Night with Andersen first started in 2000 in The Czech Republic and has since grown internationally. The date has been chosen to mark the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen. To promote and encourage reading books, children stay in a library overnight and read stories together with adults.
Organisers send us regular emails during the year to let us know what theme we will be looking at next time, and ideas for games and quizzes. Sometimes this is a challenge for children who lack the knowledge of Czech background, such as fairy tales, movies, Czech authors and current good night stories (Večerníček).
The Czech and Slovak Club Tauranga organised a second Night with Andersen this year. We have decided this time to include a sleepover. We found a suitable venue – a newly renovated Girl Guiding hall. We only invited children between the ages 6 and 10. Klára has prepared games and activities related to this year’s theme – The Little Mermaid. The evening started off with a feast of “knee” pasta (kolínka) with ketchup and cheese … It’s hard to believe how much kids can eat. This was followed up by feijoas for desert.
We started with activities after dinner. Children had to find blue pieces of card with a Czech nautical word on it … some of them were missed and we found them in the morning 🙂 … We went over the vocabulary, which was then used in the crossword. Klára introduced their workbooks, which were made to improve their vocabulary, colour in and act as a memento of the evening, together with the lovely postcard sent from Czech Republic and a few lollies to sweeten the day.
During the evening children got the chance to catch their own fish, play tossing games, listen to a song and the beautifully narrated Little Mermaid story in Czech. Soon it was time for the lights to go out. Quite a few of the kids were claiming to be tired, they even looked it, but that still didn’t stop the chattering that went on until just past 10pm! The rain woke us up and after a light breakfast it was time to tidy up, play with the big parachute and balls and patiently wait for parents to picks the kids up.
It looked like all had a good time. A massive thank you to Jana Bennett who stepped in at the last minute as the other “volunteer” had to go to work. Also a huge thanks to Klára who single handedly organised and ran the whole evening of fun with Andersen!
Considering this being my first sleeover with kids, since moving to New Zealand, it might not be the last. I enjoyed it and was actually impressed how well behaved the kids were. There were a few moments, but overall they were fantastic. Let’s see what the next Night with Andersen brings!
By Aja and Klara