A text from Dušica Bojović’s book “THE POWER OF IMAGINATION, THE POWER OF MOVEMENT- guide through drama techniques”
Imaginary trip is a technique of drama method that can be used depending on the aim you want to achieve.
- Imaginary trip technique helps you to lay a framework for a story you read/tell to the children. It is a very helpful technique in case the children are not familiar, if they had no immediate experience with the place, time or characters of the story. It is an excellent way to prepare the children for the story that follows.
Why? You have stirred their imagination and it results in high motivation; children are completely involved and activated to find out what follows.
- In the imaginary trip children and their educators pretend to go/travel to a special place that upholds and advocates the story. For example if the story is settled in a zoo children can first visit a zoo by an imaginary bus, bicycle or coach. We can pretend to go to a jungle story, lake story, story from the past, sea story…
- This helps children recognize and develop listening and processing abilities in the right way and enjoy a story they listen to.
- Imaginary trip helps children concentrate and focus on the content of the story, distinguish reality from imaginary world, acknowledge concepts and expand and enrich vocabulary that will help them understand a story.
Imaginary trip must be shifted from concrete to imaginary.
It is recommended to start with a picture or a photo of a place you are visiting.
Collect sufficient amount of information about the destination.
The second step is the choice of means of transport to the destination.
Means of transport can or doesn’t have to be in connection with a story. Educator can choose it together with the children.
In order to achieve better motivation it is recommended to suggest an unconventional way of travel as water skiing, rafting, magic rug, balloon, camel caravan…..
Before you start you can include pantomime/play. Ask : “ Marko, how would you move if you were a helicopter?”
Imaginary sea trip is more creative if you use props such as a pine twig or sent to evoke the smell, CD with sounds of nature, sun lotion, effective light….
When you reach your imaginary destination indicate alleged change of environment. Ask: “ How do you know we have reached the North Pole?”
You can start this way:
“Come on children, let’s get up. I want you to imagine we are not in this room any more but we are walking along a path that will take us to a high mountain. Follow me, please. Be careful, the path is narrow and slippery. Mind your step. It gets steeper and steeper. Auuugh, it’s really hard. Are you tired? What’s the weather like? Is it hot? OK, let’s pretend it’s very hot and you are tired. Let’s have a break. Take your bottles from backpacks. What have you brought with you? Let’s have a drink. You can refresh your faces if you want. Shall we go on? OK, get up.
What animals can we see? Oh, no! It’s a bear! Run… climb… run! Let’s pretend we are running along this narrow path. Take care of your friends. Be careful, the path is wet and muddy. Let’s take off our shoes. We’ve got rid of that bear. Were you afraid of it. I was. Put your hand on your hart and feel the beat. Bee-bup-bee-bup.
Now, let’s hike. This rock looks perfect. Get hold of protruding twigs. Be careful! There are thorns on them. Are you hurt? We are here! Look at this lovely mountain spring! We can refresh here and fill our bottles. Do you think this water is polluted? Why do you think it is/isn’t polluted? What can contaminate water?
Listen to the sounds of nature. What do you hear? …. Take deep breath!
As you can see beginning a story this way could be an introduction to a story about ecology, preservation of nature, wild animals, planets…..
Here are some additional suggestions to help your trip:
- Find stories that are taking place in an interesting surrounding as a jungle, desert, rain forest, beach, mountain or some night scenes. While you go through the story indicate sounds, smells, shapes… What can you see while you go on, what sounds can you hear, what can you smell and what can you touch?
- During the trip communicate with children as much as possible. Let them suggest the sounds they can hear, what can happen during the trip, let them act a scene. What are they thinking about? Where are they going and what do they think will happen next?
- Coming back from the trip to the room is very important too. If you don’t bring the children back to the room and to the real world they can be confused and think they are still pretending. To make this transit educator can repeat the imaginary trip back or choose a new method for returning to the room. When you are safely back ask the children: Where are we now? Earlier we pretended to be on a ship but where are we now? Are we still pretending?
