Ten Things To Try if You’re Scared In A Storm…

A multi-layered felt thundercloud in lots of shades of grey against a black felt background. The cloud has six jaggedy yellow zigzags of lightning coming out of it in different directions, some smaller, a couple of 'em whoppers. It looks quite scary and a bit angry.

Our director, Katerina, has always been a bit scared of thunder and lightning. Here, she shares her favourite calm activities to pass the time at home during stormy weather.

  1. Make a playlist of songs for different weather: write down lots of different kinds of weather and think of any songs that remind you of them. See if the other people you live with know any more songs that remind them of weather. Listen to all the songs in turn, and as you listen to each one try moving your body like that kind of weather. Or, if you really love one kind of weather, you could make a playlist of songs all about that. Then put them on, shut your eyes and imagine what you might be doing if the weather was like that: pick a few different activities and then try acting them out while you listen to the songs.
  2. Beat The Storm at its own game! Every time you see a flash of lightning, shout  “kapow!” and make a quick lightning shape with your body (it might look like a star or a zigzag or a superhero pose: it’s up to you!). Whenever you hear thunder, get down low and roll your arms (as if you’re winding the bobbin up) and say in a very deep voice “rumble, rumble, rumble” until it stops. See if you can get louder and quieter at the same time as the storm. Once you’ve mastered Beat The Storm, see how many different versions of the game you can make up. Play with changing different elements, like:
    • how loud and quiet the storm is (you might make your thunder/lightning sounds and movements whisper, or get slowly louder, or get loud and quiet in turn)
    • how fast or slow the storm is (for example, you could try making your thunder really fast and your lightning slow-motion).
    • the words the storm says: imagine what kind of characters the thunder and lightning might be, and try replacing ‘rumble’ and kapow’ with different words you think those characters might say
  3. Colour naming: Find a really comfortable position in a quiet room, and oh-so-slowly, oh-so-quietly, name all the colours you can see. Start on one side, and looking at each object in turn, say the name of its colour out loud. It’s not about doing it best or fastest: this is a chance to enjoy all the colours of the space, really wallow in them. Notice the difference between one green and another, between a bright orange and a dark one. Spend some time thinking about what objects or places each colour reminds you of.
  4. The story of a moment: Think of a moment when you felt really relaxed, and tell somebody else the story of that moment. Or if you’re playing on your own, you could try writing it down or drawing a comic book / photo story all about that moment. Try to include as many details as possible about what happened in that moment:
    • what the weather was like?
    • do you remember what you could see?
    • what colours and shapes do you remember?
    • could you hear any music or any other sounds?
    • were you eating or drinking anything?
    • what position were you in?
    • were you still or moving?
    • what kind of movement?
    • were there any smells that you remember?
    • were there any people, animals or plants nearby?
    • could you feel anything else on your skin or in your body?
  5. The shape of the clouds: Choose an object or group of objects you really like moving around: it could be anything from a nice bit of shimmery fabric to some building blocks you enjoy. Lay if out gently in front of you. Then listen to the sounds of the storm, without looking out of the window. When you hear thunder, imagine the shape of the clouds in the sky outside and move your object/s around to look like they look in your imagination. When you hear thunder again, move them to make a new shape. You could try doing this with a few different kinds of objects.
  6. Make up weather characters for the thunder, the lightning, the rain and the wind. You could:
    • write down what personalities they might have, and what might they look like if they were people or animals
    • draw pictures of your weather characters and make up funny names for them
    • act out your weather characters with your voice or your body: do impressions of how they talk / move, and think about what they might say or do
  7. Go smell-seeking! Search your home for:
    • three things that smell tasty
    • three things that smell sleepy
    • three things that smell friendly
    • three things that smell like a place where you feel happy
    • three things that smell like a specific person you like spending time with.
  8. Get creative with the smells you’ve collected from your home. You could try:
    • writing a list of all the smells you find and describing them in as much detail as possible with words
    • drawing pictures of what each smell looks like
    • doing a dance about some of the smells
    • making up a song with all your smells in
    • making up a story that includes some of the smells
    • performing your song, story or dance to an audience: and giving them the smells to pass around and sniff while they enjoy the show!
  9. Create a sensory picture of the storm: Start by drawing a picture of the storm outside your home. Label the main shapes in your picture: you might find lightning, dark clouds, lighter clouds, blue sky, brown walls, and so on. Then gather 3D objects to represent each item: try to find things you can make into the shapes from your picture (make sure you ask before ripping or cutting anything up!). Choose objects which feel really interesting and different from each other. For example, you could make your lightning out of sand, or a sponge, or a wooly sock. Set out all your 3D objects like the shapes in the picture.
  10. Make up music about the storm: Shut your eyes and listen to all the different sounds you can hear in the storm. The thunder might have low rumbles and sharp cracks, the rain might sound like lots of big drops or just one SHHHHHH sound, the wind might be making a high up singing sound and also making a gate creak or bang. Think up ways you can use your voice, your body or objects to copy the different noises the storm makes. Then, try putting the different nosies together and see how they sound. Look out for the combinations of sounds you like best. Then decide on a story for your storm: it might start quietly in the distance, get louder and slower when it’s nearby, and then disappear quietly into the distance: think about what the real-life storm did and see if that gives you any ideas. If you’re able to, you could try recording the music you make so you remember it later.

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