I’ve been feeling a little blue about Story Seekers recently. Most of this is down to a lack of time to actually *do* most of the things I’d like to do, but a lack of time is something that afflicts nearly everyone so really it’s something I just need to get over and stop fretting about (I find that a rousing chorus of the Fireman Sam theme tune with C and H usually helps, or failing that, I give myself a large poke with one of the many random sticks / xylophone beaters / pretend hoses we have lying around).
It’s probably not interesting or relevant for me to list the rest of the many Story Seekers-related worries I have, but the one I’m focusing on here is something that’s bothered me for ages and for some reason always makes me feel like I’m failing as a parent and a Story Seeker. I’m Just Not That Good At Crafts. There. I said it. I gather that admitting there’s a problem is the first step, so perhaps things will improve from now on…
Though I suppose I would call myself creative in some ways, I am most definitely not artistic or nifty with a knitting needle. I am also not that great with mess. I desperately try to overcome these things for the sake of the boys and they do both at least enjoy colouring and sticking things. However, beyond that I feel a bit limited. I see many book blogs with people sharing all the amazing crafts they’ve undertaken linked to their favourite books, but at the moment the bare-faced truth is that even when I do attempt to recreate these things, C and H are not actually that bothered.
There could be many reasons for this. Clearly, my own lack of crafting confidence will play a part, but it still remains the case that C and H would much rather do many other things before they’ll sit and make imaginary creatures out of loo rolls. These things include:
– pretending to be Fireman Sam
– pretending to be any member of the emergency services
– pretending to be dinosaurs
– pretending to look after their soft toys
– pretending to do just about anything
– ‘reading’ to each other and to their toys (in inverted commas because neither of them can officially read yet)
– eating (this is probably their bestest and most favourite thing to do EVER).
I’m really happy that they enjoy imaginary play so much and that books and stories are a big part of their lives. I have no daughters, so I’m not in a position to comment on whether their current emphasis on very physical play is a gender thing or just down to their individual personalities. As long as they’re happy, I’m happy.
So in terms of other non-crafty ways to expand on the stories we read, we often act them out and then perhaps come up with new endings, or maybe build scenes from the stories using Playmobil characters. Every so often we’ll make food linked to stories we’re enjoying. We do an AWFUL lot of talking about stories and discussing them, so we are are getting ‘good value’ out of the stories that way even if there is no tangible output at the end of it all.
My worry is just that, if and when I ever start up Story Seekers classes / workshops / events, I will probably have to get a lot more into crafts and things. Whilst the main aim of the sessions will be to share a love of reading and encouraging children and families to enjoy books in whatever way they choose, clearly there are some practical limitations I’ll have to consider. These will rule out such C and H favourites as ‘sliding down the Mummy pole’ (not *quite* as dodgy as it sounds – I merely have to let them use my leg as fireman’s pole while they launch themselves off the windowsill……….) and crashing multiple vehicles into each other to create ’emergencies’. We’ll therefore have to tend towards more manageable crafty activities, so I’m going to have to get at bit braver about it all – chin up, chest out and all that. All this is also to say nothing of what I’ll need to dream up for the babies and very young toddlers group, as I’m guessing they won’t be bothered about either crafts OR drama in the way that I’m using the terms here…
Having such a long time before I can get Story Seekers going is hard in lots of ways (though I’d never want to sacrifice this time with the boys) but for me personally, having so long to think and plan is actually boggling my mind a bit too much, hence this somewhat rambling post. It’s inspiring and scary in equal measure to come across so many great people, blogs and organisations fighting the good fight to promote reading for pleasure and it’s easy to let myself feel insignificant and unnecessary, but hey, I’m sure everyone questions themselves sometimes, right? Right? I’ll avert my eyes from the tumbleweed blowing across the floor…
Anyway, I’d be really interested to hear about how other people bring stories to life (but would secretly also like to hear from anyone else who feels that crafting is outside their comfort zone 😉 )