- Finish your imaginary trip by letting the children sit down and prepare for listening to a story
EXAMPLES HOW TO ORGANIZE A TRIP
You can organize the whole trip together with the children. First you decide what your destination is.
We are going to a birthday party:
What kind of cake will you eat?
Who will you invite?
What games will you play?
Where will the party be organized?
What kind of music will you play?
Will you have a clown for the party?
What presents will you take?
How will you go to the party?
What will you wear?
What songs will you sing?
We are going camping or having a picnic:
Where will you camp: river, lake, meadow, mountain…
Are you taking tents with you?
What food will to bring?
How will you pack?
Describe your backpacks?
Who can you meet in the wood?
What will you wear?
Will you go fishing?
You can sing a song you make up for this occasion:
“ We go for a trip, trip, trip,
We go for a trip, what shall we take ?
I’ll take an apple, an apple, an apple,
‘cause it’s very tasty….”
During the trip ask the children:
What can you see through the bus window?
Can you see a petrol station or a shop?
Can you see a park? Are there any children?
What’s the weather like: cloudy, sunny, windy….?
If you travel by magic carpet questions could be very creative and original as well as children’s answers.
EXAMPLES FOR THE ACTIVITIES FOR YOUR IMAGINARY TRIP
1. JUNGLE WALK
“ I want you to get up, move around the room, make any movements you want. When I clap my hands it’s a sign for you to freeze.”
- Now you sit down and imagine your favorite toy. What is it? What color is it? Why is it your favorite toy?
- When I clap my hands you all start talking about your favorite toys , at the same time. When I repeat the sign you freeze, stop talking.
- Could anyone hear anything about the other child’s toy?
- Is it difficult to hear what others are talking about when you speak at the same time?
- I want you all to lie on the floor, choose your own place. be still and quiet and listen to your heart beat.
- Listen to the sound outside this room. I will walk around and when I tap one of you he/she will tell me what sounds he/she can hear.
- Sit in your own place. We have listened to the sounds of the city. I would like to know if someone has seen a film or a program about a jungle.
- Are the sounds of jungle the same as the sounds of a city?
- Do you think there are sounds of busses, trams, cars as in our city?
- How do people walk through jungle? Right, they usually walk barefoot.
- They usually walk in a column, one behind the other because the paths are narrow, surrounded by vines, bushes and tall trees.
- Can you suggest what shall we pack in our backpacks? It’s very humid there and there are lots of mosquitoes.
- What do you think about the idea to take our food and water stocks on our heads while we walk in a column, one behind the other to our camp? Today we will all walk through the jungle and take our food and water stocks to the camp. While we walk we will listen to the sound of jungle (music). Think about a jungle as a very, very humid place where many of dangerous animals live. What dangerous animals you now that live in a jungle?
We’ll be very quiet while we walk, we don’t want to disturb them.
- Let’s make a column and start. Put your food stocks on your heads. Walk close to each other so that you could help each other if help is needed. Be careful, do not tangle into vines.
- Can you hear the sounds of birds? Can you see them?
- What are their colors? And size? Do you have a feeling an animal is moving on a branch above us? Can you see the branch of that tall tree? What do you think, which animal is it?
- Now you can talk to your friend ahead of you or behind you but quietly, very quietly.
- What’s that in the bushes? Shall we send two brave kids to investigate? What will they find out? Do we have volunteers? Tell us what have you seen?
- Look! I can see our camp. Finally, we’re here. Let’s sit and have a rest. If you are hungry or thirsty we can make a picnic in the jungle.
- We are sitting on the floor with the children talking about out trip. Then we bring a drum and dance.
- It’s time to go back home. We are hungry. Who knows what is for snack in our school?
2. AN AUTUMN TRIP THROUGH A WOOD
This is an imaginary trip and the introduction for it is dramatization of the folk story “AN APPLE”.
