Celebrating East African Writing!
Galleria Mall, Saturday 15th Dec 11.00am-5.30am
The Storyhippo Family Fiesta was conceptualised following the success of the Storyhippo Village (kids area) at the Storymoja Hay Festival 2012. The kids area was packed with kids of all ages, all playing differently and experimenting with new play ideas. When children play, they remember. It is even more memorable when their parents are their play mates, after all, home is the first school.
The Family Fiesta provided an ideal opportunity for parents to bond together over a day of activities designed to challenge brainpower, creativity and teamwork. It was quite encouraging to see parents actively taking part in activities with their kids especially during the workshop sessions.
Children aged 0-6 yrs ooze so much energy that it often difficult to confine them in a single place for long. They are curious, inquisitive and love to work with their hands. Every experience is an opportunity to teach, and parents can start fostering valuable life skills from a young age.
The book ‘Little Thithinda And The Wind Game’ by Faith Gatimi is a storyabout a little tree that wants to fly like the butterflies and walk like animals in the forest. So her mother teaches her this special game that only trees can play.
Counseling Psychologist, Lucy Simiyu moderated a life skills training worshop, using “Thithinda’ as a point of reference. The children were taught how to appreciate their identity, more so to appreciate that we are all different hence may be limited by the things we can and cannt do.
As children approach the ‘middle years of childhood’ they often want to explore more with creativity and imagination. This is the right age for 6-9 yr olds to develop social skills. What better way to do this than learning how to draw illustrations. Dayan Masinde an artist, together with Storymoja’s very own Reeves Kibet, a professional illustrator had a fun workshop dubbed ‘The Matatu Art Jam’. The kids loved making their own illustrations depicting different expressions.
This activity is based on the character ‘Rasta’ from the book ‘Matatu from Watamu’ by Muthoni Muchemi. Rasta gradually came to life looking suprised, angry, happy, crafty and frightened, all with the stroke of a pen. And the coolest thing is that each child designed their very own book mark with the different faces of Rasta. How cool is this, different expressions for different days of the week!
The StorryhippoTreasure Hunt was quite a hit with the children. Scrolls containing leads to the clues were distributed prior to the activity. All clues were based on characters in Storymoja books, that the children were allowed to browse freely. Unknown to them, the clues had been well paced in the precincts of the kids play area at Galleria Mall. One particular child was so engrossed with the books that he took his time to read them all, cover to cover.
The children retrieved the clues and positively matched each clue with the book where respective characters were drawn from. This activity teaches children the value of team work and creative thinking.
‘The Sci-Fi Poetry and Song’ session was all about rythm and rhyme of words, sounds and language. So much enthusiasm was witnessed. All the children were bolt to experiment and play with words in a rhythmic manner. “ Dont spill on the couch; or you’ll be eaten by a grouch”. or “If you dont take your pet to the vet, you will loose your bet.’’…and much more. Exposure to poetry is the foundation to learning. From a simply play of words to expressing thoughts, feelings and emotions in prose.
The ‘Make and Take’ area was the ideal art studio for kids and their parents. This is where all the creativity oozed from the young mighty minds. Armed with varied creative ideas, teams of parents and children designed artefacts including paintings, photoframes in the most creative manner. For instance, who would think tongue depressants would make perfect photo frames?
Ever heard of a dance workshop? Well famous dancer ‘Boneless’, was on hand to show parents and their children just how to rock with the coolest dance moves. Finally the Storyhippo Blast was the final event for the day. This was a culmination of all activities of he day including storytelling, poetry performances and skits by parents and their children.
Families must set aside time for ‘family fun’ because its one of the opportunities to learn and grow together as families develop social skills.
Written by Akinyi Okulu.