little bug

Bringing Worlds to Life

November 13, 2016
Written by Johanna

The magic of make believe continues every Monday in our Big Kids Scripts and Stages class, as we delve into new ways of bringing imagination to life.

While we began this season by dressing up in costume and embodying the characters ourselves,we are now exploring characters and storytelling through puppets!

Puppets are a great way to help kids practice drama and characterization, because they are their own separate entities! A puppet can talk on its own, move on its own, and even have its very own thoughts and feelings. You can have a conversation with a puppet and make a friend out of a puppet (see puppet selfie for proof!).

Kids are often fascinated with puppets and how they can appear so animated and alive. Even a hand can be a puppet if you are convincing enough in your delivery.

In our last couple of Monday classes we have continued to read this season’s story of focus, ‘The Very Cranky Bear’, animating the characters with our own home-made puppets. Last week we even brought the puppets on a bit of an adventure to the Mt. Pleasant Public Library, where our puppets took to the stage.

Parents, if you didn’t respond to my last call to action to re-create your own drama class at home, why not try your hand at puppetry instead (no pun intended…)!

Again, all you have to do is pick a story and act it out with as much drama and excitement as you can muster. Then grab a couple of paper bags, construction paper and some googly eyes or buttons, et voilà!

Step 1: Dramatic Reading

Step 2: Voilà! Paper Bag Puppets!

You can make just a couple of characters, or, if you’re feeling ambitious, make the whole cast! A perfect adventure for a rainy day.

Plus your kids can learn to view the world differently, through the eyes of a puppet, by imagining what their new puppet friend might be thinking and feeling. Engaging in this way can foster empathy, along with a whole lot of imagination.

Happy creating and bringing worlds to life through the eyes of a puppet!

Have any puppet selfies from your adventures? Don’t hesitate to send them along to!

Playing ‘Make Believe’: How to Roar like a Bear

October 3, 2016
Written by Johanna

“Roar, went the cranky bear. Roar, Roar, Roar!! He gnashed his teeth and stomped his feet and chased them out the door!”

This line is from Nick Bland’s book “The Very Cranky Bear”, and it has been the inspiration for some of Monday’s most terrifying theatrics!

Monday’s Scripts and Stages class is all about drama and storytelling, and the kids have been having a blast dressing up like different animals and bringing “The Very Cranky Bear’s” jungle world to life. Thanks to some generous donations of costume supplies from Mt. Pleasant community members, and some ideas for theatre games from one of Budding’s actor dads, we’re well equipped to expand our skills and to take playing make believe to a whole new level.

Speaking of make believe… what Monday’s drama class has helped remind me of, is how real ‘make believe’ is to a child. Even if they know on some level that they’re not really a bear, a child gives herself fully to the experience of the moment. A child isn’t thinking “okay, now I’m going to pretend to be a bear…what does a pretend bear do?”. In taking on the role of ‘bear’, a child is actually fully committed to the reality of being a bear. They put on a bear mask or start to roar, and they’re not pretending to be a bear, they ARE a bear. What’s more fun than that? And it sure makes for a fantastic drama class when the actors are really committed to their roles. Gosh adults, we sure have a lot to learn from our children.

Lights, camera, action!

The stage is set (check out our big jungle trees!), and I get to play at being director (notice the beret and megaphone), while the suitcase on the stage acts as our dress-up treasure chest. Here’s how it goes…

Step 1: Say hello to everyone! Usually in song…

Step 2: Practice playing make believe! While the drum plays, the kids get to move around like an animal, when the drum stops, the kids have to freeze. This encourages them to think about how animals move differently than people. Does this animal have a heavy or light body? Does this animal move quickly or slowly? What sound does this animal make? Is it a loud or a quiet sound?

Step 3: Read the story in a dramatic way! The kids help me fill in certain parts, especially the rhyming words.

Step 4: Dress up and act it out! Everyone gets to play a different role and help act out the story. Sometimes the story stays the same as it is in the book, often it morphs and changes into a whole new story…

Okay parents, here’s your take home assignment!

Repeat steps 1-4 at home!

Or at least practice playing make believe (trust me, this is more for you than it is for your kids…they will help you remember how to play).

Pick a favourite story, read it with your child and then act it out! You don’t even need costumes, although no doubt you’ve got plenty of things lying around the house that could double as a prop or costume. Mostly, you just need an open mind and a willingness to be silly.


Oops, did I scare you…?

Happy playing everyone!

Drama, drama, drama…Monday is all about Scripts and Stages!

September 5, 2016
Written by Johanna

Monday’s Scripts and Stages class is all about, you got it, scripts and stages!

Working with kids often necessitates a bit of a dramatic flair, and if you’ve been around Buddings for a while, you might be aware of my love for puppetry, dramatic storytelling and the creative arts. Monday’s Scripts and Stages class is going to bring all these things together, by exploring different ways of expressing characters and stories.

Every week, I will act as the director, and guide the kids through a dramatic storytelling activity. Dressing up, making puppets, yoga stories–these are just some of the ways we will explore expression and storytelling from different angles.

The first story we will work with is a Buddings favourite. “The Very Cranky Bear”, by Nick Bland is a fun and lively story that deals in particular with emotions and compassion. Not to mention, all the characters are animals, so the kids will all get to dress up as their favourite animal to act it out.  

While we explore the ins and outs of what makes great storytelling, we’ll also be piecing together what it takes to put a production together. Stage building, costumes, puppet-making, marketing and script writing, are some of the other aspects of performance that we’ll be working on.

Each week, we’ll be adding to our ‘golden script’, the script that I’ll co-write with the children that will be the building block for our final stage production.

In the last month of the season, we’ll be finalizing the script, getting costumes together and rehearsing the show for our big production! You’re all invited to come watch, so stay tuned for the info as the date approaches…

With some field trips to local libraries planned, as well as a special guest presenter–one of our local Vancouver talents–this season is shaping up to be full of fun! Join us on Mondays to experience the drama!

Scripts and Stages

August 23, 2016
Written by Talia

The story lines are still in pieces, and we’ll need to create costumes. In fact, the stage directions are a bit confusing, and if this production is going to be ready by the end of the fall season, Johanna Peters and the Big Kids on Mondays will have to get straight to work!

This season, Johanna is taking a behind the scenes look at the elements that go into live story-telling. They’ll be practicing their acting, playing with puppets, and on opening night, the house will be packed! Of course you’re invited!

It happens Mondays from 1 – 4pm!

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