STORTYTELLING PARENT ADVENTURE
It’s Book Lover’s Day at my son’s preschool. Each class had its own storyteller parent who would read to the kids a book assigned by the teacher. Who was the assigned parent at Joshua’s class? Who else, me! Haha! And so the #storytelling parent adventure begins!
I was given the book to read a week before the event and it came with a note: “Please prepare an activity that is related to the storybook for the kids to do afterwards.” Oh my! It was one thing for me to read to a group of kids, quite another to have to think of an activity to go with it. Good thing my sister, Mia, was a teacher so she had some great ideas. Whew!
2 DAYS BEFORE: ACTIVITY IDEAS
The story book assigned to me was called “Zed The Zebra.” It was about a zebra who boasted that he was the fastest animal in all of Africa. But the other animals challenged him to a race, an obstacle course one. Turns out, Zed the zebra wasn’t very good at any of the obstacles while the other animals used their special abilities to go through each one. Finally, almost at the finish line, Zed admired himself in a watering hole while the others raced past him to the finish. He lost! But the others were magnanimous to say that “It didn’t matter if you win or lose. What’s important is you had fun.”
I sent a letter to Joshua’s teacher with the activity ideas I had that’s related to the story.
IDEA 1: The Race
Since the book was all about a race, Idea 1 had the kids put on animal headdresses of the book characters. They would race using animal actions in the book like, “Stomp like an Elephant,” etc.
IDEA 2: The Party
Since the book ended with the animals having a party after the race, Idea 2 had the kids still wear the animal headdresses. This time they would form a circle and when their animal name is called out, go to the center and do the animal actions in the book, “Run like a Zebra,” etc.
I received a note from the teacher and she chose Idea 2. She said that since the kids were already hyper, having them race in the room would only exacerbate the matter hehe.
THE DAY BEFORE: PREPS
I had to look for materials to make the props for the activity of my story book. It was also grocery day so I was able to get some goodies for the loot bags I was giving the kids after the activity.
Suffice to say that mommy made a “career” out of creating the props and loot bags haha! I started working on them at 4pm by scanning the book characters for the headdresses and loot bag labels, printing, cutting, sticking, and tying ribbons. I ended at 10pm! Good thing I had the help of Ate Joy, our house help, or else I would end up sleepless that night hehe!
THE DAY: STORYTELLING DAY
It’s pajamas to school today! Since it’s storybook day, the kids were told to come to school in pajamas. Of course, mommy decided to come in pajamas, too hehe! We brought Joshua to school as usual but this time, Ate Irene (Joshua’s nanny) and I were ushered to the conference room to “hide” with the other storyteller parents. Joshua had no idea that his mama was part of his “Fun Friday” school activity.
I had a chance to chat with the other parents and I was surprised that each one really made a “career” of preparing for this activity. One had a basket of veggies as props while another even printed out the book pages on illustration boards and had a pointer made from their old TV antenna haha! I guess it goes to show, parents are really serious about ensuring the success of their children’s activities… Or else, it’s their heads on the chopping board haha!
KIDS’ FUN FRIDAY PERFORMANCE
Out came the preschool kids from all levels to the social hall. Although we were hidden in the conference room, we still had a window where we could see them. We were surprised when the kids sang the Philippine National Anthem… Chinese style haha! Well, they were all muttering the lyrics so badly and inventing new words that they sounded Chinese to us.
Then my son’s level came to the front to perform an action song which I had never heard or seen before. All the other kids were doing the actions and singing while my son… turned into a statue! Well, he very well could have been one because he had his head bowed down and didn’t move a muscle the whole time haha! Stage fright oh no!
After all the other levels had performed, the host announced that they had special guests to do a storytelling time with them. That’s us! One by one, we were called out of the room to say “Hi” to the kids at the social hall. I was first… Joshua’s jaw dropped in surprise. I’m sure his thought bubble was, “That’s my mama! What is she doing here?”
But then I saw that his eyes started to tear up, he was crying. Why? Maybe because I didn’t go to him and he wasn’t allowed to leave the group to come up to me. Frustrated tears, poor baby! I was told later on that he ended up crying some more when I turned and left the room. Awww!
I had my props and loot bags ready in Joshua’s classroom. The kids were seated on the floor in their proper places while I was seated in a small plastic chair in front of them. It’s storytelling time!
Since I practiced a few times how to read the book and use different voices on each character, reading “Zed The Zebra” was a breeze. Funny how some kids would interrupt me mid-sentence with questions like, “Is that a triceratops?” referring to the rhino in the book. Followed with, “Like a dinosaur?” Of course, I had to expound on each character and the story and made them repeat some words to make sure the kids understood them.
