little bug

A Garden of Stories

April 5, 2017
Written by Johanna

Good stories are timeless. And yet some stories are more suited to certain times. In order to more deeply understand and feel a story, sometimes the right context is necessary.

Often, in the busy-ness of life, we can forget to give time to stories. To our own stories, and to the stories that may not come from us, but that add richness and meaning to our lives.

Kids, if we encourage them, love giving time to stories. They will listen to the same story over and over and over again. Last Big Kids Club season, we told the story of Aladdin every Monday for three months, and the kids never tired of it! In fact, it worked so well to stay with one story, that I never got to dive into the second Arabian Nights tale that I had planned.

Luckily, there’s a new season beginning, and it comes at the perfect time for our next story…

Welcome (again) to the Arabian Nights! Our new story, “The Singing Tree”, comes from the Barefoot Books version of The Arabian Nights tales.

And this season, the season of spring, is the perfect time to tell it. Much like the story of Aladdin, there are many magical elements to this story. It also follows the archetypal hero’s (or heroine’s) journey. In this case there is a special quest that the Princess must undertake, involving a speaking bird, a singing tree and golden water.

I love this story for two main reasons. One, is that it features a female protagonist, the princess who completes the quest in the end, even when her brothers cannot. And two, because it weaves together magic and nature.

To me, nature is inherently magical, and although this story depicts the magic of nature in a more fantastical way, it brings it to life and reminds us of nature’s wisdom. And what better season to celebrate nature’s wonders than the season that brings nature back to life?

This Monday’s BKC season will be all about the magic of nature, and using this magic to help our story’s heroine complete her quest!

This week we’ll be starting off our adventures on a neighbourhood walk, using our own superpower listening skills with the help of Paul Showers’ book, “The Listening Walk” (click the title to hear the story).

If your child loves stories, magic and nature, book them in on Monday afternoons from 1-4pm, as our garden of stories continues! Here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come…

April 3 – A Neighbourhood Listening Walk

April 10 – “The Singing Tree” begins…

April 17 – Our Own Magic Speaking Birds

April 24 – The Quest Begins: Turning to Stone

May 1 – The Quest Continues: Our First Task

The Genie of Imagination

March 22, 2017
Written by Johanna

It’s almost time to say goodbye to… “The Genie of the Lamp!”

But wait Genie, have you granted all of our wishes yet? And what happens at the end of the story?

Unfortunately we didn’t have 1001 Nights to tell the story of Aladdin and the infamous Genie of the Lamp! Perhaps we missed a few small details in the story, but we certainly had a lot of fun along the way, and the genie made some of our wishes come true.

After all, aren’t stories all about the journey anyway? What’s the point of telling them if you’re just trying to get to the end?

One of the things I most loved about this season’s Big Kids Club Monday class, was how well the kids got to know the story and become a part of it. Although we didn’t make it all the way to the end, we did succeed in making the story come to life, and our imaginations were enriched in the process.

The kids helped me find the life in the story by using big voices to dramatize certain parts, like “The Genie of the Lamp!”, and the way the mean magician laughed, “Muahahaha!”. They would scratch their chins at thoughtful parts of the story and play the magic chimes whenever something magical happened (which was a lot of the time). We also used art to bring the story to life with genie puppets, sand art and wish collages, and by painting a large cardboard castle, a colorful creation for our story’s hero and heroine.


My favorite field trip of the season was our adventure down to Granville Island to visit The Crystal Ark.

Here we got to imagine we were entering into Aladdin’s secret cave, full of magic gems, where we each had to find our own special gemstone to place inside the wish-granting bowl.

We even discovered a genie and a lamp on our way! (You’ll see his picture at the top of the page).

With all these successful adventures under our belts, and our imaginations stretched to new magical limits, we’ll be ending this season’s Big Kids Club with a final telling of our story (no doubt our most dramatic yet), as well as some final touches to our colorful palace.

Join us from 1-4pm on Monday to have one last adventure with The Genie of the Lamp!

Magic – It’s What Binds it all Together

February 20, 2017
Written by Johanna

Magic! It’s what brings mystery and sparkle to life, and it’s what our Monday Arabian Nights classes have been all about!

Luckily, kids are bundles of magic, and have not yet learned that there (supposedly) is no such thing as magic. 

