Friday, November 11, 2011

Review: Children's Spirit Animal Cards

Children's Spirit Animal Cards by Dr. Steven D. Farmer, Published by Satiama
When I read that the Children's Spirit Animal card deck had won so many awards - Creative Child Magazine 2011 Seal of Excellence, the Mom's Choice Gold Medal Award 2011 and the Parent-Tested Parent-Approved Seal of Excellence award - I knew I had to order the deck not only for my own work and card collection, but to also review for the Mind Body Spirit Odyssey.

First of all, the illustrations on the 24 card deck by Pamela Anzalotti are not only stunning, but perfect for their visual appeal to children (as well as adults).  The lush, rich colors and clear illustrations are ideal for helping the viewer understand and sense the spiritual essence and purpose of the animals portrayed.

In the introduction to the deck, the author explains that animals are unique expressions of Spirit/God, and that where they appear as a symbol, dream, statue - or even through the cards - there is an important message that is trying to be communicated through that particular animal.  The cards can act as a catalyst for guidance and support.  They can also be used as a tool to open up a discussion between the parent and child using the animal, it's qualities and purpose as a focal point.

For example, an excerpt from the Eagle card says:

Do the right thing
Eagle says:  "As you are growing up you will be faced with a lot of choices.  Some of these will be fairly easy, such as what you want for breakfast or what game you want to play with a friend.  Other choices will be more difficult, such as whether to take that piece of candy from a friend..."

The open ended message at the end of the Eagle card then goes on to ask questions that are designed to stimulate a young child to think, while still conveying that they need to be vigilant and brave, like an Eagle, in their vision and choices that they make.
At the end of the message, for each card, there is a short list of suggested activities designed to prompt the adult (if needed) into expanding the discussion or engaging in an actual project with the child.
As someone who use to be an Art Therapist, Counselor and art teacher for young children (as well as being a parent), I can definitely see where this set of cards would be extremely valuable working with children on all kinds of levels, in all kinds of situations.  In addition to being an excellent facilitator for  opening up discussions about spiritually and religious teachings (without advocating any particular spiritual viewpoint or belief system), the potential therapeutic value these cards hold for a child counselor is amazing.  From an art/teaching standpoint, I could easily envision myself back with my 5 year old clay class... pulling a card, taking about the animal and it's qualities with the class and then having them create "their" version of the animal.  I know my own kids, when they were young, would have enjoyed these cards too.  Visually, as well as to stimulate their imagination and creative play.

This deck is wonderful. I highly recommend it and can definitely understand why it has won so many awards.  Well done Dr. Farmer and company!

This card deck is recommended for ages 6 and above.  It can be ordered directly from Satiama or through Amazon.

~ diane fergurson

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1 comment:

  1. These look cool to use in my OMazing Kids yoga classes! I just ordered a set on Amazon after reading your review.



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