I’m thrilled to welcome Lindsay Swoboda, from Uplifting Anchor, as my guest! She’s sharing simple art activities for creative children.
Do you have a budding thespian, dancer, or musician in your house but were never bitten by the performing arts bug yourself? No problem!
Use these simple art activities to explore your child’s talents!
As parents, we are constantly seeking ways to both relate to and encourage our kids in their passions. Even if your child has no interest in the arts yet, it is important to instill an appreciation for a variety of experiences.
Are you ready to explore the stage? Get started with these 5 simple performing arts activities!
The Golden Rule:
Before we begin, remember that working on these activities with your child requires letting yourself play and be a little silly! Your child may not “go there” in terms of letting loose with these activities unless you do.
Create a safe space by following one of the golden rules of theater: there are no wrong ways to complete a scene or move, with the exception of not trying at all!
Keep a pace of “yes, and then what next?!” when working on these performing prompts. One of the worst things you can do for your scene partner is to cut them off at the knees with a “no- that didn’t happen”. Instead, aim to encourage whatever wacky move or plotline that flows from your child. This is all about developing creativity and confidence. Let’s play!
*You can start these activities with children as young as age 3!
Get Curious about Performing Arts
We have the world at our fingertips with the use of the internet, so get on YouTube and get ready to get curious about the different kinds of performing arts. There are links included below with prescreened content. Be aware that the farther down the search bar rabbit hole you go, not all content you find will be appropriate for kids.
Also consider looking up theater, dance, and music events in your community. There could be a show nearby that would be of interest! Seeing performances live really is the way to do it, but these clips will bring some great exploration right into your own home:
Simple Art Activities for Dance
The foundation of technical dance is ballet, so dive into some videos by The Royal Ballet Company. You can watch classics such as The Nutcracker Snowflake Dance, or some unique new stories and rehearsals!
What about tap? There are great classic pieces to watch, like the super energetic Nicholas Brothers. Newer renditions like this one by Savion Glover are also a treat. If you are feeling truly vintage, pull up this gem of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers from Swing Time.
How about modern? Bangarra Dance Theater from Australia has some very unique pieces that explore different animals, try this one about Moths from their Dance Education Resource Series.
As always, there are so many amazing videos to choose from. A few other ideas include searching past season clips from Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance.
Simple Art Activities for Theater
Theater covers a wide range, so try exposing your little one to multiple avenues.
Pilobolus is a mixture of dance and theater. Utilizing their bodies and a screen with shadow work to perform amazing pieces like this one, entitled Shadowland.
This trailer for Oliver in London, the 2009 production is a fun mashup of songs and scenes from the musical. It is great for kids to see other kids in theater, performing!
Following the excitement of seeing the young kids in Oliver, watch this performance of When I Grow Up from the musical Matilda.
The Lion King live performance is also extremely entertaining and relatable for kids!
Too young for Shakespeare? Perhaps not with this very fun clip about Shakespeare on CBeebies.
If you are looking for more theatrical exploration, you can search for Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theater, Mimes, and try out clowning too!
Easy Art Activities for Music
This is one of the most fun curious searches you can do into the world of performing arts! There are so many wonderful instruments out there, and with a few quick clicks, you can give your child’s ears a treat. Try seeking out some very unique instruments, like the accordion, didgeridoo, and Jamaican drumming. The theatrical playing by violinist Lindsey Stirling is also fun to watch.
Explore the Stage: ANYWHERE can be a stage!
Did you know stages used to be “raked”? This means that the stage was actually tilted at an angle so that the audience could see the actors. This was before we had stadium seating which lifted the audience instead.
Knowing that fact, you can explain to your child that downstage really was DOWN the stage, you were walking down the hill of the floor. Upstage required you to walk up to the back of the stage. Stage right is the actors right, stage left is the actors left. Ready to put these skills into motion?
Play a game of Simon says, utilizing the areas of the stage. Explain to your child where the audience is, consider stacking up a few stuffed animal buddies or action figures here to be your audience.
Next, say “Simon says walk upstage. Simon says walk center stage. Go stage left…” and so on.
The Emotional Body Game
This exercise is simple and fun! Explain to your child that we say a lot with our bodies. Next, have them walk across the living room or backyard without noise, just using their body to translate the emotion. Great prompts to try include: walk with sadness, anger, boredom, tired, excited, and content. Get creative with prompts like: walking the dog, running the football, attending a concert!
Alternate Uses for a Household Item
Bring out a household item and sit down with your child. Explain to them that this item has maaaaany uses, and you are going to discover them all today. The game will be finished when neither of you can think of any more uses.
Now start passing it back and forth, acting out what you can use it for. An example would be a common hairbrush: imagine it as a utensil to eat, to cook with, to row a boat, to use as a hammer, anything that is NOT what it is intended for.
This stimulates problem-solving skills and imagination.
Build a Story
This game works better with older children, but younger ones can participate too, they just generally only add a few words here and there.
Sit with your child and let them in on a secret: you are going to create a brand new, never before discovered, STORY! Start off with “once upon a time” and go on for a few sentences.
Then pass the storytelling magic onto your child. Let them elaborate on the characters and plot before they pass it back to you! If you have multiple children, make sure everyone is respecting one another’s turn to speak and create.
Which simple arts activities are you going to try first?