Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sharing Ideas I

Whenever I am in El Salvador, especially at an event which involves kids or youth, I like to collect ideas. Here are a few ideas which I collected during a recent trip to El Salvador...

In one community which we visited, the kids in an after-school program decorated the streets of the village with painted paper plates. Paper streamers were attached to the plates to create lovely wind catchers which were strung up on rows of string. Kids might have fun using strips of cloth, ribbon, or whatever else is available and might be water-resistant.

Because I hang out in a lot of Lutheran Church communities, this project caught my eye. The youth had made replicas of the Luther Rose, using heavy-duty foil (or any kind of thin metal that could be bent). The foil was placed over cardboard cut-outs of the rose and then the students used sticks to rub over the pattern and create indentations in the foil. Then, they painted the design. Punched tin and raised tin artwork is very common in many Latin American countries, and fun to replicate with kids.

Sometimes the good ideas are not hung up on string or on the walls but are actually on the kids. We were welcomed to one community with a parade, in which the kids were dressed in costumes, representing their goals for a "new El Salvador." One was dressed as a flowering tree, representing the care which children need to take of the natural resources. One represented the struggle to obtain and preserve clean water. The third was dressed as trash, something kids should not throw on the ground and should pick up.

Kids (and adults, really) from every culture like to color. In one community, the Sunday School kids color a picture each week. At the bottom of the page is the Bible memory verse. Kids glue a strip of card-stock to the top of the page, punch 2 holes, tie on a piece of yarn, and wear their pages home. The children often have a contest at the end of class to recognize who has done creative work (including adding extra things from the Bible story into the picture) and who has been able to memorize the verse from scripture. By wearing their work, the kids tend not to drop it on their walks home. The walls inside many of the homes are covered with Sunday School coloring pages. One home kept a huge stack of pages in a special place - the freezer! (no electricity).

It's always fun to share ideas across cultures and across the miles!

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