Paramount in my grab bag of sensory and awareness activities for young people are those with minimal set-up or explanation required, that can be done anyplace, anytime, with any number of people.
When I find myself one on one especially with a quiet or shy child, or someone I don’t yet know well, I look for a stick and the ice is immediately broken. If the child feels at all overwhelmed by the challenge of grasping the plummeting stick before it falls to the earth, they are reliably captivated by tasking me with the same. And, as they see me fail in turn yet sometimes succeed, they become reinvigorated to try again.
Mai grew up in southwestern CT, where she spent her days clamoring across barnacled boulders lining Long Island Sound, and capturing crickets to feed to her leopard frogs. She studied acting at Emerson College and graduated from Hampshire College with a self-designed B.A. in ecosystem mimicry agriculture and community circus theater. Alisha Mai has run nature-immersion programming since 2008, with Vermont Wilderness School, the Institute for Natural Learning, Wolftree Programs, White Pine Programs, and most recently, Wild Earth. Mai enjoys working with girls and teens, and incorporating physical play into her programs. She draws upon her background in theater and circus to create zany and magical experiences in nature. Alisha Mai is certified in Wildlife Track and Sign (Level II) through CyberTracker, and is a Wilderness First Responder. She teaches vinyasa yoga and aerial silks, and studies at Circus Warehouse in Queens. More about Alisha Mai's work.