“Why do bad things happen?” asks my son. That question is hard enough to answer, but he doesn’t stop there. He wants to know what we could do to create a world with less violence and suffering. He is determined to find ways to fix some of the issues.
In Disney’s new animated movie, Wish, Magnifico, Asha, and Asha’s friends all ponder similar questions as they try to protect what is most important to them. Use one or more of these activities with 3-8 year olds to help them imagine helping to create a better world.
Utopia. Magnifico wants to establish a place where people can live together peacefully without experiencing pain and suffering. He requires everyone over 18 to turn over their wish to him for safekeeping. He has other rules as well: everyone must attend community gatherings and obey his commands, no one can ask him questions, etc. Ask children: Which of Magnifico’s rules do you think are helpful? Which are problematic? What rules do you think people need to follow in order to live together peacefully? Together, create a set of community guidelines for your family or group.
Interview. Before her job interview to become Magnifico’s apprentice, Asha gets lots of advice from friends and the queen about how to describe herself and what matters to her. Take turns interviewing each other for the job of Magnificio’s apprentice. Ask questions like What are your strengths? Why does this job appeal to you? How will this position help you make a difference?
Wishes. Magnifico keeps all the wishes of Rosa in the tower of his castle. They are contained within individual floating globes that show each person’s wish coming true. Ask: What are some things that you wish for? Invite children to draw their own globe with a picture of their most important wish coming true inside it.
Stars. Asha and her father often looked at the stars together. After her failed interview, she goes to their tree and gazes up at the sky. Invite children to try this guided meditation. Say: Close your eyes and take a deep breath in (pause) and let it out. (pause) Imagine you are sitting on a tree limb, looking up at the night sky. (pause) You see stars twinkling in every direction. (pause) You feel starlight shining down on you. (pause) You hear the stars whispering a message. (pause) They say, “You, too, are made of stardust.” (pause) “The universe is in you. (pause) Breathe in (pause) and out. (pause) When you are ready, open your eyes.
Beats. Asha and her friends decide to save the wishes and people of Rosa. In their hideout, they beat the tops of pots and pans in frustration and excitement as they plan what to do. Say: Asha and her friends create a beat that matches their mood. Let’s create our own beats. Encourage children to use their hands to create a beat on nearby objects. Ask them to think of different emotions and pause to listen to the beats they pair with each one. For example, ask: What does it sound like when you are angry? excited? joyful? fearful? at peace?