This is where I had been
An onslaught of pictures follow; so beware...!
I created a simple screen for a butterfly puppet dance
Followed by my friend and cohort, who always introduces the day's story and doings to the kids
Then I had kids write out their names and one quality in them they thought was most true
This activity was a way to get children to become more self aware and also take some pride in who they are
So they wrote it out on triangular sheets of paper and we mad a Thoranam that we hung across the room
Busy, busy, hands and mind, working on their little special note
Followed by a story called Little Vinayak, about an elephant with a trunk toooo long
Paper envelop puppets to make and show
We also made an Origami mouse
Then wound up the day with an Elephant and Mouse story, that children made up on the spot!
Here they are waiting for their turn....
I also did a small puppet show in between, ably assisted by my son. Simple panchatantra stories of the Lion and the Mouse, followed by Crocodile and the Monkey. A sample fare for kids to get used to the idea of puppetry and voice modulation.
In my opinion children enjoyed making the simple puppets, but when they had to perform we saw many shy and recalcitrant ones. This gradually changed as well. Initially what started as mere imitation of a story presented by my daughter (a great little story of a mouse which is not friendly with an elephant, but then the elephant helps the little mouse at the time of need, to end happily with their friendship), slowly started evolving in front of us, as some chose to change the ending, while others changed the problem encountered.
My favorite was an original story (as he chose to tell a different story from the others) where the Elephant God Ganesha chooses the mouse Mooshika as his vehicle.
Even as the day ended, I could see the little turtles emerging from their shells, creating some really sweet, simple stories on their own.
Play and play acting is a part of every child's life, in their games, in their mannerisms, in their speech. Very simply when we tweek their curiosity and spark their imagination, rest assured they are going to drown us in the creative output that will follow.
The first day was without an agenda, a space for sharing stories and props, but I had a different plan for the older group (11 - 18 years)...so check out my next post