It was about 10 years ago when ‘The Llama Thing’ started. On my ‘old website’ I had written a bit about the children’s interest in llamas, this is an excerpt;
At one time the school age children I had in care became obsessed with llamas. Originally I think they just liked the way the word “llama” sounded and they liked to say it over and over. We started collecting pictures of llamas to display around the house. The children searched the internet and books for information on llamas – where they came from, what they eat, and how to care for them. They found sites where you could purchase llamas and decided they wanted a llama for a pet. When I pointed out that we couldn’t keep a llama in the city they wanted to know “why” and set out to find the answer.
They used their new found knowledge and imaginations to write stories about and build models of “Llamaland”. They played indoor & outdoor llama games like “Llamas From Space” and “Spy Llama”.
The preschool children never really caught on to the llama thing but because one of our llama poems included other animals too, the younger children developed an interest in rabbits. We read rabbit books and made rabbit crafts. I set out pop-up houses and tunnels and they spent hours every day hopping about building burrows and dens. They all became carrot lovers — kids may hate vegetables but rabbits love them!
The llama obsession lasted about two months – I call it an obsession because during that time my school-age children had ZERO other interests. Some of the parents lamented “When will this llama thing end?” Listening to the never-ending Llama Song may not or may not have helped depending on which side of the llama fence you were on.
The llama obsession did eventually end but this particular group of children (and I) continued to love llamas. Years later there was a brief llama resurgence when a new group of children discovered the llama books by Anna Dewdney. However, this group of children didn’t have much interest in llamas beyond the books. I still find llamas fascinating and continue to seek out llama stuff.
I was thrilled to discover that Folkmanis had alpaca puppets – they may consider them to be alpacas but for us they are llamas because alpaca is not nearly as fun to say. 🙂 I have bought both the stage puppet (this one does look more like an alpaca) and the hand puppet (definitely a llama).
The children have named the hand puppet ‘Mortimer’ but rarely use his name because ‘llama’ is so much more fun to say. The stage puppet is larger so therefore always just gets called ‘Mama llama’. Once, just once, I played the Llama Song video while the children were waiting for lunch to get dished up. Yes, I can see that becoming an addiction very quickly with this group too. I think we’ll stick to the puppets and books instead.