Circus! Another fool proof theme for adults and kids...I thought.
I was loaded with fun stuff. Best of all I had irresistible circus music!
The Group at the Community Center
Once again I seemed to pick a theme that wasn't ideal for my folks who grew up in different cultures than mine. Most said they had never gone to a circus.
The music helped. There's nothing like a little calliope music to make a group playful. First we had a little juggling with scarves. Then the music inspired a few, who stood up and began dancing with the scarves!
My group is happiest when there is some kind of hands on art. It actually was pretty fun watching them come up with different clown face designs. Like an old fashioned quilting bee, the ladies begin to jabber and gossip...in Spanish. This is what they love. But I try to gently steer the group in sharing thoughts. We managed to stay on theme a bit...talking about favorite circus animals and even about the famous Flying Wallendas. I can only imagine how much fun I'd have with this group if I spoke Spanish!
On to Next Group...with some trapeze warm ups!
My biggest challenge for my next group was that our usual meeting room was in use. We put the quilt on a table in the middle of the bustling family room. We were surrounded by distractions of other activities, music, animals, even paramedics coming through. I already deal with folks who have attention and hearing issues, so I was practically tap dancing on the table to keep this group focused.
A Brief Dancing Tangent
Our circus music and colorful props drew in more people than usual. But our storytelling and discussion activities were constantly being interrupted. So we went for less talk and more action.
I started up a little scarf juggling demonstration when dear Kathleen walked up. For a moment I thought she might just grab A colorful scarf from the table and move along, but instead she reached for mine. Kathleen loves music and the Barnum and Bailey music playing in the background was all the inspiration she needed. Suddenly Kathleen was grinning and we held the scarf together, dancing and twirling around while the Quilt Group cheered us on from the table!
I took the same stuff to the Women's Shelter, excited to really have fun with this theme. I've never had anything but success using a circus theme with kids.
But it happened to be a day with very young children. No one over the age of 3 and none who could really speak more than a word of two.
Happy to Play!
But these sweet little ones don't need a theme. They rolled the juggling balls and chased them. They rolled the little clown on his unicycle, back and forth and back and forth. They pointed out pictures in a book of circus animals and they paraded around the quilt with the juggling scarves...waving and wearing the scarves...not juggling!
What I learned: Some days are a challenge no matter how well you plan. And that is that!
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.