This video comes to us from a children’s class teacher training in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. Participants are practicing a non-competitive variation of the game Birds of a Feather (with various animals in place of birds). Very simply, the game proceeds like this: exchange slips of paper with animal names written on them at “go”. Read the paper at “stop”. Make your animal’s noise at “action” and try and flock together with others making the same noise.
The game’s original rules (given in the link above) describe a competitive version, in which the last team to “find their flock” is counted out, leaving winners and losers. We chose to eliminate this competitive element, to focus on the cooperative skills required in matching oneself up with one’s flock; instead of being counted out, we simply play the game as many times as we wish, with everyone participating. To keep the game interesting without resorting to competition, we can introduce different modes of play. For example, instead of using sounds, we can use nonverbal visual cues. Players might mime flapping wings for birds, or walking like a cat or a dog; or, conversely, they might mime taking care of one’s animal—calling to a bird on one’s finger, petting a cat or walking a dog, etc. Competition, which can lead the children to develop the undesirable habit of seeking conflict, is thus avoided by the application of creativity—finding different, innovative ways of keeping games interesting.
Readers of this blog will be pleased to know that not only am I still alive, but I have a number of things lined up for posting in the next little while. I’ve had to take some time away from blogging for the past few months due to personal busymaking, including a trip back to Vietnam to visit family. But fear not! More content is on the way, including stories about our weekly children’s class in Ottawa, anecdotes about building up the core activities in Vietnam, posts about the rise in Baha’i institutional capacity, and even some videos.
How about you? What would you like to see more of on baha’i children’s class ideas? I’m currently considering opening up the format of this blog a little, to include more blog-like posts and articles about what it takes to run a children’s class, anecdotes about how different Baha’i communities are implementing children’s classes, and ideas from elsewhere on the internet. Leave a comment with your suggestions!