How to Plan an Urdu Story Time

Planning an Urdu Story Time: Tips and Resources

Arranging an Urdu Story Time is a great way to encourage interest in Urdu for children in a fun way. Children pick up on the language through songs, stories and activities in a social setting. Maybe you have been thinking about taking your children to one, but there is none happening near you. You can plan your own! Here are some tips on how to plan an Urdu story time with suggestions of songs and stories to include.

How to Plan an Urdu Story Time: Age Group

It’s best to keep the age group of children close when you plan a story time. These groups work best: Under 2, 2-4, 5-7, 8-10, 10+. This is keeping in mind the interests, attention span and entertainment needs of the children. (If you have to, you can mix the age groups, but you will need to tweek the content).

How to Plan an Urdu Story Time: Parent Participation and Numbers

The purpose of urdu story time is to enrich the love of urdu in the family. These sessions also remind parents of forgotten stories and poems which can be repeated at home, in the car or while playing therefore enforcing the content. I’m a big believer that one of the parents or a regular caregiver must attend with the children if they can, especially for children under the age of 8. I bring this up with numbers because you will be counting every child with parent, if you decide to have a parented program (highly recommended). To keep the program effective and if space allows have a maximum of 7-8 children.

How to Plan an Urdu Story Time: Logistical details

  • Choose a space devoid of distractions. So a simple carpeted area with no toys, no TV and outside interference (read note on cell phones below). This space can be a community room, someone’s basement, or a living room. When you prepare the space, remove as many distractions as you can. You can place a blanket on the floor to mark the story time area.
  • The total time required is one hr from which only 30 minutes will be the actual story time. Give parents 15 minutes at the beginning for arrival and meet and greet. And 15 minutes at the end for chatting and goodbyes.
  • I know being late is a favorite desi vice but ask parents to be on time to model punctuality for children.
  • When parents arrive, ask them to leave all bags and shoes at the entrance (set up an area for that) and join everyone on the floor.
  • Remind parents that when they arrive on time and the child has time to transition to story time in a relaxed way, they enjoy and learn more (rushing a child out of the car and arriving huffing and puffing late is a recipe for a very frustrated little one).
  • The 15 minutes set aside for arrival is this transition time. For example, event start time is 11 a.m. Everyone arrives at 11 a.m. and settles down. Story time starts at 11.15 a.m. sharp.
  • Keep a rule for no food/drinks and toys. These cause major conflicts between children.
  • At the start of story time give parents the logistical details like where the nearest washroom is, if the child gets cranky to step out and to participate fully (remind them there will be plenty of time for pictures and gupshup at the end).
  • I know most south asian events are about food, but I would highly recommend keeping story time simple.

Cellphones

I have kept a special section for cellphones because this is a topic very close to my heart. Ask parents to keep their phones on silent and away during the entire duration of story time. When parents don’t listen to stories and participate in singing because they are busy taking pictures of their darling at urdu story time to be shared with family later, guess what happens? The child also looses interest. So as parents, it’s important to model good listening behavior and participation. Ask them to keep cellphones away.

Leading

One parent can lead the program or a few can take turns. You might think that you do not have the best singing or reading-out-loud voice and feel conscious. But children are drawn more to enthusiasm than anything else. So forget your hangups and have fun! Your voice is beautiful. Take my word for it.

Flow:

This is my suggested flow to have an engaging story time. (There are suggestions for content to pick in the sections below)

  • Start with a welcome and naming song. This helps children feel valued and also to remember the names of their friends.
  • Do a couple of easy songs
  • Read a story
  • Get up on your feet and do a couple of action songs
  • Puppet time
  • Read a story
  • Activity/song
  • Farewell song

For every session write down your plan. This will help you stay on track and time.

If all the children are older than 8 you can increase activity time with a craft and stretch story time by 15 minutes.

Finding great content is the biggest challenge to have a successful urdu story time. I have a few suggestions here and will keep adding content.

Books:

For book suggestions read my post on recommendations for great urdu books for children and how to find them. For younger children choose books that have bright pictures and easy words. Ask children questions about the story at the end of every reading session.

If you can not find great urdu books, use english ones and translate as you go. You can also use sticky tags on each page with urdu translations.

Welcome song:

You can make your own simple welcome song or use this one that I have created:

Ayein Ayein, Aap Sab Ayein” (clapping)

Ab Hum Sab Mil Kar Gayen” (clapping)

Khushi Se Apne Haath Hilayein” (Stretch hands and wiggle fingers)

Aur Zor Se Taali Bajain

Ayein Ayein, Aap Sab Ayein” (clapping)

Ab Hum Sab Mil Kar Gayen” (clapping)

Audio Clip here:

 

Urdu Name Song:

Kushamdaid [name], Kushamdaid [name], Kushamdaid [name], Shukriya aap yahan aye…

Audio Clip here:

 

How to Plan an Urdu Story Time: Urdu Songs and Poems

Do checkout this section on my blog about Urdu poems for lots of ideas. A few more suggestions for easy Urdu songs by Sufi Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum are:

How to Plan an Urdu Story Time

Cheenchu Cheenchu Chacha

How to Plan an Urdu Story Time

Paanch Choohay

How to Plan an Urdu Story Time

Azra ke Gurya

How to Plan an Urdu Story Time
(For the tumak song above I would recommend using aapke instead of teare, doesn’t have effect on rhyme)

Suraya ke gurya

How to Plan an Urdu Story Time

How to Plan an Urdu Story Time: Action Songs

These are basically the same songs as the ones above, but done while the kids are on their feet, so add more movement and actions supporting the lyrics.

How to Plan an Urdu Story Time: Puppets

Puppets add fun and versatility in story time. You can give the puppet a name, a certain voice and personality. Children will soon get attached and look forward to story time to meet their friend. I use hand made puppets I bought from Lok Virsa in Islamabad. You can however use any. Ikea has great cheap finger puppets. You can also make your own by using some old abondaned socks and drawing eyes and expressions on them.

 How to Plan an Urdu Story Time 

How to Plan an Urdu Story Time: Activity

Here are a few ideas for urdu games for younger children on my blog.  You can extend them for older kids.

You can also ask kids to bring an item following a certain theme such as something starting with the alphabet of the week and then talk about it.

Revive interest in games you played as kids by introducing them to children such as Kona Kona, Unch Nech, Kokla Chapati, Akar Bakar etc (detailed blog coming on this soon). Get creative and have fun!

Farewell Song:

Khuda Hafiz [name], Khuda Hafiz [name], Khuda Hafiz [name], Shukriya aap yahan aye…

Voice Clip here:

 

Frequency:

You can keep Urdu story time once a week or twice a month as schedules allow. You can also do a quarter model for sessions by doing 8 sessions in a row and then taking a break and resuming again with 8 sessions. This will allow people to sign up if they can commit to 8 weeks.

Let me know how you like these ideas or if you have ever arranged an Urdu story time. I always love hearing from you!

One thought on “Planning an Urdu Story Time: Tips and Resources

  1. Great details! I have been thinking of of arranging story time for my children but just didn’t know where and how to start! Thanks for the detailed article!

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