Here are five ideas to get the creative juices flowing (and please, take these ideas, build on them, make them your own, use them as a springboard for bigger and better ideas):
Day One – Cook dinner with your child and show him or her the do’s and don’ts of preparing food.
Day Two – Have your child tell you a favorite story. Or, show your child how to type out his/her own story and save it. (It’s never too early to start learning how to use a computer!)
Day Three – Teach your child a new skill like setting the table, or cleaning the bathrooms, or mopping the floor or starting a load of laundry, or watering the plants.
Day Four – Ask your child to watch for numbers in TV programs and commercials.
Day Five – On trips, make a game of measuring distances and times. Or play “I Spy,” it’s never too early to start teaching children to pay attention to his/her surroundings!
Featured Craft of the Week:
4 to 5 year olds
Foam Animal Feet
6 to 8 year olds
9 to 12 year olds
Kid Book Club
Here is a fun activity from the book, “A Lithgow Palooza!”:
It doesn’t matter who is a Balanchine and who has two left feet, this dance is all about freedom of movement and improvisation. By exploring rhythm and tempo through isolated body parts, anyone is a dancer and choreographer.
What to do:
Get your whole body moving one glorious body part at a time. For first-time body-parts dancers, it’s helpful to have a leader, perhaps an older sibling, who can call out the body-parts directions and demonstrate the movements for everyone else to follow. Once everyone gets into the groove, rotate leaders or let the dancers do their own thing. Keeping eyes closed during the dance allows everybody to move without inhibition.
First, set the scene. A clear and open space is necessary for body-parts dancing — really any room where there is nothing sharp to bump into and the furniture can be moved against the walls. Turn off the lights or use dim, colored bulbs for a more artistic atmosphere.
Next, pick some music. If you’re bursting with energy, turn on oldies rock or contemporary pop. If everyone’s mellow, Herbie Hancock is a favorite for body-parts dancing. Look for strong percussion recordings or, for a truly rousing and joyful experience, try body-parts dancing to Prince’s “Rainbow Children.”
Dancers need to stay more than an arm’s length away from anyone or anything. Start in stillness, with everyone standing as tall and motionless as possible, listening to the music, and feeling relaxed. After a few moments, the leader calls the first body part (usually the head), and everyone follows by moving his or her head in any way and keeping all other body parts still. After a period of time, the leader calls the next body part, and dancers keep moving the head and add the second body part. This continues until the whole body is moving. Sequencing the body parts from top to bottom is a good way to make sure everything has been called: head, shoulders, elbows, hands, fingers, back, belly, hips, knees, ankles, feet, and finally toes.
When the leader shouts “Freeze,” the dancers isolate and move two or three body parts at once. If everyone’s eyes are open, the leader can instruct the group to mimic one person’s movements. If the pace of the music changes, the leader can call a slow-motion or fast-paced dance.
To end, play some slow music and have the leader call various body parts to slow down and stop, one at a time, until the room is still.