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Crafting Stories & Investigating Nature's Wonders - Highlights of Day 1 at Sunnyside Young Explorers Weekend Workshops

Updated: Feb 13



Saturday, Feb 3 marked the exciting commencement of the Young Explorer's Weekend Workshops for February at Sunnyside, unleashing a burst of creativity and curiosity. Day 1 unfolded with an enthralling blend of Collaborative Story Building and Nature Investigations, leaving the children not just thrilled, but also enriched by the captivating experiences of the day. Hear the reflections directly from the facilitators who orchestrated these inspiring sessions.


Session 1 - Collaborative Story Building: Unleashing Imagination



The Collaborative Story Building session started off with some lively ice breaker activities. “Wiggle like a worm if you have a sibling. Hop two steps forward if you can speak more than two languages.” Sounds of giggles and laughter filled the room. These light-hearted tasks not only served as a means of introduction but also set the stage for a creative and collaborative journey ahead.


Courtesy - www.storywritingacademy.com

The adventure began with an exercise of collaborative storytelling using a given picture prompt. Kids plunged into a world of imagination and the tale weaved by the young storytellers took unexpected turns. The story started off with the protagonist waking up in the morning to find the house shaking and surrounded by water. The story continued as the character discovered his house in the middle of a river, with a shark swimming in it, which was near a forest on a rock but got ready to fish and cook it. As he embraced the reality, he got teleported to a library, taking advantage of which he collects books to bring home but finds himself back in the usual home. As the character relaxes, he gets teleported to Antarctica and escapes being eaten by a polar bear jolted from sleep to realise it was all a dream, in fact a nightmare. The vivid narrative unfolded like a dream, incorporating elements of surprise and excitement.


Ammachi's Glasses by Priya Kuriyan - Tulika Publishers

It was then followed by a mini lesson on the elements of a captivating story which was demonstrated using the wordless picture book, “Ammachi’s Glasses.” The liveliness was infectious and the kids were filled with excitement to unravel the tale in “Ammachi's Glasses” and find the elements of a story in it. 



The final task was writing their own story independently on a given theme. With that activity,  the building blocks were laid for a truly extraordinary skill to create a magical world of words, imagination and creativity. The camaraderie and enthusiasm of the children throughout the workshop was inspiring. Looking forward to more such sessions of growth and inspiration.


Session 2 - Nature Investigations: Exploring Wonders in our Neighbourhood


As the facilitator leading the Nature Investigations session during Day 1 of Sunnyside Young Explorers Weekend Workshops, the journey into the world of nature unfolded with a delightful and immersive experience.


To kick off the session, we engaged the young explorers in a guessing game, introducing them to leaves from five different plants. From the familiar fragrance of guava and mango leaves to the distinctive aroma of Indian borage (karpooravalli) and neem leaves, the children embarked on a sensory adventure, relying solely on touch and smell to identify each specimen. It was fascinating to witness their imaginative connections, such as one astute explorer associating the texture of a banana leaf with the paper-like quality, a reflection of the cultural resonance of serving food on banana leaves.



A special thanks to Musa, the Birdman of Sunnyside. He is a Middle School learner and a nature lover, who volunteered for this session. Musa joined us during the nature walk and facilitated in helping the kids discover things in their neighbourhood. The discussions delved into the exploration of our five senses and their role in the investigation process. As we set out on our nature investigation, surveying the leaf-strewn grounds, walls, and trees in our surroundings, the young minds became detectives, on the lookout for clues and tracks.


The discoveries were abundant—a place teeming with wasp nests, hanging roots, and nature's intricate patterns. Snail shells nestled in a drain hole, pods dangling from trees, and a burst of colourful flowers added layers to our findings. Collecting these treasures, we returned to Sunnyside to create a nature chime, a symphony of the day's collectibles.



In our reflective session, the children shared what captivated them the most and what brought joy to their nature exploration. Some were drawn to the intricate details of mealy bugs, while others marvelled at the vibrant colours of leaves. Together, we discussed future possibilities, zooming in on specific aspects for deeper exploration in the sessions to come.



The Nature Investigations session was not merely about observation; it was about fostering a connection with the natural world. As we closed the day, the resonance of our experiences echoed in the nature chime, a tangible reminder of the richness that nature offers and the wonders waiting to be discovered in the sessions ahead. The young explorers left with a newfound appreciation for the intricacies of the world around them, eager for more adventures in the upcoming workshops.


Conclusion: Nurturing Young Minds for Deeper Learning


The workshops demonstrated the impact of hands-on, collaborative learning. From crafting imaginative stories to exploring nature's wonders, these sessions provided a platform for holistic development. The children's enthusiasm and creativity highlighted the effectiveness of such immersive learning experiences. As we look forward to more sessions, the journey of growth and inspiration continues for these young minds at Sunnyside.


Thanks to Palluyir Trust for their fantastic resources that we always use for our nature walks. And don't miss the book 'Ammachi's Glasses' by Priya Kuriyan published by Tulika Books- a simple, humorous tale of a grandma you can't help falling in love with. ❤




~ Authored by Naqeeb Sultana & Salma Zaitoon

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