By Joanne Tippett with help from her daughter, Iris
It is amazing to see how creative children can be. My daughter Iris had her 8th birthday in the first week of lockdown. She developed a game using her My Ketso, which I share with you here, along with a few hints that we learned to help manage meet-ups via video link with multiple small children.
A group of friends from school wanted to stay in touch, and celebrate any birthdays that happened during the period of social isolation. The first video call amongst this small group of children was chaotic (to say the least!), with several children not getting a word in edgewise. There was a bit of stress in terms of everyone trying to be heard and the group not managing to actually have a conversation.
For the second try, we set up a rota for the children to speak, with each parent printing / copying out the rota so all of the children knew the order in which to talk. This is rather like a Ketso session – where the order of talking is suggested by going around the table. With Ketso, the fact that everyone will get a chance to share their leaf one at a time means that everyone will get a say, including those with the quietest voice. As we learned with our experience with video link, which switches the ‘talking channel’ to whoever is speaking the loudest, having some sort of turn-taking is very important to make sure everyone has a say!
A new party game is invented
When it came to Iris’s eight birthday, early on in lockdown, she developed a new game that they could play via video link using her My Ketso. Before the party, she wrote down the names of the ‘party-goers’ on brown leaves, and short descriptions of each party-goer on yellow leaves. (A bit of parental intervention may be advised in advance – in this case I checked that all the party-goers’ names were included (whoops missed one), and a quick check that there was nothing offensive or problematic in the characteristics – which there wasn’t!).
In this time of change and uncertainty, I wanted to share this story of inventiveness as an example of what a child might do when given the tools to enhance their creativity and communication.
Iris read out the yellow leaves of what the person was like, one person at a time, and asked her party friends to guess who it was. She showed them the leaves and matched them up on her Ketso Planner. You can see a little bit of the party in action in this video below. The children had a great time with this game. They then went on to play a game of hang-man, which worked much better than the first time around, using the new rota for turn-taking!
I will confess that I had to leave the room for a few moments when I was overcome with tears watching my daughter celebrate her birthday by video link, not knowing how long this isolation will last. In this time of change and uncertainty, I wanted to share this story of inventiveness as an example of what children might do when given the tools to enhance their creativity and communication.