Children's Program at Zen Buddhist Temple


Chicago Temple Children's Service

The Chicago Temple Children’s Service meets each Sunday from 10 am to 11:30 am, concurrent with the adult service. Children of all ages are welcome. Very young children usually wander the service freely, while elementary and middle school-aged children are encouraged to participate more fully. Teenagers usually limit their participation to the teen group on the first Sunday of each month. On other weeks, older teens might try the stillness and quiet of longer meditations by investigating the adult service.


During most children's services, we follow a simple ceremony that introduces participants to the various practices of Zen Buddhism. These practices include doing a few prostrations, reciting short prayers with a wooden gong (moktak), chanting with beads, or sitting in silent meditation for a few minutes at a time. Other activities include singing songs, striking the bell, doing yoga in animal shapes, and storytelling. These activities take about 45 minutes, with the remaining time offered as free-play. Older children play card games or do art projects, while younger children enjoy the toy collection. When the weather is warm, we go to the local playground or work in the small garden behind the temple. These activities encourage children to develop strong Dharma friendships.

On first Sunday of each month, we offer a Dharma curriculum day. Participants gather in small groups to learn about Buddhism, and practice it, in age-appropriate ways. Elementary and middle school-aged children engage in lessons on the historical Buddha’s life and teachings. Teenagers take part in guided discussions of their own meditative practices and beliefs, while learning more about Buddhist cosmology.

To join the mailing list, ask questions, or make comments, email us at ZBT

Ann Arbor Temple Zen Family Program


The Ann Arbor Zen Buddhist Temple Family Program is an experience of Zen Buddhism for children, young adults, and families. The family program offers on the second Sunday of each month (September to May). We collaborate to foster happiness, ease, and peace through:


  • Recognition of our own true (Buddha) nature

  • Exploration of the Buddha’s teachings (Dharma) and ethical guidelines (precepts)

  • Cultivation of spiritual community (Sangha)


Through our active and sincere participation and practice of mindfulness, we support this mission and create a vibrant space for spiritual exploration and expression. The program is led by dedicated volunteers who help support the development of wisdom and compassion in children and their caregivers.


During the Family Service, adults and children first come together for music & a short service. Then, the children divide into different age groups (preschool, elementary, middle school, & teens) to participate in age-appropriate activities (including arts & crafts, story-telling, skits, songs, games, etc.) The adults also meet for a period of sitting meditation, followed by a discussion where the practice of mindful awareness and Buddhist teachings are applied to the joys and challenges of family life.

Please email us for more information.

Toronto Temple Children's Service

The Toronto temple holds Children's Service one Sunday each month (10 am to 11:30 am) from September to June. For 2020, the dates are: January 12, February 9, March 8, April 12, May 3 (Buddha's Birthday), June 7, September 12, October 4, November 8 and December 6. Download the flyer and email the temple for more information.


Peace Camp is an annual, week-long outdoor all ages retreat in the woods. It is 100% run by campers and organized by the Zen Buddhist Temple located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This Zen Buddhist retreat fosters a sense of peace, happiness, and nature awareness among campers of all ages. Campers work together in community and experience the Buddha’s teachings in a beautiful, outdoor setting in Howell, Michigan. 

For 2019, the dates are from August 2 to 7. For more information and registration, please visit

Please reload