We are celebrating a very special boy’s 6th birthday around these parts today. My husband and I stopped by his kindergarten class this afternoon to read a story — The Grouchy Ladybug, by Eric Carle — and to do a craft. The craft involved making ladybugs (of various temperaments) out of paper plates.
One of the things corporate speaking has taught me is, whenever possible, I shouldn’t wing it. Sometimes things go well when you wing it, but if you plan things out beforehand, they’ll likely go even better. So I didn’t wing things with this audience, either. I practiced reading through The Grouchy Ladybug several times, memorizing the little repeating dialogue (“Hey, want to fight?” “If you insist!”) so I could look at the kids and show the book’s pictures around. As for the craft, we’d originally wanted to make various animals out of these bendy sticks (somewhat like pipe cleaners), but during a dry run the other night, our nanny figured out that wasn’t going to work. On to plan B — her suggestion of paper plate lady bugs, with little circles and faces the kids could glue on. She and I both spent some time cutting those out last night.
This afternoon, an hour before we hit the classroom, we counted out all the dots and plates, and realized the “sticks” we planned to use — to make the paper plates into puppets — weren’t going to support the weight of a paper plate. So we cut strips from some Amazon boxes instead.
As a result of all this prep, fortunately, the reading went great! I invited the kids to shout out the dialogue with me once they memorized it, and they got really into it. There were also several creative interpretations of the ladybug project — different colors, dots in different places, and some re-purposing of our cardboard strips as antennae. The kids all took their paper plate puppets to the rug and waved them in the air as they sang happy birthday to my son. He had a blast, and so did we. Happy 6th Birthday buddy!