STORY #12: ANANSI AND THE BOX OF STORIES
Updated: May 7
I have the pleasure of working quite a bit in Africa and one of my very favourite things to do when I'm over there is to sit with my team around the fire at night and tell tales! Today's story is from Ghana with a little bit of teaching about onomatopoeia again (so get ready to make lots of strange noises)!
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BACKGROUND-BYTE: Stories about Anansi the spider-god were first told in Ghana by the Ashanti people. From there they spread across Ghana, around West Africa and eventually travelled around the world! Anansi is considered in West-African myth to be the creator of the world who acts as a helpful go-between for humans when they are dealing with his dad - the sky god Nyame (apparently Anansi even got him to give us rain and night!) He is one of the most popular animal tricksters in mythology. Why do we all enjoy stories about a mischievous hero who gets away with causing trouble? Because they make us laugh and they appeal to our spirit of rebellion!
the Anansi stories travelled over to the Caribbeanin around the 16th Century when traders were capturing and transporting people over to America in terrible conditions and then into terrible lives as slaves on large plantations. Those people took their stories with them and passed them on. You can understand why Anansi’s skills in tricking and defeating creatures more powerful than himself were really valued by the communities telling the tales all that time ago. His stories could provide both hope and pride to enslaved people in their struggle to survive and their fight for freedom! The Anansi in our story today, gradually evolved to become Aunt Nancy, a spider-woman - in later tales told across the sea!
ACTIVITIES FOR YOUNG CHILDREN - EYFS / KEY STAGE 1 (0-7 years):
1. Listen to some more Anansi stories - https://www.storynory.com/how-anansi-brought-wild-animals-into-the-world/ (Storynory have quite a large collection of free Anansi stories!)
2. Visit Ghana to find out what it's like - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9zuWgLA3QU
3. Find out a bit more about spiders - https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0008mhs/maddies-do-you-know-series-3-22-spider-web-and-watering-can
4. Watch some more Anansi stories - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdsvvHpAGQc
5. Watch this video showing some incredible Ghanaian drumming and set up your own drum set at home to also have a go! - https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/exploreorg/00000144-0a36-d3cb-a96c-7b3f7f180000
6. Learn how to do some 'African drumming' with Farai - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5U8md4rZS8
7. Grab some props - of the general household variety - and check out just how dramatic you can make your own re-working of our tale!
8. Try telling the story from the snake Onini's perspective - here's a funny little video to help remind you how to organise your story - www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpWHZJZQDSE
9. Using story stones/dice to devise your own adventure for Anansi!
10. Make your own Djembe drum! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5MD3_PiCTI
11. Create your own web maze with wool - https://adayinthelifeofmom.com/indoor-fun-for-kids-create-your-own-laser-maze/
ACTIVITIES FOR OLDER CHILDREN - FOR KEY STAGE 2-4 (8-15 years):
1. Watch some more Anansi stories - https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/clips/z4qkjxs
2. Find out a bit more about tricksters in mythology - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RW1ChiWyiZQ
3. Learn about Africa's 10 most deadliest spiders - https://www.tripsavvy.com/dangerous-spiders-in-africa-1454087
4. Learn a bit more about Ghana - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTXoajrPbD4
5. Find out a bit more about the slave trade - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NXC4Q_4JVg
6. Create an comic strip or animation of the story - https://www.imagineforest.com/blog/how-to-create-a-comic-strip/ , www.storyboardthat.com/storyboard-creator https://www.canva.com/create/comic-strips/
7. Sharpen your skills before you break out your story scribbling equipment. Check out https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/z4mmn39/articles/z8t3g82 and remind yourself about the benefit of using onomatopoeia in your writing.
8. Try writing the story from Onini's (the snake) perspective or write a brand new adventure for Anansi - https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zwjsyrd/revision/2 , www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpWHZJZQDSE
9. Draw/design your own Anansi - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F73OM9xOJ0w
FOR GROWNUPS - STORY-ORIENTATED ESCAPISM:
1. If you haven't already read any Neil Gaiman - now is the time! Check out his books 'Anansi Boys' and 'American Gods' as a starting point - https://www.worldofbooks.com/en-gb/books/neil-gaiman/anansi-boys/GOR001393323?keyword=&gclid=CjwKCAjwwMn1BRAUEiwAZ_jnEjAFMRq2-JbOyoPhux9tQOAre35q-RZfmmW4dG17zv3SjTSwv1A88hoCMBkQAvD_BwE
2. Or watch Series 1 of American Gods on Amazon - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071Y85ZJB/ref=dvm_uk_sl_tit%7Cc_419849805982_m_eNiRTVFH-dc_s_
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