Childs Play Book
Child’s Play: Positive Affirmations for Children to Sing and Dramatize has been used in schools and yoga centers throughout the US. The CD and accompanying booklet draw on American Indian folklore, yoga, East Indian philosophy, and martial arts to create songs and activities for children ages 3-8. The booklet has easy to follow diagrams that outline a variety of hand-dances, games and activities which can be done to the songs.
This CD and Booklet was the culmination of Wah!’s work with young children while administrating and teaching at a summer yoga camp. Over a period of 7 years, she developed songs and games to engage children and encourage their physical, social, and emotional development.
This children’s program was unique because it was for kids ages 3-8. Maybe because back in the 1980’s it didn’t seem so outrageous to be sending your 5-year old to a sleepaway summer camp for 6 weeks, or maybe because it was just a good program, we had a magical time together. We were up in the mountains, in nature, under the stars… The kids were well cared for, we did hiking, drawing, simple games, singing, crafts. I taught all the kids how to swim, we were only 70 people, but I remember every one of them and many of them still remember me. We created weekly puppet shows called The Punjab Puppet Playhouse, originated by two wonderful men and continued by myself and the director of the camp, Siri Nam Singh. We had Joke Night sometimes during dinner… I don’t know if you have ever heard a 3 year old tell a joke on a microphone but if you haven’t you’re missing a real treat. The tried and true jokes get retold with new twists, I remember laughing til tears came, hearing them innocently share their understanding. “Why did the elephant sit on a marshmallow?” (to not fall in the hot chocolate) became any number of variations from “Why did the elephant fall in the hot chocolate?” (because he ate the marshmallow) to “Why did the elephant drink hot chocolate?” (he never found any marshmallows). And, occasionally, a young child saying ‘Marshmallow” into the microphone and everyone laughing just the same.
Yoga was not a household word in the 1980’s, most people either didn’t know what it was or thought it was wierd. I was doing yoga and meditation with these 3-7 year olds every day with great results. I wanted to offer it out to the world, to the public schools and educational communities. The games and songs I created helped us enjoy the yoga and meditation, and many similar ones were born naturally from the process. My songs were sometimes sang in thelocal Sunday services of the community. It seemed time to try and create something, something to give out to parents and educators. My friend and musician, Guru Prem Singh, agreed to do the music production so I set about turning my little melodies and games into real songs and movements.
Stephen Gardner stepped forward to do the illustrations. I started writing content for the book, carefully crafting it so it would appeal to formal educators and school systems, citing improved concentration, motor skill coordination and serenity as benefits from doing these yoga-inspired movements to music.
As luck would have it, a new regulation passed nationwide, requiring school systems to provide programs for the learning impaired and disabled. I brought my music and games to schools and people bought The Child’s Play booklet and CD. The Special Education departments noticed the most profound improvements and so it found its home there. All the photos on the back cover of the booklet are taken from the Special Education programs in the Santa Fe public schools.
Now that yoga is widely accepted, there are many programs in the schools which offer yoga postures, breathing, and quiet time. But the games and songs offered in Child’s Play are just as fun as they ever were. For children ages 3-8 the games have to be simple, even if the concepts the songs introduce are profound.
The music was sold by itself as a cassette, and many parents called it “The Magic Tape” because the songs and sound of my voice would calm the kids down if they were fighting or too rowdy in the car. This was one of my first indications that my voice could be used as a healing instrument, and led me to my later work in healing with adults and performing The Healing Concert. I hope the songs and games are enjoyable and their teachings reach hearts of all ages.
Childs Play CD
About Childs Play
Ten tracks, this CD & Booklet provides parents or teachers with a means of helping children to develop skills of concentration, self-esteem, creativity, coordination and self-awareness through the use of simple motions set to delightful songs.
“Solid production and memorable musicality”
NASHVILLE PARENT MAGAZINE | NASHVILLE, TN
Child’s Play is a CD & booklet designed to help children develop skills of concentration, kinesthetic awareness, and self-guidance. The songs inspire children to think positive thoughts, to be truthful, to love, and to explore feelings. The standout on this CD is the last cut: “Happy Thoughts,” a simple melody sung by a soothing voice that weaves itself around beautiful guitar and fiddle music, repeatin gthe words, “Peaceful, peaceful, I am peaceful,” and then, “Beautiful, beautiful, I am beautiful.” It goes on to list the attributes “truthful, joyful, wonderful.” We play this song over and over again with the children dancing peacefully and graefully like wind blwoing through trees. These are the messages I pray children will have inside themselves, and what a wonderful way to deliver them. A companion booklet with the CD outlines activities to go along with each song. The CD is being used in schools for the learning disabled, daycares and preschools.
Kelly Severson Kunz – January 1997