“Tall Tales with Kyle J” Offers Virtual, Interactive Storytelling for Kids

By Tom McLaughlin

Looking to read a book? Better yet, how about act one out?

The Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts (RCCA) invites kids to join everyone’s favorite storyteller, Kyle Jakubowski, for “Tall Tales with Kyle J” – a series of virtual, interactive storytelling sessions – all summer long.

Jakubowski, a 2005 graduate of Rutgers–Camden with bachelor’s degrees in theater and music, weaves his delightful word magic and captivates preschool-aged children through interactive storytelling. This year, kids can tune in virtually, making it easier than ever to join in on the fun.

“Tall Tales with Kyle J” is livestreamed from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Thursdays through Sept. 3 on the Camden County Library Facebook page, courtesy of the RCCA’s partnership with the library’s Nilsa I. Cruz-Perez Downtown Branch.

Each 30-minute weekly session includes three stories, which the children help to tell through call-and-response, creative movement, and other ways that provide engaged learning and encourage a love of words and an interest in reading.

Though the stories are inspired by some of our favorite children’s books, Jakubowski uses only voice, movement, props, and imagination to make the stories come to life. Children are given a prop list of household items each week that they can use to follow along.

The prop list for session three, to be held on Thursday, July 30, is as follows:

The Fox and the Crow

  • A sneaky grin
  • A lovely singing voice
  • Grapes (or cheese, or even an apple; something a bird might be eating on a branch)

The Bear Who Shared

  • A picture of a tall tree in your head
  • A squeaky mouse voice
  • An apple or pear or something roundish that could be an apple

Caps for Sale

  • Hats and caps for your head
  • Stuffed animals that “borrow” the caps (animals that could be hanging out in a tree: monkeys, birds, squirrels, raccoons, chipmunks, bears, or whatever you have)
  • A loud snore

Sessions one and two can be viewed on the RCCA’s YouTube page. The prop lists are as follows:

Session One

The Frog Who Wanted to be Shiny

  • A pot
  • A “long tongue”

Seals on the Bus

  • Something round
  • Gloves
  • Something long

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type

  • A blanket or two
  • Something to type on

Session Two

Gregory, the Terrible Eater

  • List of foods you don’t like to eat
  • Something you could use as a plate
  • Newspaper or a magazine

Giraffes Cant Dance

  • An awesome dance move or two
  • Space to move around a bit
  • A few different laughs
  • Cool sunglasses

The Bear and the Crow Fable

  • Bags to wear on your feet
  • A pan or bucket to wear on your head
  • Your favorite hat
  • A tie or something fancy you could easily remove (a nice hat, shiny shoes)

The RCCA also invites kids to tune in to its YouTube page for MAGIC Mondays, a weekly summer series on the art of magic and performance starring magician and elementary STEM teacher Ed “Magic Ed” Pietrzak, through Aug. 10. Magic Ed educates while entertaining with amazing tricks using recycled materials and common household items. Each episode features a hands-on workshop revealing secrets and teaching kids and families how to make a little magic at home. Check out the RCCA’s YouTube page for past performances, including Episode 1: Virtual Magic with Recycled Materials.

For more information, contact Miranda Powell at miranda.powell@rutgers.edu.

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