Thursday, May 26, 2011

Play and Learn with Mama: Handa's Surprise Part 1

We had a whole week of fun with this lovely book near the end of summer, when most of the fruit in the story were in season and still plentiful. For the first time since my children's birth, though, we are really struggling with winter colds and flu, and the past month or so has been crazy, so I apologise for only getting around to posting about this now.

Handa's Surprise (we did the Afrikaans version, Handa se Verassing) is a beautifully illustrated book set in Kenya, that tells the story of a little girl named Handa, who decides to surpise her friend Akeyo with a basket full of delicious fruit. On the way to Akeyo's villiage various mischievous animals help themselves to the fruit in the basket on Handa's head, and by the time she delivers the gift to her friend, Handa is just as surprised as Akeyo to see what is inside the basket!

Here are some fun Handa-inspired activities we enjoyed: 

Making funny fruit faces courtesy of printables from Making Friends.

Practicing pre-writing skills with an apple push pin card from abc-teach. We used a piece of foam under the card and the stylus I bought from Nucleus Toys.

And one morning we had a ton of fun with apple-printing:

We printed and painted a branch from an apple tree (the sun's rays were printed using apple slices) 

Apple faces stick puppets. (While the children were enjoying lunch that afternoon, I put on an impromptu puppet show using these guys and the children laughed so much they had a hard time finishing their sandwiches)

We printed and coloured paper dolls from Making Friends and dressed them in cloth dresses. I then set up a little play scape for Sweetpea to use in retelling the story. The huts were toilet paper rolls cut in half, and we glued some packaging straw onto paper roofs.

Acting out the story with the paper dolls was such a hit, that we took it one step further and 'became' the characters ourselves! I bought the fabric that is wrapped around Sweetpea during a missions trip to Kenya in 2005 (the same trip on which I met my husband!). The animal masks were printed from Sparkle Box (see * below) and they are still a favourite plaything around here! (You can also download a full-colour version, but I had fun colouring ours myself). It was the first time I'd introduced masks into our play and the children were fascinated by it. Days later we were still acting out little conversations between the animals.

* Sparkle Box has an amazing collection of free Handa's Surprise resources to download and print, including a story pack, individual story cards, page banners and play dough mats to name just a few. Click on the link to visit their Handa page.

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