I'm "THAT" mom - and it's that time of year. It's time to plan the Spring Concert performance for a Kindergarten class, having a "Jungle" theme; and aside from the limitations imposed by circumstances, only one rule applies: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" has been banned after five consecutive years of being performed in every concert no matter what the theme.
Though I will probably procrastinate on making the costumes, the production takes place in May. The teacher would like to start teaching the kids the song and movements now. I'm in charge of costumes, additional ideas and general helpfulness and pretty much the only volunteer in the class for this aside from the teacher's assistants. They work on this a few times a week in ten-fifteen minute segments, adding things a bit at a time. But, what song? What to do?
We have approximately 21 kindergarteners to wrangle, ranging in age from under four to over six. This includes the full spectrum of personalities, from exuberant, dynamic natural performers to sweet thumb-sucking hair twiddlers. Many will perform well in class, but once on stage, become "deer in the headlights". It's adorable and expected. It's like karaoke, but instead of drunken adult Idol-wannabes, we have small SNL characters
who'll occasionally flail around in a coordinated fashion. They will walk on stage in a line, break into groups for a verse with accompanying hand movements, bow or curtsey and file off. That's about all they can handle.
For example, last year, for the "Under the Sea" theme, they were able to sing "Listen to the Water"
, with a few simple hand movements, divided into groups of birds, fish, flowers and ducks. The costumes we made were from large squares of felt. For the bodies, we made tunics by cutting out the shapes from sheets of felt and attaching them only at the shoulders, decorating them with feathers, scales or whatever was appropriate. Some of the costumes had hoods made of felt, made from a basic tutorial found online; others, headbands with appropriate decorations like petals or feathers. Those suited my Sewing 101 skills. Headgear is better than make-up or masks, for time and safety reasons respectively. I have one, maybe two friends who'll help put things together one night before before the show, bribed with drinks and nibblies. I'll be sewing/making in fits and spurts rather than in steady nightly efforts. Aside from the felt, we use "found" items from classroom supplies to decorate the costumes - we unfortunately blew the budget on felt, as none was to be had otherwise.
So far, this link
has the best song possibilities, and the teacher and I will be putting our heads together this week and may need to cross some of these off the list if they've been taken on the sign-up sheet. There are two kindergarten classes besides ours, and we're not judgy, but we do like basking in compliments and if we get a few asides that we were so much more clever than the other classes, so be it. Our school is pretty fun and we can get away with something a wee bit subversive and maybe a little edgy - but the older grades will have sewn up the "Welcome to the Jungle" ideas. We do want to keep it simple and appropriate, but fun and interesting. If everyone gets bored with what we're doing before the show, we fail.
I've started looking up costume ideas, but would be grateful for any ideas or information about various simple patterns for jungle animal costumes, crazy dance moves, or Jungle-themed songs that kids (and the adults that guide them) can handle. Links to photos and videos are great, I can be inspired by those. And thanks!