This open perspective, in which anything is possible, is particularly helpful when telling stories that involve a high degree of fantasy, genies, magicians and hidden realms…

Phew! 1001 Nights is a lot of nights, and thankfully we don’t have to wait that long to get to the end of our story. That being said, we’re more than half-way through this BKC season, and not even half-way through our story of Aladdin. There’s a lot to it, and there’s so much to explore along the way!

The story itself is a magical and interactive journey, complete with moving characters, actions, genie puppets, magic chimes and special helpers. I can understand the pressure the princess in the Arabian Nights tales might have felt, as keeping her stories interesting was what was keeping her alive from one day to the next! Two and three year olds are also no easy audience, and I sure to have to get creative and keep things engaging if I want to maintain their interest. Luckily getting creative for them also keeps the story fresh for me. And the more they get to re-tell and interact with the story, the more they learn from it.

If you’ve been bringing your kids to Buddings for a while, you may already know by now that I LOVE stories! I don’t know how many blog posts I’ve written about the magic and enchantment of storytelling, but I really REALLY love stories. And especially telling stories with kids. You can do just about anything when you start with a story, and everything in life is given meaning in the context of a story. So stories are my jumping-off point for just about everything I do at Buddings. And there are so many ways to make stories come to life!

If this is not something you do at home, I highly encourage you to try it. Pick a story, any story, and turn it into an experience. Of course, storytelling done right is already a rich experience, but why not take it further?

Just about any good story lends itself to a slew of science, art, drama and experiential activities. 

After making genie puppets and genie lamps using sand art, we tried our hand at an exploding science potion. Magic unfolding right in front of our eyes!

All you need is a few simple ingredients:

1) Vinegar

2) Food colouring

3) A dollop of dish soap

4) Magic sparkles (the secret ingredient)

5) A hefty scoop of baking soda

Make up a spell, mix it all together (adding the baking soda last), and watch the magic explode, froth and bubble before your eyes.

But the story isn’t over yet! There’s lots more to come.

Check out our Arabian Nights window next time you’re at the daycare, and sign your child up on a Monday afternoon for story magic! Here’s another sneak peek…

Join us for our upcoming adventures:

Feb 27 – An Arabian Nights Feast

March 6 – Beatty Biodiversity Museum Fieldtrip – earth’s magic

March 13 – Building Castles – What would your castle look like?

March 20 – Granville Island Fieldtrip

March 27 – A Story Scavenger Hunt

Arabian Nights and Storytelling Magic

January 8, 2017
Written by Johanna

Everyone knows the story of Aladdin, right? Well, put more accurately, most people in North America know the Disney version of Aladdin. And, to be fair, what a fun story it is! Who wouldn’t be delighted by Robin Williams’ enthusiasm and energy as a big blue cartoon genie?

But the magic and mystery of the story goes much further back than Disney’s 1990s cartoon version of the ancient tale. And it isn’t quite as they tell it in the Disney version…

The story is connected to a compilation of folktales from the Middle East and South Asia that were recorded as One Thousand and One Nights. Originally written in Arabic, the compilation of stories is introduced in the context of a Persian queen who is trying to avoid being executed by her husband, the king. She tells him fascinating tales night after night, leaving him always wanting to hear more, and therefore, avoiding her execution.

Wow! What a clever queen! Her ability to keep the king from executing her by telling stories really speaks to the universal power of storytelling.

Interestingly, as I discovered in my internet research, Aladdin was not actually one of the original stories contained in One Thousand and One Nights, but somehow the story made its way via travelers to the Middle East into the European editions. It has fascinated readers ever since!

And it is with this story that we will begin our Monday adventures into a world of castles, sorcerers, love and magic.

Much like the queen in One Thousand and One Nights, we will move through the story slowly, not to avoid execution (phew!), but to heighten anticipation and stop for our own adventures along the way. Plus, the kids will have to help Aladdin on his journey, as we will discover that he has many obstacles to overcome. If we’re lucky, we might find a bit of our own magic too.

Join me, Aladdin, a genie or two, and a sorcerer for Monday’s Arabian Nights Magic!

Here’s a sneak peek of our upcoming Monday schedule:

Jan 9 – Aladdin and his magic Lamp

Jan 16 – Field Trip : A Seabus Scavenger Hunt

Jan 23 – Genie Puppets : Everyone needs a genie!

Jan 30 – Wish collages : What would you wish for?

Feb 6 – Field Trip : Charleson Park Magic Mission

Feb 13 – Making Magic Potions

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