First I taped a large piece of craft paper to the wall with two columns and labeled them “real” and “magical”. I asked Travis to name real items first. The list he came up with certainly isn’t the one I would have, but that was part of the lesson’s charm!
I thought “magical” might be harder for him but he was familiar with concepts from favorite stories, including “magic wand” and “the Force.” I pointed out to him the key to the magical realism genre: a story that takes place in a real setting, but that has magical elements that the characters accept to be real.
With that definition in place, we followed up with concrete examples: a book and a movie. First he watched James and the Giant Peach, a great example because it starts out with live actors and then transforms to animation once the magic sets in.
Next was a read-aloud of Where the Wild Things Are and Travis pointed out the magical components of the story as we came to them.
As a final task, we made up our own magical realism story. You can run through the elements of a story with your kids first, namely:
Travis’s tale was a bit simplified, but it centered around a vortex that opened up (magical!) while he was playing with his friend on the school playground (real!) where an alien came to meet them.
The alien had 14 eyes and 34 legs. What creativity! There wasn’t exactly a problem or solution to his tale, but for a kindergarten, it was a great first intro to this genre.