Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Following a Child's Lead: A Lesson in Art and Storytelling

We make stories we read come alive by using voices for each of the characters or by singing if the words are rhythmic enough.

With Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Little T devised her own way to make the story jump out of the pages. It was a case of mom receiving a lesson in art and storytelling from her four-year-old daughter.

Making Story Play Pieces

I only thought to make a cocoon and a butterfly as a learning extension for the very popular The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a story about a caterpillar that ate and ate and became a butterfly.

The cocoon

And the butterfly

But the fun we had staging a puppet show for Ask Mr. Bear apparently lingered on Little T’s mind and made her gasp and exclaim, “Mama! I have an idea! Let’s make all the food too and put on a show!”

I wanted to head to my laptop and look for ready-made printables. But I contained myself and followed her lead instead. For the next half-hour, we quietly worked together, drawing, coloring, and cutting all the food that the small caterpillar ate through. 

A Lesson for Mama

We took turns being the storyteller and puppeteer. We sang the song we learned from a free workshop by My Masterpiece Movement and accompanied ourselves with a tambourine: He ate through an apple, yum yum yum yum!

I learned my lesson that day. As much as we want to teach our children, they too have their own learning pursuits. They know what, when, and how they want to learn. Little T has never liked coloring books; but in making the story pieces, she colored with vigor and purpose and brought her vision to fruition.

Art is a process. I am glad that I know when to step back to let my child experience it, without any expectations of a “beautiful” outcome.  What was beautiful though was our time together making a simple story come alive for us.

Make magic!

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Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Hi Anne! It was really inspiring to watch kids direct their own play and learning :) Glad to have you here! :)

Anne @ GreenEggs&Moms said...

Great activity for the kiddos :) By the way, saw your blog on Mom Center :)