Dharma 4 Kids Festival 2012 & A Chocolate Giveaway!

Hi everyone! Here’s a few pics that I wanted to share from this year’s Dharma for Kids Festival. We went to this festival for the first time last year and enjoyed it so much that we decided to go again. Lil’ L had been looking forward to it all year! The festival took place at the beautiful Nagarjuna Centre in Kelmarsh, near Northampton (about a 3-hour drive from Bath). This place has such a relaxed atmosphere. It’s got a fantastic cafe with an outdoor seating area, where M and I love to sit, chat, and drink cappuccinos while Lil’ L’s busy having fun with his friends πŸ™‚ The theme of the festival was ‘You Before Me‘ and, over the course of the weekend, there were workshop sessions, meditations and activities arranged for the children and teenagers based on the theme of ‘kindness’. There was a dedicated art marquee where the children could make objects that they would like to see in a ‘Kind World’. They made marzipan tormas and mandala sets out of paper and coloured rice. Here’s the results of Lil’ L’s torma making… There was table football, table tennis, a karaoke marquee, bouncy castles, and gladiators. And lots of opportunities for general larking about. On the Saturday morning, I got a surprise call from my friend Nicky to tell me that her family were ditching their original plans for the day, and were going to join us instead πŸ™‚ They got in their car and drove for 2+ hours simply to spend the afternoon with us (what total stars they are!) Seeing them at the festival made the weekend even more special for me. I wish I’d taken a few pics but I was way too engrossed in the chat. At that point, photography was the last thing on my mind! We paid for day passes to the festival (M, Lil’ L and I stayed overnight at the nearby Travel Plaza) and I was happy to find that the passes included all meals. The food was fantastic! All veggie of course, which saved us having to sift through the buffet πŸ˜‰ On the Sunday afternoon, the children had the option of taking part in a drama session, where they enacted ‘The Giving Tree’. I’m sure my American readers will be familiar with this story, but I’d never heard it before. Lil’ L’s only encounter with the book till that point had been through reading one of the Wimpy Kid books. Apparently the Wimpy Kid is terrified of the author on the back cover. I have to say, I know what he means! You should have seen Lil’ L’s face when he realised that it was that book! [source] ‘The Giving Tree is one of those special stories that has very few words, yet leaves a great impression on the reader. I’m sure everyone that reads the story will have their own take on what it’s all about. Seeing that I tend to read everything from a Buddhist perspective, for me, the story is first and foremost a lesson in where happiness truly comes from. I’m sure there’s also some environmental messages in there. Anyway, I’d be interested to know whether you’ve read this story yourself and what you think of it. The children at the Buddhist festival acted out the story beautifully. Last week I thought that I’d try it with my Wednesday Workshop kids too. We first read the story using a powerpoint version I found on the Internet, then we watched an animated version from YouTube (there’s many version of the story on YouTube but I thought that this one was well suited to the kids in my groups). We then acted it out. It was a bit manic but the kids were so enthusiastic and had a whale of a time. We decided that a more suitable title for our version would be ‘The Crazy Tree and Mad Boy’! Since then, we’ve followed on the ‘giving’ theme in our Wednesday Workshops and, this week, after a beautiful meditation, the children made bookmarks to give to a friend or relative, and I gave each of them a cookie πŸ™‚ It’s Giveaway Time! Continuing with the ‘giving’ theme, I think it’s about time that I gave something away to you, my lovely blog readers. It’s been a while hasn’t it? Does anyone fancy some of my home-made raw chocolate hearts? You do? Well, I would be very happy to share some with you! There are four ways that you can enter, and each way counts as a separate entry. So, if you enter all four ways, you’ve quadrupled your chances of winning. Happy days! Here’s how to enter:
  1. Leave me a comment below
  2. Follow me on Twitter (@Goodstuffsharon) and leave a comment below to let me know
  3. Tweet the Giveaway and leave a comment below to let me know
  4. Follow me on Facebook and leave a comment below to let me know
The giveaway is open to everyone, regardless of where you live. I’ll select a winner at random onΒ Friday, 5th October. Good luck everyone! And have a great weekend xx    

21 thoughts on “Dharma 4 Kids Festival 2012 & A Chocolate Giveaway!

  1. Wow, it’s been a year already since the last time you went? I remember thinking how awesome it was then, and hearing about it again confirms that thought! The Giving Tree is one of my favorite books and we have read it many, many times in our family. I love Shel Silverstein anyway–all of his work is incredible. My kids love him too, even though he does look a bit freaky. πŸ™‚
    To me, the message of the book is one of giving and how giving to others just to make them happy and expecting nothing in return can bring true happiness. I also see the environmental message, which is good, but I really like the giving & generosity thing. It is something we talk about a lot with our boys.
    Ooh, another chocolate giveaway! Of course I would love to win–those things are AMAZING! πŸ™‚

  2. I already follow you on Twitter. You are one of few who sends me personal messages (when I manage to even get on my account!) so thank you for that!!

  3. And, I just tweeted about this awesome giveaway because I want the whole world to taste how amazing they are.

  4. The Giving Tree is one of my favorite books and the pure love of the tree for the boy is just so moving. So glad you all were exposed to it (scary author and all). Shel Silverstein also has books of poems which are hilarious and perfect for kids Lil’ L’s age.
    The festival looks like tons of fun and what a great idea to help children learn to be more accepting and peace loving. I wish we had such a festival here…and with vegetarian food OH how delightful.
    As for your giveaway I know your chocolates are oh so delicious and yes I would totally LOVE to win some.
    Have a fantastic weekend all 3 of you.

  5. The festival sounds wonderful! I think it’s great to teach kids about kindness and giving. I’ve never heard of The Giving Tree, but I have to agree that the author is one scary-looking man!
    Having tried your raw chocolate before I would love to win some again πŸ™‚

  6. Hi Sharon
    All the recipes and pics look blooming lovely!
    V happy to enter the choccie comp!
    Catherine J, Batheaston

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