Now this is a topic dear to my heart! In Year 12, three of my five subjects were performing arts based and in doing my teaching degree, I majored in drama. Basically, I acted, danced and sang my way through as much of my education as was humanly possible!
As a teacher, I have explicitly taught drama and directed and choreographed many a primary school production, but more than that, I incorporate performing arts into many standard classroom lessons. For those students who thrive on performance (and my daughter is one of them) providing opportunities for performing arts to be part of education, allows these children to flourish.
I also strongly believe that experiences in performing arts foster confidence, strength, empathy, social interaction skills and resilience. You cannot go wrong with a little drama!
Here we offer 10 simple ways to bring the dramatic into your home, and no, we’re not talking about moody adolescents!
- Sing Star – There are so many aps and games that involve karaoke and what better way to have a laugh, and some fabulous family fun than to participate in a karaoke afternoon. It’s also terrific reading practise for the kids and a wonderful opportunity for you to impress them with your stylings and introduce them to some ‘real’ music.
- Old-Fashioned Fun – You cannot go wrong with good ole-fashioned charades. Each member of the family can think of (and keep secret) 5 movies, books or songs they think everyone in the family has heard of. Each person writes down their ideas and places them in a bowl. Then take turns drawing out one of the ideas and silently acting it out for others to guess. You can decide, depending on the ages and ability levels of your children, just how many of the proper ‘charades rules’ you teach.
- Dance-Off – Who doesn’t love a dance-off? Well, probably quite a few of you, but your kids will love it and if you let yourself go, I promise, you’ll love it too; a sneaky wine might help release the inhibitions!! In this dance-off, the kids give the parents a song and the parents give the kids a song and both parties have to choreograph and perform a dance to their song. Bring it!!
- Master Class – Have your child help prepare a simple meal and while you are working together to get it on the table, pretend to be filming a cooking show; explain each ingredient and each step along the way. You could even set up a camera and film yourselves.
- May I Take Your Order?– Sticking with the inspiration of food, stage a restaurant at home. Your child/ren can be waiters and must choose a costume, character voice and general personality. They can then welcome you, explain the specials, take your order and bring you your food. Children are usually quite familiar with the role of waiters, so this a comfortable and fun role-play.
- Song Writer – With your child, brainstorm a stack of random words (10-20 would be fine). Then place these words in a bag and have your child lucky-dip 5 of them. They must then write and perform a song, using those 5 words. You could join in too, if you like!
- Role reversal – for one afternoon (or just an hour, if that’s all you can stand), swap roles with your children. You can put together a costume from each other’s wardrobes and then pretend to be one another. This can provide you with a really great insight into how your children view you (terrifying, I know!) and can also allow your children to gain some appreciation of just how hard it is to be the adult!
- Dance Through the Ages – put together a playlist of songs from different decades and eras; you could use some classical, some jazz, ballroom, swing, hip hop, breakdance and a rock ballad thrown in for good measure. Just make sure you include some Cyndi Lauper, because no playlist is complete without Cyndi Lauper. When you have your playlist ready, simply put it on and dance with your children. Through watching you, they will quickly start to mimic the dance style for each piece and will most definitely come up with a few moves of their own!
- Utilise YouTube – I am not typically a fan of showing children much on YouTube and you have to be super-careful not to just let them watch on their own, but it certainly can come in handy when wanting them to see something they otherwise could not. For example, some of the most amazing dance sequences ever choreographed and performed! Just do a YouTube search of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, or Danny Tidwell, Travis Wall or Australia’s Bangarra or the Sydney Dance Company and you will see what I mean. Even the non-dancer will be impressed by the athleticism and the dance-lover will be inspired beyond words!
- Get Real – there are so many wonderful performances you could take your child to see. Some are uber-expensive, but many are not, and some are even free! Just search your local area and find something that suits. Community theatres usually do fantastic shows over school holidays, often with a snack and a meet-and-greet thrown in! There really is something magical about live theatre, try to find a way for your children to experience it.
So now it’s time to warm up those vocal chords, stretch those hamstrings and go ‘break a leg’! Have a heap of fun!
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