Happy Wednesday again! Caroline here with our go-to books as a basis for lessons full of creative play. Many of these are deservedly well-loved classics. They are my favorites because each one is so rich with possibility, in different ways for different age groups. At this point, I can't pass up an opportunity to explore with these books and I ONLY read them out loud to kids when I know we will have time to create our own imaginary worlds right afterwards 😍
They work well in small settings too, if you’re looking for some fun parent-child or family time activity.
A great book for those very young and/or just beginning to grasp the concept of cooperative intentional dramatic play, use it as a jumping off point for a conversation about pretending, giving each child the opportunity to demonstrate for the class how to pretend that he/she is something else, or inviting the children as a group to pretend they are something - show me how a horse runs! Don’t forget to shake your horse tail!
Shrink the conversation about pretending and focus on the collaborative pretending itself. Once the kids establish what they are pretending to be, assign a few of them to create a scene with each other. “What if Lisa’s princess and Davina’s froggie were in a garden together? What would they say to each other? What could they be doing?"
Figure out what a rumpus means to you - is it musical cacophony, a spooky surprise?
What would you dress up as if you were a mischievous little Max (do you have a white fox suit?), or if you were a wild thing - in what ways would you want to be wild? Would you have fur, feathers, teeth, claws, horns - and why?
Where would you travel in your boat - in and out of days and through a year - would it be a land full of candy or books, a giant playground? Would you take anything with you?
Discuss the concept of “setting”. Then it’s fun with banner paper! Roll it on out and do some collaborative illustration. Decide together on a rough story outline. Where do we go? How do we get there? What do we see there? Who do we meet?
You can either mark off the paper into sections to indicate “pages”, or for extra theater fun draw a few large pieces of scenery as backdrops for the awesome scenes you're about to improvise!
and the ❤️BEST BOOK EVER❤️📖...
Not a Stick
We use this as a blueprint for Not-A-[Thing], a game for absolutely any item. Go around the circle with an object. The more "neutral" the object, the better, i.e. something that has an identifiable shape but no labels, or better yet, something the kids are not familiar with the main purpose of (that net bag that holds avocados or clementines, unusual packing materials, large empty spools, etc). But it really works with anything. It’s not a scarf! It’s a hat/umbrella/picnic blanket/parachute/puppy dog... Just remind the kiddos to make sure to SHOW us what it is by acting it out, rather than tell us what it is with words!
If you are in the NYC area, we can bring these activities and more to you! Contact us to learn about our after school programs and in-school workshops!
Enjoy! And to make your hump day a little happier, we close with a short video and a free song....
BONUS! We have collaborated on an adorable song to go with these 2 books, and the Not-A-Thing circle activity. We're still working on our technological sophistication, but shoot us an email and we'll send you the song ASAP!
Bitty City Players offers theater and science enrichment through after-school programs, in-school workshops, and events for ages 1-10 in NYC.
Learn more about the organization and our team here.