens next in the story?
  • Discuss the Principle: what would a fair and peaceful world be like? How can we “Insist” on one? What can we do?
  • Using the art supplies, create two possible endings to the story. If the students want to write an ending, help them do that.
  • End with the Principles Song.


The Lorax and the 7th Principle

  • Welcome the kids and light the chalice
  • Do Joys and Concerns
  • Read The Lorax
  • Wondering Questions:
  • I wonder what the Thneed really was, and why people wanted them?
  • I wonder why the Oncler wouldn’t listen to the Lorax?
  • What did the message “Unless” mean?
  • Will things get better if someone cares?
  • What can we do to care for the earth and the trees?
  • Discuss the Principle: What is the web of life? How can we value it?
  • Play the web of life game: standing in a circle, give one person a roll of yarn. Have them hold the end and say something about themselves, such as “I like corn on the cob”. Others who share that or something similar should indicate that, and the person throws the yarn ball to one of them. Continue until you’ve made a “web” in the center of your circle.
  • Make “Care a Lot” pictures that show what the kids care about and how they care for it.
  • Finish with the Principles Song.

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