Imagination. It has to power that is limitless and such a tool for children. The Red Boat is a sweet story of a little girl who uses her imagination to overcome her fears and find joy. She finds courage through play as she “practices” working through her real life challenges.
Discussion: Facing Your Fears
Facing your fears is a common theme used by many storyteller. It is so vital for children to have the feeling of empowerment as they face the world! Knowing they are greater then their fear and challenges. The Red Boat gives a way for children to channel their imagination and use it as a tool. Have a discussion about a fear and role play the scenario. My little one freezes up when he has to talk to anyone “new”. Role playing talking to the life guard and asking to borrow a pair of goggles really seemed to help him. It can be done in a creative way, like the book models, or just straight forward and direct.
It is important for children to know that even adults get nervous and scared sometimes. Take this opportunity to share with your child a time when you were afraid or nervous. Tell them what you did to face your fear. Talk about tools that we can use when we are scared.
Maybe you know of a time when your child was scared or worried. If not ask them if they can think of a time when they were. Discuss the situation and how they handled it. If they could have handled it better retell the story with them using the new tools that they have to face their fears! What was the outcome? Was is different? What will they do next time they are scared?
Important to Note:
Children have a very hard time differentiating between the feeling of fear or anxiety and excitement. They invoke the same flight or flight response releasing the same hormones! You can talk to your child about their fears and discuss if they were feeling excitement or fear. Explain that sometime when you get an anxious feeling it may just be that you are excited! It’s good to try new things as long as you are safe.
Imagination Self Portrait
Use your imagination on this! Using a blank sheet of paper and what ever art supplies you have handy let your little one go to town and create a backdrop showing their “imagination”. Think symbols of interests, favorites, emotions, multi-media. Then print out a picture of them, cut it out to create their imagination self-portrait!
Make a Friend
In the story the little girl is worried about meeting their scary new neighbors, and how things will go at school. She uses her imagination to ‘practice’ meeting these scary creatures and through that is able to gain the confidence needed to make a new friend. A lot of growing up is just knowing expectations and how to be successful. Have a little chat over popcorn (or cookies) in the after nap hours about greeting and introducing yourself. What kind of questions do you ask? How do you respond? Role play? Have fun with it! You can wear silly hats, an apron, or sunglasses, just something to help them feel comfortable and keep the situation light.
Think about a neighbor that you don’t know and make a visit. Maybe take some of your remaining cookies and your smiles. Model for your child what to do as you make your new friend. Give them the chance to introduce themselves also asking the questions and giving the answers. When a situation arises where they have a new school, or have new friends to be made (like everyday at the park) remind them that they already know how to make friends and how easy it was to talk to your neighbor.
Power to Change Craft
I LOVE this craft! its so easy and so impactful! Make sure your children know THEY have the power to create change. THEY are the ones who can make a difference by overcoming their fears and growing!
- small canvas
- colorful sharpies
- rubbing alcohol
- tiny straws or tiny bubble dropper
Using a small canvas- (Michael’s has some cheap ones – especially with the 40% off coupon they have every week!) and colorful Sharpies have your little ones design whatever they want on the canvas, making sure to leave some white space and use different colors. Then using the small straw or dropper drip little drops of alcohol on the canvas, take it slow here and see how you can be the catalyst for change. YOU can create colors that weren’t there and TOTALLY create something new.
Apply this to your child’s life. How they can make a difference in someone else’s life by being a friend, being an example. How they have the power to change their own lives and things they may not be good at or like about themselves or their situations.