Split the children into groups:
– trees and plants
Introduction: Prepare a bag with some food for the animals you expect to meet in the wood. Let the children give suggestions as: carrots for rabbits, some honey for a bear, apples for hedgehogs, walnuts for squirrels, different seeds for birds….
“Let’s move imitating different wood animals. On my sign “freeze” you will stop and when I defreeze someone he/she will tell us which animal he/she was imitating.
Today we are going into a wood. First, we must put on some warm clothes (pantomime dressing up). Maria, can you, please help Mia tie her laces? Mike, button up your jacket. Let’s put on our caps, it’s windy today. Ready? Let’s go. We’ll travel by bus, so prepare your bus tickets ( you take your seats in an imaginary bus). Is anybody sick when traveling? Take your pill.
Here we are.
Take a deep breath. Mmmmm, it’s gorgeous! Fill your lung with the air. What is this smell in the air? What is it missing from this air that contaminates air in the city? What is this air like?
Let’s listen to the sounds. What do you hear? Is it chirping? (children blow whistles imitating chirping of birds) Do you know that each kind bird makes a different sound? What is the sound of a sparrow like, and an owl? Lt’s spread our wings as birds do and fly high to the blue sky.
Have you noticed the ground? How does this carpet of laves rustle? Mother Nature has already dried it. Let’s take a leaf to make a herbarium. Do you know what is it? What kind of trees do you know? Can you name some of them? Do you notice that some trees have green leaves and some are bare? What is the name for trees that are always green. What’s the most famous evergreen tree? Look at these lovely colors of the leaves! What are the colors of autumn leaves? What happens to the leaves in autumn? Listen to the rustle of the trees! (Children-trees move their branches and make rustling sounds.)
Hey! I’ve just seen something. I won’t tell you but you can guess. Say a puzzle:
“ I’ve got long ears and a short tail. Everyone says I’m beautiful”
Do you know a song about a rabbit? Let’s sing it, he may join us. (Children sing a song)
How does a rabbit hop? (pantomime)
What have we brought for a rabbit? (Take a carrot from your bag.)
Let’s go on but be careful. There are some dangerous animals in woods. Slooowly, let’s sneak. Who can name a dangerous animal that lives in woods?
Look at this tree! Who’s that hopping graciously from branch to branch and it begins with S?
What have we brought for it? Let’s put some walnuts here for her to collect for the winter.
Let’s go on. Just mind your step, we don’t want to step on some animal. Walk carefully. Many animals live under the ground and some hide under the leaves or in the trees. Some have strange ways to defend themselves from enemies larger and stronger than themselves. For example?
Say a puzzle.
“ It has needles but it’s not a dress-maker. It defends itself with them.”
Who knows a song about a hedgehog? What story do you know about a hedgehog? Sing a song about a hedgehog.
Let’s look into our bag. What have we brought for a hedgehog? What a lovely, red apple! Full of vitamins! Does anybody know why apples are so healthy?
Now, be careful! We don’t want to wake up a big sleeper that sleeps the whole winter through. Pssst! Who know who am I talking about?
Shall we just sing a song for it, pantomime its movements and leave some honey? (Sing a song)
Are you cold? I am. Would it be good if we stay in wood when the night falls? We haven’t brought a compass but we can find our way by the North Star. Will the night sky be clear tonight so that we can see the stars? You can use moss, too. But I think it’s best if we go back to our school.
We have a lot to do. Firs we’re going to make some puppets and then I’m going to tell you a story about an apple and a rabbit, a bird, a hedgehog and a bear. It’s a story about friendship and sharing things. It’s called An Apple. Let’s get on the bus.
Let’s undress and put our slippers on. Arrange your shoes nicely. (pantomime).
I’ve got an idea. You must be hungry after this walk. We can make a healthy salad from the fruits we brought back and sweeten it with honey.”