Meantime, Joshua was still crying boohoo! He hiccuped his way through the storytelling time. I tried not to give him special attention to be fair to the other kids. But I think all he wanted was not to share his mama with the other kids. Being an only child and having our very own sacred “Read A Book” time at home, he didn’t like that his mama was entertaining the other kids. But I forged on so he would get used to the idea that mama was there for school and not to cuddle with him. After awhile, he calmed down and settled in.
The kids were made to choose their animal characters headdresses at random. The teachers were surprised that I also made headdresses for them to wear hehe. I also wore one! Now on to the activity!
I gave Teacher Gen, Joshua’s main teacher, a piece of paper with the animal actions written on it as guide. She would be the one to call out the actions so the kids would surely follow her. I played the dance music, “Geronimo,” to get the kids going. Teacher Gen was magnificent as the “action caller” because she would do the actions herself so the kids would follow her. Me? I followed, too haha! Wow, everyone was dancing!
Well, almost everyone had a great time dancing… Joshua didn’t participate. He wouldn’t even wear the animal headdress. I guess he still didn’t like it that mama wasn’t giving him special attention. My only consolation? Another classmate of his was out of sorts and didn’t participate as well.
LOOT BAG TIME
At the end of the dancing activity, it was loot bag time! The kids were totally surprised to receive individual loot bags. But I was more surprised when Teacher Gen told the kids, “Remember what we do with our loot bags? We open them only when we get home. So we’ll put them in our cubbyholes first.” Wow! Talk about teaching the kids high EQ! And the kids followed her. (I gotta get me some of that “teacher magic!”)
I was glad I also prepared a gift for the 2 teachers: Self-inking stamps which they could use for their class. They were really surprised to get some “loot” as well hehe. Well, they worked hard making the activity a success so they deserved a prize.
After the giving of loot bags, I was surprised to be given my own prize: A certificate of appreciation from the school for being the storyteller parent of the day. Yehey! Then they took some group pictures with the kids.
We were then asked to go back to the conference room with the other parents. They served us snacks for our hard work hehe. Funny how we all congratulated each other for successfully accomplishing our book reading as if it was some herculean task. We compared stories and funny anecdotes of our storytelling experience. Then it was photo-op time!
By the way, did I mention that my phone camera conked out just before we went to school that day? I transferred all the pictures into my laptop to clear the phone memory. I was surprised that the camera still wouldn’t work because of no memory space, yikes! So my sister lent me her digital camera so we could take some pics of this “momentous” occasion. Too bad the battery conked out midway through my storytelling time so we still didn’t have pics of the dancing activity time, ayayay! Major frustration for a blogger!
GOING HOME TIME
Since we ended quite close to dismissal time, we decided not to go home anymore and just wait for Joshua to come out. My, my, my, Joshua’s class came out wearing the animal headdresses I made! Yipee they really liked it! It made all the hardwork and effort pay off.
When we got home, Joshua didn’t want to take off his animal headdress and insisted that I wear mine as well. Then he goes retelling the story of “Zed The Zebra” and naming the animals in the story. Then he tells his aunts that there were a lot of mommies in school, there was dancing and loot bags, etc. NOW he likes all of it! Haaay! Goes to show, he was really paying attention all along. Threenagers!
- Always say, “Yes!” when your child’s teacher asks you to do something for school. Even though you don’t feel well equipped to perform it, you’ll always find a way to do it. This bodes well for your parent-teacher relationship and reflects on your child’s reputation for having the “coolest mom.”
- Prepare as early as possible your needed materials and activities. Cramming is never good.
- Be creative! As a mom to a preschooler, creativity is key when performing tasks for school.
- Enlist all the support you can get in preparing and performing your task. A little help goes a long way.
- Loot bags and prizes are always a good idea to include in a school activity.
- Surprising a 3-year old in school is probably not a very good idea. You still need to prepare them or to at least give them a mindset of what to expect or what to do during activities in school.
- Ignore your crying child. Whew! It’s really tough to do but sometimes you have to do it to teach them a lesson.
- Practice, practice, practice! I spent too much time preparing the props that I almost forgot to practice reading the story book. So even with all the kids distracting me from the story, I was still able to carry out my job and finish it with flying colors. (Though I did stumble a bit with the name of the rhino… For the life of me, I couldn’t remember it. Amnesia moment haha!)
- Don’t undermine the capabilities of a 3-year old. They can grasp a situation and learn from it even if you think they aren’t paying attention.
- Have fun! Parents will always make a “career” of making a school activity a success but don’t forget who it was meant for: Kids. So be like a kid and have fun!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU:
- Do you make a habit of having a story telling time with your kids?
- Have you tried making a fun and creative activity related to the book afterwards?