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An Artful Gang of Girls Turns Me Upside-Down!

Doing art in a group can be so much fun and rejuvenating, we experienced this past Saturday. It was a perfect setting for Pari and her girls gang to explore a new dimension to their friendship, as they sat around our dinner table giving shape and colours to their imagination.

Their being together was further enriched when I did a storytelling session after the art activity. The inspiration for this came from my friends at Pratham Books. When they invited me to champion their endeavour to spread the joy of reading, I couldn't say no knowing how much fun this will be for the girls. Besides, I immediately saw this as an extension to an artful afternoon with Pari and her friends.

If you don't know about Pratham Books; they are a non-for-profit organization that publishes storybooks for children at affordable prices, in multiple Indian languages, including English.

This initiative of Pratham Books was to celebrate International Girl Child's Day that was on Sept. 24, Saturday. For this, they created an illustrated storybook in 4 languages, in just 2 days —  by an all-women team. Once the storybook was done, they nominated people from around the world as "champions" to spread the joy of reading. We, the champions, were e-mailed PDF version of the book to conduct storytelling sessions in our cities – based on their book. You can download the 'Upside-Down' story over here in any of the four languages – English, Hindi, Marathi or Kannada. It's free and it's lot of fun.

I decided to display the story on our big flat screen TV. The PDF format is not compatibe with TV. So, my hubby helped by taking pictures of each page of the PDF file (while it was open on my laptop) with his mobile. We then connected the mobile to the TV. The big interface made the viewing really pleasant.

Since their story is based on a little girl's imagination of an upside-down world, we based our own art session on the same theme.

We first brainstormed (and laughed like mad!) the various scenarios of a topsy turvy or 'Ulta Pulta' (in Hindi) world. The kids came up with hilarious ideas, which you can see interpreted in their artwork too.

  •  An animal taking a man for a stroll
  • A fish fishing out a human being
  • Flying cars, somersaulting birds
  • Upside down trees so the kids can pick their fruits at ground level
  • Kids doing hand-stands in the air

The three hours flied past in a jiffy. This little girl, named Aroo, never wanted to go back home!

During storytelling, there's a scene (from the book) where a magical transformation is shown using the words – Abra Ka Dabra, Gili Gili, Gilli Gillii, Jumba. At this point, I asked them one by one and then – all together – to yell out this mumbo-jumbo to evoke their magical powers and turn me upside down.  

It was a only a matter of few moments of hesitation before the air was exploding with their full-throated echo. And, my lack of exercise that morning was more than compensated with the much vigorous bodily shaking and drama to ultimately turn upside down. 

On the one hand, the kids almost believed that they had acquired magical powers. And, on the other, they were themselves rolling with laughter at the sight of this otherwise sober adult monkeying around like crazy. The hubby, who was clicking all this while, gave up finally as there was no way he could have focused and captured this earth-shattering show! Phew..!

Only when the phone started ringing with parents wanting to know what's going on, did we realize it's time to disperse.

But, we're meeting again – and soon. I think it'll be a great idea to have this gang of girls meet often to indule in such pure artful fun combined with storytelling. May be even a few dance moves (gimme a chance to dance, baby)!

What group activity do your kids enjoy?

What group activity do YOU enjoy with your friends?!

As of me, I confess I LOVE dancing when we get together. 

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Barb September 26, 2011, 1:25 pm

    Loved their drawings!!! Talented!!!

  • Rashmie Jaaju September 26, 2011, 6:38 pm

    Thank you for stopping by. Yeah, aren’t they creative?! Wow, these kids – they never fail to amaze and inspire me.

  • Lesley @ early play September 27, 2011, 1:05 am

    Love the colours and the art work and what a great storytelling idea. Everyone looks so involved and happy

    • Rashmie Jaaju September 27, 2011, 3:41 am

      Welcome to Mommy Labs and thank you for stopping by.
      Glad you liked the artwork made by the kids. The storytelling was so much fun. :)

  • Natalie September 27, 2011, 6:14 pm

    These drawings are lovely! What a wonderful imagination every child showed. Very pretty!

    • Rashmie Jaaju September 28, 2011, 4:38 am

      Yeah, I was amazed myself how imaginative these kids are and how efficiently were they able to put their visuals onto paper.

      It was interesting for me to note that perhaps the subject itself gave much fuel to their imagination. After all, an upside-down, topsy-turvy world is what the child’s imaginative world is made of..!
      Thanks Natalie, for stopping by. :)

  • Rachelle | TinkerLab September 28, 2011, 3:51 am

    Rashmie, you are cracking me up! I wish I could have been there myself to see you flip yourself upside down. Too bad we live so far away from one another!

    • Rashmie Jaaju September 28, 2011, 4:43 am

      Good to see you here. :)
      That event was flippin’ awesome and the flip-act – Gosh – I never thought I would do until that moment! I tell you – these kids – their company is risky! Within moments we start talking, walking and jumping just like them. Ha!

      Yeah, too bad dear we live so far away. I love the experiments you do with your kiddos and would love being in your company!

  • Chhavi September 28, 2011, 4:48 am

    Such wonderful artwork by kids! I call these little ones ‘tireless souls’…give them anything that they find interesting and then…theres no stopping!

    • Rashmie Jaaju September 28, 2011, 5:26 am

      Chhavi – so true! Give them something that lets them be and play without restrictions and they will shine!
      Glad you liked their artwork. As they were finishing one by one, I started putting them up on the fridge and I could see how proud and satisfied they felt seeing their artwork being displayed.
      But when they left, I gave their artwork back. The very next day they decided that our next theme would be ‘fairytales’! I’m excited!
      Thanks, Chhavi, for sharing your thought. :)

  • maggy, red ted art September 28, 2011, 4:47 pm

    Sounds like a really fun story and can see how you may have had lots of fun coming up with crazy upside down stories and pictures!

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


  • Vicky September 28, 2011, 9:46 pm

    This is so colorful, happy and full of life. I love it! I am a new follower from Red Ted Art. Vicky @ http://www.messforless.net

  • Jenika September 29, 2011, 12:30 am

    Hi Rashmie,
    I love your blog and follow it regularly! We recently did the sensory rice craft at home and my daughter loved it!
    I write a blog called Whirls and Twirls Around the World (http://whirlsandtwirls.blogspot.com). I write about the projects that my daughter and I do together, focusing on different places in the world. Each month we pick a country and then we read picture books; go to local cultural events; do crafts, cooking, and music projects; and think of ways to give back to our global community. So far we’ve done Peru, Malaysia, Kenya, and China and we’ll be “visiting” India next month.
    I would love to do some kind of collaborative post with you, if you’re up for it. We’re already planning on linking up to some of your great ideas for India-focused crafts.
    Thanks for all of your creative inspiration!

    • Rashmie Jaaju September 29, 2011, 5:01 am

      Dear Jenika,
      Thank you so much dear for following our blog and connecting here. I am so happy you did the rice craft art. I just came back from your blog and saw the pictures. They are beautiful.

      Your around-the-world journey of learning through art/craft/cooking/field trips is so amazing. I know how much fun this is because we do it often too.

      I would love to collaborate with you on your ‘visit India’ post. We are going to focus some of our projects this month on our culture and festivals. Doing it with you will be so much more fun.
      Let’s talk about it in detail. Will send you a mail. :)
      Thank you again for reaching out and extending a hand of friendship. :)