Ninjago in the Forest
Another day as a warrior
Every generation has Ninjago. There is a long history of the forces of good battling the forces of evil. The litany would include the Lone Ranger, Batman and Robin, Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Turtles, Star Wars and Star Trek. There is usually a show or a cartoon and toys and accessories to perpetuate the play. Although most parents report that their children have not watched shows or even the movies. Perhaps it is similar to an oral tradition--- the essence of the story and the characters spread from child to child through word of mouth.
We often ask our young ninjas, Trekkie's or mutant turtles if they can create their own play---come up with your own rules, storyline and characters. Yet every time I research the latest craze, I am surprised by the intricate details of the characters, the six syllable names that must be pronounced, the complicated set of rules and doctrine established and memorized by children. I am stunned that the children understand it, can communicate the language with each other, debate the storyline and reenact and stretch the scenes in ways that make sense to them.
It is an opportunity for the
children to connect, delve deep into play and test the boundaries existing between right and wrong. I asked the children that enjoy playing Ninjago in the forest to explain the story to me and describe their play.
J: We are trying to hide from Lord Garmondon, skeletons, snakes and stone army people.
N: The stony army is better than the snakes.
C: The Overlord is actually a stone army person.
N: The Overlord is a portal thing that floats and talks and then finally he turns into a big dragon and then he is Garmadon.
G:The snake that is more powerful than the stony army is the Great Devourer.
N: We can't remember all of the episodes so we just make up all of it our ownself.
C:Yeah, because it is not fair to have to follow the rules.
I: We can only make traps and golden weapons and tornadoes.
R:We do not have force fields.
N: Force fields wouldn't be fun because if you got caught in one you should stand there the whole time and not do anything.
I: We made this decision so it would be more fun.
T: We also made a decision that no one can never be invincible and never die.