Little Vinayak, by Shobha Viswanath, illustrated by Shilpa Ranade (Karadi Tales, 2015)

Little Vinayak coverLittle Vinayak, by Shobha Viswanath, illustrated by Shilpa Ranade (Karadi Tales, 2015)

What the book’s about

Vinayak is a young elephant with a problem! His trunk is s-o-o-o long that it keeps getting caught underfoot, making him look clumsy. Happily for him, in this picture book based on a South Indian folktale, an older elephant who once suffered the same problem offers excellent advice to Vinayak so that the little elephant can even manage to dance!

Two Activities for kids 3 to 6

Activity 1: Giving Good Advice

For ages 4-6

Kids can offer good solutions to solve everyday problems they and their friends encounter as they learn to negotiate in the physical and social worlds.


  • Drawing paper
  • Crayons or markers


After reading Little Vinayak and inviting a discussion of the kinds of small challenges the kids have handled themselves, provide drawing paper. Show everyone how to fold the paper in half horizontally so there are two panels for drawing. Tell them to keep the paper folded and place the fold toward the bottom so that they are drawing only on the top portion of the sheet.

Ask each artist to draw a picture of the problem she or he has faced: frequently untied shoelaces that trip? spilling juice or milk from a cup that doesn’t quite make it back to the table after taking a drink? tumbling out of bed? Remind them of some of the stories they have just heard from others in the group, as well as Vinayak’s own challenge.

When the drawings are complete, collect them and redistribute the papers so that each picture of a challenge finds a new artist to draw a solution.

Activity 2: Dance Like an Elephant!

For ages 3-5

Kids match their dancing rhythms and beats to the music.


  • Three short instrumental music recordings: one slow and quiet, one faster and very loud, and the third faster but not as loud as the second*
  • Sufficient space for the group of “elephants” to dance freely


After reading the picture book and discussing how the elephants moved differently at different times, explain that the kids are going to be dancing elephants who follow the music to find the speed, beat and noise level of their dancing.

Start with the slowest and quietest piece and then move to the second and the third. Return to the second and once it’s clear that most of the elephants heard and matched the piece with a change in their dancing, start skipping about among the three pieces. Be sure to close out the dancing with the slowest and quietest piece!

*You can find royalty-free instrumental music to download for this at Purple Planet