In 2009 I taught a wonderful class of 30 Year 1 children. I have many fond memories of that class but one that sticks out is us participating in the Wild in Art Baby Elephant Project. Earlier that summer Norwich was home to elephant sculptures that were dotted around the city. That October our class was home to a baby elephant for two weeks. We had the task of decorating him.
At the time my class were working in partnership with a school in Kenya. We worked collaboratively on the elephant with each school designing one side. The Kenyan school designed an African sunset with three animals.
Our side was a Norfolk seaside with the Scroby Sands wind turbines in the distance.
One of the elephants ear represented a map of Africa and the other was a map of East Anglia. Along the trunk, back and tail my class painted their handprints to represent the friendship across the world.
We had great fun painting the elephant – although it was tricky at times to keep the acrylic paint off of school clothes! We named our baby elephant ‘Timba.’ During the holiday he was showcased at our local library.
When I heard the Intu Elephant Parade was coming to Norwich I knew we had to take Adam. Instead of being around the whole of Norwich they were just in Chapelfield Mall –a more toddler friendly distance although Adam would have loved to have attempted the challenge.
The Elephant Parade is the world’s largest open air art exhibition of decorated elephant statues that seeks to raise public awareness and support for Asian elephant conservation.
Adam took to the elephants straight away. The first one he went up to and kissed its trunk. This became a theme for the rest of the day. See an elephant, climb up to it, cuddle and kiss its trunk, climb down and run to the next elephant.
They had an art table inside the Chapelfield Mall where you could design your own elephant. We were surprised that Adam sat for at least 10 minutes fully engaged in colouring his elephant.
There was an option of participating in the Eye Spy Elephant Trail competition but we opted for just enjoying the elephants.
The elephant trail led us outside to St Stephens Street where Adam was momentarily distracted by the buses.
Unfortunately there are no animals planned for this summer but we are already looking forward to 2015 which is when the Dragons will descend on Norwich.
The elephants are in Norwich until 4th May and then continue their tour of the UK until the end of July. Are they coming to a town near you?
Check our other toddler friendly venues in ‘Adventures of Adam around Norfolk’.
Adam was 23 months old.
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