During the Covid crisis, no one was traveling, of course; most of us weren’t leaving our own homes. There still isn’t a lot of traveling, and many of us are still sticking close to the house. So I knew it would be a very claustrophobic time for little ones. No visits to relatives, no trips to Disney World, not even a day trip to the zoo, etc. I thought about how we could all take trips without leaving the house and came up with the various ways we could travel in our minds.
The first way to “move about the country” is, of course, through our books. I’ve emphasized the power of reading and imagination since we started recording GG Sprinkles, so I encouraged the little ones to use books to travel in their imaginations. Then I pulled out a box of sand and shells I had brought back from Virginia and talked about how souvenirs you bring back from a fun trip can remind you of the trip, and that’s another way to ‘travel.’ Then I showed some photo albums and went through some of my pictures—yet another way to travel in your mind. I like to encourage the kids to make something or show their creativity in some other way, while trying to be mindful of the fact that they likely need to work with what they already have on hand. I suggested that they draw or paint pictures from trips they have taken or want to take, either by looking at pictures from their trips and drawing those or using their own imaginations. I also suggested they think about making a travel poster all their own with pictures from trips real or imagined.
It’s not easy at any age to be so isolated even if you’re in a house full of siblings. Your reality is totally different from what you’re used to. In some countries, your backyard was the limit of your freedom. Charlie and his parents certainly experienced that for months during Italy’s lockdown. My YouTube channel reaches little ones outside U.S. borders, so I try to remember that we all can’t necessarily get in our cars and go for drives. The current realities vary from country to country. But none of us is limited in our imaginations; we can journey to wherever we wish. And if it helps to travel in our minds, I’m all for that. Lord knows I do it. ❤️
In this same video, just for fun, I read a poem I wrote about creating a shopping list for mommy and asked the kids what they would put on such a list. I channeled my little-girl self (not really a stretch!) and created my own list. This was just for a slightly lighter moment in the video. So, enjoy traveling in your mind and making a shopping list for mommy.
I’m a huge believer in two things: the wisdom and potential of our children and the importance of poetry and imagination in their lives and development. My teaching background is at the high school level, but my methods in the classroom ran high in interaction and whimsy, at least as much whimsy as preparation for state testing allowed. I have four young grandchildren, and I nannied a little boy for over four years from infancy, so I like to think I know children pretty well. And I used poetry to teach and inspire no matter what ages I was called to teach. Poetry takes very big ideas and boils them down to nuggets of wisdom more easily understood. And then there’s the rhyme, such a valuable asset to pre-reading and a great hook to pull the little ones into the poetry itself. The rhythm, cadence, and yes, the rhyme, all have value for kids. Even if the full meaning of the words eludes them a little, there is value in what they do process.
I have written and published two books of essays and poetry for teachers, but my greater joy came in writing poetry for children. I began a book of children’s poetry the day my first grandchild Samantha was born and fourteen years later I continue to add to it. I entitled it A Duck in the Sky, which comes from a discussion we had with Sam when she was just a toddler. We were talking about the meaning of life and Sam assured us that the meaning of life was, in fact, a duck in the sky. Fair enough, and a very good title. I never published my children’s book, although that will happen. But in the meantime came Covid and quarantine. I wanted to contribute something, to help entertain young children stuck at home, even if for only a few minutes at a time. So GG Sprinkles was born, someone who reads poetry and entertains with props, demonstrations, etc. Our videos began on a GG Sprinkles Facebook page, and shortly after that became a GG Sprinkles YouTube channel.
So we now have quite a few videos available and I continue to write poetry. I have learned a great deal about a lot of topics: fairies, zebras, angels, octopuses, birds, superheroes, blanket forts, dragons, space, buried treasure, planets, burping, puppets, trains, unicorns, kites, magic wands, and so much more. It has been a pure joy to do this for the kids. And, of course, I’m learning so much along the way. We intend to keep the videos coming as long as the poetry comes and the kids and parents are interested. We’d be delighted to have you come along with us as we explore new topics poetically and just have some fun. GG Sprinkles welcomes you to any of the videos you’d like to watch and further thoughts here on my blog. Enjoy!
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