Last week on May 5th, we had a public holiday in Korea for Children’s Day. You have to love a country which makes a holiday of Children’s Day, don’t you? All schools, most businesses, and plenty of shops were closed. Older children were bought new clothes and taken out with their friends, while younger children enjoyed parades and petting zoos at Seoul Grand Children’s Park, which is a lovely, open, green space – unusual for this crowded city.
Another tradition is for younger children to get dressed up – this year we had plenty of Elsas and Iron Men around the place – and not always gender-confined, either, which I love.
As a follow-up, then, I introduced my little ones to Fancy Dress Jungle by Nick Sharratt. This wonderful book has six animals, which dress up in wildly varied fancy dress. It’s well-designed, with cut-away flaps hiding the animals, and well-written. My kids went wild for it. So wild, in fact, that I then used it with my 9-year-olds as well – and they adored it too!
So this is what I did with them.
- During circle time, I got them talking about what they did for Children’s Day and if they dressed up.
- We watched and sang two songs – the magnificent Animal Boogie by Barefoot Books (available on YouTube here), and Super Simple Songs’ Walking In the Jungle, which is brilliant for getting kids up and moving. We talked about the animals we’d seen and what they were called – there was a bit of a discussion around the difference between cheetahs and leopards 🙂 which is not something you can say everyday in an EFL classroom!
- I asked them to choose an animal – everyone had to choose a different animal, so that there was no chance of copying each other’s pictures. Then I handed out the first sheet, and they drew their animal, being careful to keep all the facial features inside the circle.
- As they finished, they came up to me, and I explained the second sheet: on this sheet, they drew the ‘disguise’ – the clown, or the pirate, or the ninja clown pirate, or whatever takes their fancy. I had a few printed props for them to use. Key here was to emphasise the fact that the face was going to be cut away to reveal the animal below, and so they shouldn’t spend too much time drawing facial features.
- Finally, I cut out the face with a penknife (leaving props such as glasses and eyepatches in place) and we glued the second sheet over the first.
- And voila! Nick Sharratt-style jungle animals in fancy dress!
They really did an amazing job – it’s been a while since I’ve seen them so silently focused…
The sheets I used were very basic, but if you want them anyway, here they are: Fancy Dress Jungle