I love coming up with seasonal stuff to brighten our jr. students days (and even the adults get a kick out of it sometimes). October was the "Great Pumpkin Hunt", for December, it has been "Elves on the Desk". I know, creative name, right?? Here is what we did, lessons we learned from doing it, and the kids response to the elves.
What We Did
I tried finding some inexpensive "Elf on the Shelf" elves. I was quite shocked at the sticker price, but found some inexpensively on Amazon. When they came in, I was amazed that they were not possible. So I made a few snips here and there to insert some 12 gauge wire so I could pose them. Since we're primarily a Judo school, my goal was to pose them in Judo throws.
Since I was not able to wire them with hips, posing ended up being harder than I thought. By the time we reached our fourth throw I started to use tape on the desk to help them not slip. Maybe for next year I'll get a non-slip mat or a foam block to drive the wire into to help stabilize the elves.
I bought some Karate uniforms from Etsy to dress the elves in. I'll discuss below what some of the issues have been with them both in white gis.
I had our coaching staff name the elves. We ended up with Ichiban Sensei and Takiyama San. Sensei is obviously a black belt, and Takiyama San is a green belt. Sensei does all the throws and the kids have to guess what he is teaching Takiyama San. I chose throws from our white belt list and the current semester list.
I thought this was going to be easy-peasy. But as with any first time project, there were lessons to be learned.
DON'T TOUCH THE ELVES in front of the kids. You don't want to ruin their at home traditions and beliefs. For example, the elves are supposed to disappear if you touch them. The poor child then stood there and looked at me and said... "Wait, why are they still there??" after I accidently touched one of the hat. ::Facepalm::
They should be in different color gis. It kinda boggles the brain trying to figure out who's leg is where. For Judo, if one is in a blue gi, and one is in a white gi, that *should* help solve that problem.
There could be a possible Lesson 3, at the time of writing this blog post, we have not finished our display.
The Kids Responses
The kids love them! They were shocked when they first came in. But they love to walk up to the desk to try to guess what the throws are. I think this is a great activity too, because it helps them to look at what someone else is going and think about that throw. We as adults do it all the time watching Olympic Judo matches, or BJJ matches, etc.... it's good for the kids to do too.
What I Hope to do Differently Next Year
I hope to get a big blue foam block and stick the wires in there for better posing and stability. I should be able to make the foam block look like our tatami (mats). I'll also make sure to not accidentally touch the elves in front of the children, and I hope to get a blue gi for the green belt elf, Takiyama San.
Here's a picture posted on IG by a customer loving their new decal! Thanks @becamendez
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