Always an Easy Theme
It's been 2 years, since I did this obviously fun theme. It's worth repeating, since it guarantees a good time. But also, I need to use this stuff! I have accumulated a lot of crazy circus goodies and I'm a firm believer in "use it or lose it." I put it all to use.
It was fun having so many in my senior groups who remembered real tent circuses. Yes they still exist, but most performances are in arenas and stadiums now. Some of us remembered seeing tents go up. I saw the Carson & Barnes Circus elephants raise the tent in Tulsa about 20 years ago. It was a magical thing to watch, but elephant treatment is luckily changing and they no longer have that job.
Photographs and Paintings
Music and "Juggling"
The energetic sounds of horns, cymbals and drum rolls got everyone so revved up I decided to use their energy with a juggling exercise. We avoided the frustrating balls and tried juggling with scarves. It wasn't planned, but somehow that music (in 2 of my groups) got the "jugglers" so wound up that suddenly all 12 scarves were shooting across the table like fireworks. Hands were reaching, grabbing, tossing... in any direction. I felt like a teacher who had lost total control of the classroom, but I loved all the laughter and squealing.
Kids and the Circus
It was so fun having kids visiting in many of my groups. They were of course delighted to see all the colorful stuff and get their hands in there and play! I guess it shouldn't have been a real surprise when I heard the answer "No." from most of the kids when asked if they'd ever been to a circus. Today the circus competes with TVs and video games and amusement parks . I was more surprised to find out how many kids are afraid of clowns. Two of the kids admitted it was scary movies with evil clown characters that made them learn to fear those painted faces.
Margaret remembered riding the city bus with her mother and siblings and neighborhood kids to the circus in Chicago. After waiting in line, they discovered there were only expensive seats left. Her mother tried to explain why they were heading back home on the bus, but her baby sister continued to sob. They stopped at a pay phone to call "Daddy" since maybe he could calm the 2-year old. He failed, but a sympathetic woman with a hot pretzel came to the rescue. I was glad to learn that Mother returned the next day with the whole bunch and they arrived VERY early to assure getting cheap tickets.
Clown Shirt and Top Hat
In my last group, we took a photo of our happy gang before clearing off the table. They made me wear the ringmaster's hat since I was wearing a clown shirt. I had hesitated wearing the garish shirt that I bought on a whim when dining at the Circus City Cafe in Hugo, Oklahoma last month. I was glad I did since one visitor to our group saw "Hugo" on my shirt. She knew the small "circus town" well and told us some stories.I
What did I learn?
It saddened us all to realize the elephants and other animals may some day not be a part of any circuses. Many came up with ideas of how to train without cruelty. But the main thought for most of us... we were glad we had experienced the fun of seeing a circus with lions and elephants, back in the day!
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.