Achieving Piet’s diploma for children: assignments and ideas
Poor Saint Nicholas has to do so much in such a short time! Fortunately he has help from Pakjespiet, Snoeppiet, Postpiet and of course Hoofdpiet. But to become a real Piet, you naturally need a diploma. And you first have to take an exam for that. Would you like to obtain a Piet’s diploma and become an accomplished Piet? Some tips, ideas, tests and assignments for a fun morning or afternoon with the children at school, at a children’s party or in the youth association.
Course for obtaining a Piet diploma
This course can be played in a kindergarten, but also at a children’s party or in a youth club. The aim is to take a number of tests and thus become an accomplished Piet in various disciplines. There are “wild” trials and “calm” trials so that children can let off steam and then do something easy to catch their breath.
Pakjespiet is the person who wears the packages for the Saint. He must also be able to walk on the roof and maintain his balance. He must be very strong. He has to drop the parcels neatly into the chimney. Hence a number of strength and agility exercises. So the wilder work. The supplies are a number of cardboard (shoe) boxes of various sizes, possibly weighted with stones or sand, and then beautifully and festively wrapped. Also a number of benches from the gym. A wastebasket and five balls.
Place all children in a row. Stack the packages, the largest and heaviest at the bottom, the smallest and lightest at the top. Make two groups. Child 1 of each group may now carry a package from the stack to the other side, without falling and without losing the package. Depending on the age, it can be straight ahead or a bit more complicated. With slightly older children you can make a small obstacle course. Place chairs where the children have to move around or about. With the largest you make a complicated course with benches and chairs. Then it is the turn of child 2 of each group. It goes on like this until the whole pile is on the other side. The group of children who hit the other side perfectly and first, without having dropped packages, gets 1 point.
Passing and accepting parcels
Pakjespiet is of course not alone. There are more helpers. The presents sometimes have to be passed on. Make a circle with those present. Give them a package and let them pass it on. Children who drop the package have to get out of the circle. The child that remains last gets 1 point. Play the game about five times, so that several children get a point. For older children, it gets more fun when several parcels are passed at the same time, and even more fun when they are passed in two directions. Laugh!
Walk on the roof
One step further and more difficult. In the gym you can put a bench, with the wide side up for small children, with the narrow side up for larger children. Put the children back in line one after the other. One by one they now have to transfer the bank. Be careful not to lose your balance! If the children are really handy, you can do the same with a stack of packages. Anyone who hits the other side in one piece gets another point.
Parcels in the chimney
Pakjespiet must also neatly drop the packages into the chimney. So he must be able to aim well. Supplies are a wastebasket and five balls. Line up the children in a row. Each child may throw a ball into the wastebasket five times. For each hit, the child scores one point. For older children, the wastebasket may be held in the air and the package aimed at it, as with basketball.
Snoeppiet makes the candy and also has to taste it. These are some calmer tests. Here you need: a number of plastic plates (numbered), various foods such as sugar, salt, pieces of apple, syrup, lemon juice, milk, etc., pen and paper. For smaller children, pictures of the different foods are also needed. For older children possibly a blindfold.
The trial trial
Place the different types of food on the numbered plates, as many pieces as there are children or a lot big enough for everyone to taste. Big children receive a pen and paper. They take turns to taste all the plates and write down for each number, without saying anything to each other, what is on the plate. Smaller children are given pictures of the food and have to combine plate and picture. For older children it is a little more difficult to guess correctly when they are blindfolded. They now have to taste and remember what was on which plate. After the test, quickly take off the blindfold, take pen and paper and write it down! For each correctly guessed sign 1 point.
The stuff-once-full test
For this one needs a number of small things that one can eat, such as nic nac cookies, gingerbread cookies, tic tac, smarties or raisins. Each child receives a sign with eg. 10 pieces. When the go-ahead is given, everyone starts to eat. For the larger one, one can make it more difficult by letting them eat without hands. They can only use their mouth. Whoever has his plate and mouth empty first wins the stuff-once-full test and gets 1 point. This test can be repeated several times, in between the other tests, in such a way that different children can get a point again and that they do not overeat.
This requires candy laces. Attach it to a rope that is stretched slightly higher than the children’s mouth height. Put each child under a lace, their hands behind their back. At the starting signal, the children start to snack, only with their mouths. Put your hands behind your back! Do not touch the rope or touch the candy laces with your hands! Whoever gets on his lace first wins a point. This test can also be repeated several times in between the other tests.
Postpiet receives the mail, has to read it and also has to answer it. But Petes must also be funny and act crazy. This is a mixture of calm and wild. The supplies are a large bag, magazines, pen and paper.
Fill a large burlap or linen bag with magazines. Leave the bag open and put a little too many magazines in it. Create an easy or difficult obstacle course according to the age of the children. Line up the children in a row. They complete the course one by one. Whoever falls or loses magazines is eliminated. Whoever reaches the other side unscathed, wins another point. The message here is to be fast yet careful!
Read and reply to letters
Have each child write a note to Sinterklaas. Then all letters go into the bag. Then each child randomly takes a letter from the bag. Now the Postpiet has to answer the drawn letter. A good exercise for the language lesson.
The Auxiliary Pets
The Saint also has auxiliary puppies. They are the jack of all trades. They have to help here and there, but they also have to be crazy all the time. A few experiments to practice on that a bit.
The crazy dance test
One by one the children have to do a crazy dance. Pull crazy faces, squeeze in all kinds of turns. The crazier the better, because here too you can earn another point.
The help puppies should also be able to do a little gymnastics. On a long mat, the huppets have to make a series of tumbles one after the other. Whoever gets to the other side without any problems wins a point.
Blowing and waving
The auxiliary pets must also be blowing all the time and waving to all the children. Divide the children into different groups. Have each group develop a special “wave technique”. The most beautiful, funniest or most original group wins a point.
Hoofdpiet has many tasks. Help Saint dress dress, carry the big book, get along well with the horse, watch the help puppies and keep them in line, always be friendly and polite. Hence a number of tests to test all these skills.
The dressing test
Here you need some clothes, namely a hat, a ring, a stick and a cloak. Sinterklaas has called you, he needs his clothes. The children are lined up in a row again. At the starting signal, they take their clothes and run along the obstacle course as quickly as possible. Don’t drop or trip over anything! If you hit the other side, you have earned another point.
Big book trial
Look for a large and heavy book (eg telephone directory). Create an obstacle course or reuse the previous one. The Saint needs his book quickly. Line up the children in a row. With the book on their head they have to go across, without losing the book and without falling. Little ones can use their hands, the big ones have to do without. Arriving across the street with a book is good for one point.
The horse trial
Try straight ahead or along the obstacle course in pairs. Climb on the back of a blindfolded friend, your horse. Give him orders and lead him flawlessly across. If successful, the rider gets a point. Then riders become horses until everyone has been a rider and has been able to get their point.
Watch the auxiliary pets
You can compare this game a bit with Skipper may I sail over? The children next to the leash are the help puppies. The skipper is the Hoofdpiet. The Auxiliary Pets now receive assignments from the Hoofdpiet and must carry them out properly. Whoever does it correctly can stay. Anyone who makes a donkey or makes mistakes flies out. Which helper is the last to remain?
At the end of the tests, all would-be Pieten receive a nice diploma with the tests taken and beautiful drawings of Sint and his Pieten to color. On the site www.sinterklaasessen.be you will find a number of beautiful coloring pictures and an example of a Piet’s diploma. The Pete who has achieved the most points receives a special mention and possibly a small gift. After that, all children get a mandarin and a drink.