Posts tagged - child friendly

Bandstand Handstand – a poem

This is a poem I wrote a while back while volunteering at a school, working with young children on their reading skills. A couple of the children found out I write poetry, and demanded (ok, asked) if I could write a poem for them. I wrote this short poem while they had their lunch, and read it to them afterwards. At the time it didn’t have a title but the kids came up with ‘Bandstand Handstand,’ so I stuck with that.

Do share this poem with your children and let me know what they think. I’m interested in what you think too but find that kids are usually the most honest critics! If you would like to hear me reading this poem, click on the title for the audio version.

Bandstand Handstand

“Bandstand, oh Bandstand, tell me a story, if you can”
“Of course I can Sam, let me tell you about when I was the grandest Bandstand in all the land”

Sam sat down and offered the Bandstand a ham sandwich
The Bandstand declined politely by waving his (funny-looking) hands

“So, Mr Bandstand…”
“Oh please, call me Dan.”
“Did you see many bands, Dan?”
“Many, many bands Sam.  Brass bands, jazz bands, one rock band, and even some ladies doing the can-can – back when the summers were long and hot, the men wore hats and ladies carried fans…”
“Didn’t they want to lie on the grass and get a tan?”
“No Sam, that was before Chanel made the tan fashionable, but after that, yes, they covered me with sand, and the ladies put down their fans and tried to tan.”

Sam asked the Bandstand how he ate when he had such funny-looking hands…
The Bandstand ignored Sam.

“Once there was a lady who came and sang.”
“Was she as good as the bands?” asked Sam
“She was so good the bands had her banned ’cause they were afraid she’d steal their fans…
Now people just run around me in their sweatbands, no-one stands on me these days,
it’s like I’ve become some kind of no-mans land.”

Sam jumped onto the Bandstand, did a handstand then crash-landed and hurt his hand.
“Be careful,” said Dan in reprimand and began to wish he did have hands
because by now he’d become Sam’s number one fan and he wanted to help him get up.
Sam looked up.
“It’s ok Dan, I understand,” he stood up and brushed the sand away with his hands.

“I have to go now Dan,” said Sam, “…but I’ll be back.”
Dan the Bandstand smiled. “That’ll be nice,” he said, just like that.


Mushroom’s take on the Tate

Last week, Mushroom and I went to the Tate Modern for the day. Mushroom enjoyed it so much he decided to write his own review! So, over to Mushroom…

I had a great day out when Mummy took me to the Tate Modern. She told me where we were going but it meant nothing to me, really. I didn’t have the heart to tell her, she seemed so pleased we would be doing something creative that didn’t involve going to messy play or me throwing paints around at home. I smiled and giggled to reassure her and once we got outside I had a nap.

When I woke up we were on the tube, which I’m not keen on but it wasn’t for long. We got off at a stop called Southwark and a short walk later we were at the Tate Modern. As we walked in there were a lot of people running around. It looked at bit like nursery playtime, but with grown-ups. Mummy said it must be a ‘live installation’ but she didn’t know anything about it. We stood and watched it for a bit. After a while I noticed a pattern, it was a bit like a dance. So that’s art, is it? Interesting. For about five minutes. I started trying to get out of my pushchair to join them but Mummy said I couldn’t (how did she know? I didn’t see her ask!) so we walked past them to the information desk where she asked about the open studio.

Open studio is basically a massive room, with lots of stuff to touch, rip, stick and scribble on. Apparently it’s usually designed by an artist and related to the free collections but all the artists were on holiday when we went. It didn’t make any difference to me. I stood there for a bit, taking it all in before Mummy called me over to a kind of square on the floor. She does rush me sometimes. I was taking in the feel of the room before I started work! She’d picked a good spot though. There was coloured tissue paper to scrunch up, a book to draw on and rip pages out of – yes really! Mummy wasn’t very comfortable with that one… Sticky tape in all different colours and a lamp to work by. The lamp was very hot. I know, I touched it. Twice, just to be sure. When Mummy’s friend turned up I played hide and seek with him a bit before moving over to what he called ‘an overhead projector.’ I put different coloured paper on a kind of little table with a light, and then I could see the colours on the wall! When I put my hand there Mummy showed me that on the wall too. It was all so exciting. When I tried to help another little girl get creative with colours, she got very upset. I tried to help someone else but they weren’t too keen either so Mummy asked me if I wanted to move on – she said something about a play area. I wanted to stay really, to share my artistic expertise, but the play area sounded interesting so I nodded and off we went.

The play area, or ‘Under 5s Zone,’ as they call it, is based on cubist artworks and is like no other playground I’ve been too. There’s a slide that plays a different musical instrument every time you slide down it – or walk up, as I tried to do once or twice (what? I wasn’t the only one!). There are these round thingys with soft tops – I don’t know what else to call them. They had writing on the side but I can’t read, can I? And my favourite thing (apart from that slide) was a little hiding place with lights and sounds. It was a bit like the sensory room at nursery. On the outside it had broken cups stuck to it – not sure what that was about – and the bottom of bottles in all different colours. I loved that. I stood looking at it for so long I think Mummy thought I’d fallen asleep standing up! They all had a different feel too. I spent most of my time on the slide, and playing hide and seek from Mummy and her friend in the hiding place thingy. Just as I started to get hungry, Mummy said she needed to change me before lunch.

The less said about the changing table, the better. I suppose it would have been ok for a teeny tiny baby but I’m a big boy now – all of 17 months – and the thing didn’t lie flat for me. It felt like I would fall off at any minute. I also didn’t like the fact it was behind the door. Yeah, there was space, but it felt like the door would whack me on the head every time someone opened it. Mummy sensed my terror (the shouting probably helped) and changed me standing up in the corner instead. I prefer standing up anyway, so it was ok.

The cafe was nice. The lady gave me crayons to play with while we waited. And waited. It was busy, Mummy said, as she fed me more fruit to try and distract me from the fact that my food hadn’t arrived. I started to eat the crayons. Mummy didn’t like that much so took them off me. I didn’t like that much. Just as I was about to kick off, my yummy mango smoothie arrived – in a big boy cup! – followed by my food. I had a lovely cottage pie – which apparently came free with Mummy’s meal – with carrots and peas. It came in a square china bowl. Square! But Mummy put it in my stupid plastic plate. I made a point of not putting the plate on my head or throwing it on the floor. Maybe next time she’ll let me use the proper plate. And a fork. She seemed impressed, but less so by the carrots she found when I finished (I hid them in my smoothie).

After lunch I was really really tired. I ran around outside for a bit and we looked at a big statue thingy of a body with no skin – you could see all the inside bits! I had no idea. There was a man playing a song on his guitar by the river and I started to dance to the music and close my eyes a bit so Mummy put me in my pushchair and I fell asleep to the sound of the guitar as she walked along the South Bank chatting to her friend. I had a great day and I hope Mummy takes me back soon with a friend, so that I can show them around!


Disclosure: This review was in fact written by me, Rachael (Mushroom’s Mum), imagining Mushroom’s thoughts on the day. The Tate Modern is free to visit (although a £5 donation is recommended) and we were not invited or paid to write this review, we just had a great day and wanted to share! Read my full PR and disclosure policy here.