When we start to think of the effects that this pandemic had on us, we tend to almost always prioritise what it’s doing to people with lost jobs, doomed businesses, people grappling with mental health issues and  how it’s affecting the economy and work culture. What’s common in all these? They’re all centered around adults. While there is plenty of content available online to understand and find out how to deal with the aforementioned issues, we are almost completely overlooking how this pandemic is affecting children.

With schools being shut and outdoor movement restricted, children around the world are losing precious time to build their social skills, experience academic success and build immunity by playing out in the open. Just like adults dealing with changes in lifestyle and working styles with work from home, children are also struggling with the new ways of learning with online classes and sessions.

We at Taal Inc. have always prioritised children’s learning and development needs and have a whole section dedicated to that called ‘Kids In Rhythm’. Sessions specifically meant to build awareness of the importance of rhythm and arts based interventions in a child’s life to inculcate life skills in them through fun and experiential ways.

As we eagerly wait to be able to do these fun and lively sessions with children in the post covid world to help them cope with the after effects of the pandemic, we came up with some fun activities for them to try at home and let their creativity and imagination blossom.

To begin with, here’s a lovely story about rhythm, hope and healing for the parents to narrate to children or for them to read on their own

The First Djembe by Shruti Pillai

A long, long time ago when there were no mobile phones and computers, and certainly before Levi’s jeans and Nike shoes, there was a village where people wore only animal skin for clothes, lived in little huts and had cattle at home for meat, milk and eggs. There was one man in this village who lived in the corner hut which faced a big and beautiful Lenke tree. He lived with his beautiful wife and his new baby son and had three cows, two goats and eight chickens in a barn.

The one sorrow in this man’s life was that his baby son was sick. He had a weak heart and the village doctor had done everything he could, but the baby wouldn’t get better. Still hopeful, he continued to take care of his son.

One night, the man’s father came into his dream. He was surprised and told his father that this was a difficult time for him and that he missed him. The father told him that the answer to his son’s illness lies in the tree outside his hut. He told him to look for a heartbeat in the tree. Just then, he was woken up by the scary sound of thunder, followed by a loud thud. The man went outside to find that lightning had struck the tree and it had fallen down. Worried, he wondered how he could possibly find a heartbeat in a fallen tree!

The next morning, the man went up to the tree’s wood and started to try different things. He broke off two branches and tapped them together in several different ways. No. It didn’t sound like a heartbeat. He got a thicker branch, hollowed it out and blew air through it. It made a sweet sound, but still nothing like a heartbeat. He took the largest part of the tree’s trunk, hollowed it and struck it. He was getting closer. But not quite there yet. He wanted a deeper sound. The man saw a piece of his wife’s old dress lying around. This dress was made of goatskin and he had an idea. With a piece of rope he tied the goatskin tightly around the top of the hollow wood and then struck it with his strong hand. Boom. This was the heartbeat he had been looking for.

Delighted, he went to his son and played this wooden heart beat for him, again and again, and before you know it, the rhythm of the drum strengthened the baby’s heart. He was nursed back to health and the boy grew up playing this instrument that they now call the djembe.

To follow up with this beautiful story, here are a few ways to engage children in creative and fun exercises:

Paint the story:

Give them some paints and a canvas and lots of creative freedom to paint the first djembe story in their own unique ways.

Find the heartbeat:

Let their inner rhythm take them on this unique sound exploration and find  everything that sounds close to a heartbeat in any way.

Make their own story:

By giving them just the main plot and characters of the first djembe story (Father, Son, A village, First djembe) ask them to weave their own story around it.

Learn to play the djembe:

There’s no better way to connect deeply with this story, the healing power of the djembe and their own inner rhythm than by learning to play the djembe.Grab a Djembe for Kids from our ongoing flash sale and register for online djembe classes for them to experience the djembe in the best way possible.

Organise a Kids In Rhythm session:

Last but not the least, to help them experience group rhythm and connect, learn and grow using djembe and expressive arts as the medium, make sure to connect with us to have a Kids In Rhythm session facilitated by our experts at their schools or gatherings.

Children are closest humans to the universal rhythm as they are a true personification of the Flow state and nothing should stop that flow of creativity, joy and expression, not even a pandemic. We hope you try these activities with children at home and we’re sure that these Interactive art sessions for kids will make their creativity soar and imagination fly.

Until We Meet Again:
-Aman Joshi
Taal Inc. Drum Circle Facilitator.