For July, I gave myself a simple, do-over theme. Carnivals and Fairs!
It's always easy getting my senior groups to recall some kind of memory, involving a Ferris wheel or carousel.
The Big Fairs
We also talked about the bigger fairs, that involved other countries.
All my groups loved hearing the famous song from the movie, about the 1904 World's Fair. "Meet me in St. Louie, Louie... Meet me at the fair!" I was surprised how many knew the words.
A photo of the 1904 Great Observation Wheel, was a big hit. It was hard for any of us to imagine a ride that could carry 2,060 people in 36 different wooden cars.
The giant wheel was actually designed by George Washington Ferris for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. After being used at the St. Louis fair, there were no buyers for the Big Wheel. It took 100 pounds of dynamite to destroy the wheel... which sadly became scrap metal.
We had a new visitor to the morning group. She was enthused about our theme and then shared some of her own stories. When we talked about the New York World's Fair, Evelyn said she never attended. However, she was IN the Japanese World's Fair Expo! What a surprise! She said she had been in an exhibit on the Philippines, since that's where she was from. She said it was pretty fun getting to answer people's questions about her country.
Evelyn had one more memory to share. "I lost my daughter at the Vancouver Expo!" Her smile told us there was a happy ending. "She was really only gone for about 5 minutes." Evelyn laughed, recalling how quickly the Canadian police jumped in to help. When they found her 5 year old daughter, she was crying... "But not as much as me!"
What I Learned:
I love surprise guests, especially when they have a surprising story or two! I learned that it's okay to repeat a theme now and then, because there's always a new story out there!
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.