Friday, March 8, 2019

Activities for Alpacas with Maracas NSS 2019

by Susan Stephenson,

This year, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) has chosen Alpacas with Maracas as the National Simultaneous Storytime book for 2019. NSS will be held at 11am on Wednesday 22 May in 2019.

Here are some activities to help kids extend the literature experience based on Alpacas with Maracas. I have included ideas for a range of ages, because I hope older kids get to join in all the fun and help celebrate books and reading too!

* What do real alpacas look/sound like? Find some pictures and share them. Here is a short video.

* What do real maracas look/sound like? Here is a short video.

* Here’s another short video from ABC Education about alpacas. Did you know they are always smiling and spit like camels? Ewww!

* Using crayons or mixed media, draw a picture of an alpaca and some maracas.

* Kids might like to recall the activities Al and Macca tried before describing their own talents to the group.

* A talent show is a kind of contest where people compete against each other to be the most entertaining. Have a contest to see who can make the silliest face, or clap their hands the fastest, or some other amazing feat. Older kids might like to come prepared to show off their talents! Can someone play the leaf, the kazoo or the comb? Can anyone tap their head and rub their tummy at the same time?

* Make or adapt your own maracas with kids via these step by step directions at PBS involving cardboard rolls, duct tape, paper and rice. You can also make maracas from plastic bottles filled with dried beans or lentils. Remind parents and helpers about the danger of small ones choking if you decide to do this.

* Have kids explore making a maraca noise some other way. They could try their voices, rubbing their hands together, whispering etc. If you have real maracas handy, compare the noises. Can you build an orchestra using body percussion and maracas? Try a tune like This Old Man.

* Can children make up a silly Alpaca dance to a maraca rhythm?

* Here’s a short and bouncy song suitable for kids called Share the Maracas in a video on Youtube.

* Playing with rhyme is a great activity for kids. Quite young children may not have a concept of rhyme, but will enjoy the silliness of play. Alpacas with Maracas might become Cats with Splats or Elephants with Yellephants.

Older kids could innovate on Frogs with ……Sharks with …. Eagles with……… Bats with …. Owls with ……Sparrows with ….. Cockatoos with ….. and draw pictures of their choice(s). If you have time for a more formal activity based on the above, you might like to download my PDF: Playing with Rhyme NSS 2019. All my PDFs are free for parents, teachers and librarians who would like to use them with the children in their care.

* Playing with rhythm is lots of fun too. Can kids use nonsense syllables and sounds from the book, and combine them to make their own rhythms? What body movement can they combine with that rhythm?

* Do you only have time for a fast activity that kids might finish at home? Here are some alpaca colouring pages, and here’s an alpaca outline that could be filled with glued crumpled or torn paper, snippets of yarn, or cotton wool.

Extra Challenges for Older Kids:

# Alpacas with Maracas would be a good book to compare with one of Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama books like Llama Llama Red Pyjama.

# Where do maracas originate? (Said to be Puerto Rico but are now common in lots of Latin American music.) Do kids know any other percussion instruments that are shaken? Why are instruments like this probably common across many cultures?

# Alpacas with Maracas is written with lots of rhyming couplets. Can kids create their own rhyming story or poem?

# Use software or a digital tool to create a picture of an alpaca with maracas. I made my alpacas with Assembly app, but you could draw and scan or combine digital shapes to create your own alpaca.

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