TRC Read to Kids

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Read-Aloud Feature: Wild Animals

Team D at the Berkeley recently organized a “Wild Animal” themed Read-Aloud. All the kids present -- a wide range of ages -- had a blast reading animal books, making animal masks and getting their faces painted like their favorite animals.

  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
    • This old favorite got everyone in the mood for the evening’s theme. 
  • In the Wild by David Elliott
    • Lovely color woodblock illustrations accompany short poems for each animal.
  • Snarlyhissopus by Alan MacDonald
    • In this jungle version of the game “telephone,” a hippopotamus becomes a scary “Snarlyhissopus” in the wild imaginations of the other animals.
  • Elephants Can Paint Too! by Katya Arnold
    • Based on the author’s real-life experience teaching elephants in Thailand to paint, this book also presents fun facts (for example, elephants have 150,000 muscles in their trunks). 

The team prepared two activities to follow the Read-Aloud: face painting and mask making. Two volunteers began the face painting. While two children had their faces painted, the other volunteers helped the kids who were waiting their turns to create animal masks using crayons, markers and paper plates. Pictures from the books provided inspiration.

The team came prepared with the following supplies for face painting:
  • A pre-packaged set of face paints, which also included makeup pencils, sparkles and fake blood.
  • Sponges and paper towels. To keep things hygienic, separate sponges were used for each child. Brushes might be easier, but they need to be cleaned frequently.
  • Library books on face painting and color printouts of different ideas from the internet.

The volunteers tried to provide the kids with a limited number of options for animal faces. Although the theme was wild animals, other types of (easy) animals were encouraged. 

In the end the menagerie included a tiger, a couple of butterflies, three snakes, some rabbits, and a spider. One young man who requested a Spider-Man face agreed to be transformed into a puppy instead.

Recommendations for a face painting activity:
  • Ask permission of the site staff beforehand to make sure the activity is acceptable.  
  • Face painting can be time-consuming, especially with non-professional artists. Make sure you have a large volunteer team for this activity. Ask for additional volunteers from other teams to help out if needed.
  • Get photo releases for the kids beforehand and bring a camera. Make sure there is enough time for a photo session at the end. 

The kids loved getting their faces painted and liked the extra one-on-one attention from the volunteers.

To receive credit for this online training, please fill out the form here.

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