A lesson on Chennai's wildlife, through puppets

Spring into Reading, an activity centre for children in K.K. Nagar, conducted two programmes at Hotel Green Park yesterday. This is the second year the centre has been associated with Madras Week. Last year, it was a scintillating storytelling performance by Nandini Sridhar and thudumbu artistes (drummers) that captivated the audience and had the Press literally lapping it all up.

This year, the action was no less absorbing. The first was a puppet-making programme titled ‘Wildlife of Chennai’. Bhanumathy, who runs the Pavai Centre for Puppetry conducted for children in the 5-12-year age group an interesting session on simple puppet-making based on Chennai's wildlife. Her objective: to create awareness in the children about wildlife in and around Chennai, its importance as natural heritage of the city and their role in protecting and conserving such heritage.

When Binita and Shrimathi of Spring into Reading and Bhanumathi together planned the event, they would never have expected the sort of response that they received. About 60 children participated, many had arrived with parents in tow long before the scheduled time of the event.

It was wonderful to see the young joyous faces, beaming smiles and the brimming energy that the children displayed on the floor – drawing, colouring and painting puppets. And did they learn a lesson or two? Yes, indeed, they chorused at the end of the show. They would all do their bit to save birds and animals and ensure that they were not harmed.

Pictures show children all excited and raring to go; listening to instructions from Bhanumathi; a girl drawing a puppet face; some of the finished products; and children raising their puppets in glee.


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