Folklore meets science when you research rain stories, create a mobile demonstrating the stages of the water cycle, and write original folktales using rhyme, rhythm, and repetition.
1. Read the Nandi folktale, Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, retold by Verna Aardema and illustrated by Beatriz Vidal. Research water cycles, including evaporation, cloud formation, and precipitation. Discuss the effects of drought on plants and animals.
2. Work in teams to create figures representing stages of the water cycle to hang on a mobile. Cover your work area with newspaper. Use Crayola® Colored Pencils or Color Sticks on to draw clouds, rain, sun, and representations of evaporation.
3. Cut out each drawing with Crayola Scissors. Trace and mount each piece on cardboard with Crayola School Glue, sandwiching a long string between the paper and cardboard. Dry.
4. Arrange drawings so they are in a circular formation representing the water cycle. Cut the strings on each piece so their lengths will position them correctly when hung from a recycled cardboard tube. Tie each string to the cardboard tube so drawings hang in a large circle. Run a long piece of string through the tube and tie for hanging.
5. Use your water cycle mobile to help you write your own rhyming, repetitive folktale about how rain comes to the land. Refer to Aardema's retelling for a suggested rhythm and pattern. Share folktales with classmates.
Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.
Recycled Cardboard Tubes—Use paper towel tubes, gift-wrap tubes, or long cardboard tubes that can be cut to any length. Health professionals caution against using recycled toilet paper tubes for arts & crafts projects because of the potential fecal contamination.
Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.
String-Like Materials—Includes string, raffia, lacing, yarn, ribbon, and other similar material. Children 3 years and younger should not be given any string-like material that is longer than 12 inches. Close adult supervision is essential whenever children use string-like material. When crafts are to be worn around the necks of children 8 years and younger, attach the ends of the “string-like material” with clear adhesive tape, which allows easy release of the bond if the craft becomes entangled or caught on equipment. For children older than 8 years, the ends of the “string-like material” may be tied and knotted.
- Teachers use mobiles and folktales as assessment tools to determine student understanding of the water cycle and its relationship to weather and climatic patterns.
- Students engage in dialogue about the effects of too much rain and how floods affect the soil, animal life, and human communities.
- Compare beliefs and legends about rain in various cultures. For example, children research the story of Saint Swithin's Day, observed in England on July 15. After being made a saint, Swithin's body was moved to Winchester Cathedral during a heavy rain. The rain continued for 40 days, which was source of the legend that if it is raining on July 15, it will rain for 40 more days.
- Focus on water conservation in folk tales, putting a modern twist on how people waste water and the effect that has on other living things. Write short rhyming folktales with watercolor pencil and display with mobiles to share a message about conserving water resources. Offer your display to community organizations.