Monsters: Friends or Foes?
Monster Month Begins…
As you might already know, this month is monster month at Buddings. We get to spend the entire month exploring monsters. We get to eat them, read about them, and most importantly, create them.
Historically, monsters have been quite terrifying, often grotesque to look at, and not necessarily the most friendly creatures. So why explore this topic with the kids at all?
Certainly the intention is not to frighten them or give them nightmares. Inevitably kids will learn about monsters, and often they don’t have a positive relationship with these imaginary creatures. I remember as a child, I would use my extremely vivid imagination to create the most terrifying monsters. I was convinced that these monsters were waiting outside my bedroom door, ready to burst in at any moment as soon as I closed my eyes…
Monsters under the bed, closet monsters, monsters in the basement: these are all common fears that young children have.
My intention with monster month, is to help the kids create a positive relationship to the monster world, and explore the imaginary world of monsters in a fun and playful way.
So, how have we been doing this?
We started by creating our own monster puppets. This allowed the kids to create, not just a monster, but a whole character with a name, personality and story. I gave them full creative control to create exactly the monster and character they wanted. The kids absolutely LOVED doing this and we have been returning to the puppets throughout the month, using the puppets to tell stories and have conversations.
After reading “Monster Mess” by Margery Cuyler and S.D. Schindler, each child created their own Buddings’ monster—a monster that lives at Buddings and, like the monster in “Monster Mess” does something helpful (such as cleaning), to contribute to our daycare.
Finally, we created our own exploding monster, seeing what happens when we mix just a few ingredients—vinegar, dish soap and baking soda. The kids were amazed by the frothing, foaming monster that didn’t seem to stop bubbling!
Monsters aren’t always scary. They can be our friends too! And we can be in control of how we create and interact with the world of monsters.