Enjoy Some Bonding Time With These Family Crafts

 

For children, crafting is a multipurpose exercise—they can work on them alone to learn a variety of skills and stay entertained, or it is something you can do as a family to bond and spend some time together being creative.

Collaborative crafting is a great bonding tool and will allow both you and your child to get your imagination working and create something fun together! Here are the top crafts we suggest for parents to do with their children:

Crafts You and Your Child Can Do Together

Paper Plate Hats for Special Occasions. It is amazing what can be made simply from paper plates and markers! By shaping and coloring in the middle of a paper plate, you and your children can create bunny ears for Easter, balloons for birthdays or any other fun thing the two of you can dream up together.

Throw a Pasta Painting Party. With some paints (or markers), construction paper and pasta shapes, you and your children can craft some seriously upgraded macaroni art! Paint directly onto the pasta and then glue to construction paper and draw a scene around it. This is a collaborative activity that requires plenty of creativity on both of your parts.

Create Custom Sponge Stamps. You can transform a pack of dollar store sponges into hours of fun by cutting them into custom stamp shapes to decorate poster board with. Some fun ideas could be animals, paw prints, people or anything else you and your little one can come up with!

Sock Puppet Theater Production. The sock puppet production is a classic for a reason! Use googly eyes, pipe cleaners and anything else you can think of to create a band of sock puppets, then you and your child can come up with characters and a storyline to put on a full play—and as a bonus, this is a great way to help children practice the drama skills they have learned in class!

Popsicle Stick Picture Frames. Colors and decoration abound with this idea! Glue popsicle sticks together in the size of photo print-outs and have a contest to see who can decorate theirs the best.

Ready to enroll your child in a super fun extracurricular activity? Check out our drama classes for kids to see what is currently enrolling!

Games to Encourage Your Child’s Imagination

 

Fostering a sense of imagination in children does wonders for their thought processes. Imagination can boost creativity and problem-solving skills—and it is so fun to work on interactive games as a bonding activity, too!

Enrolling your child in activities such as drama classes for kids is a fantastic way to give imaginative thinking a boost, and there are ways to enhance that benefit at home as well.

Here are some of our favorite activities to do with your child that will get his or her imagination into overdrive:

Imagination-Boosting Games for Children

Charades. Charades is a classic—and for good reason. With a nearly limitless supply of prompts to choose from, children can use their imagination to give hints about people, animals, actions and even their favorite fictional characters in this high-energy game.

Surprise ending. Have your child do a retelling of a favorite story, but with a different ending in place. Let your little one really have fun with it—encourage him or her to include crossovers with other characters and wacky scenarios for extra creativity.

Entrepreneur. Encourage your children to design their own business from scratch. They could come up with a fancy restaurant with a full menu of themed dishes or a bakery with a variety of made-up treats. They will have loads of fun coming up with names, designing menus and making sure they are fully prepared for their grand opening.

Box decorating. It is amazing where a large cardboard box and a few markers can take your child! The next time you have an oversized item delivered, be sure to repurpose the box into an entertainment station. It can be as simple or elaborate as your child likes, giving him or her the opportunity to fully create an imaginary universe!

Unconventional puppets. Gather items from around your house that are not puppets, such as paper plates, water bottles, etc.—the more unconventional the better! Have your child create a puppet show using these items in place of traditional hand puppets. He or she is sure to come up with an interesting story!

Are you ready to help your kids boost their imagination? Enrolling them in drama classes for children is one of the best ways! Check out the classes enrolling now for more information.

6 Ideas for Keeping the Kids Entertained the Next Time You’re Stuck Indoors

 

Between winter weather, spring storms and sweltering summer days, there are many times when playing outside just isn’t an option for children. This can lead to a serious case of cabin fever, but thankfully, there are plenty of ideas for beating boredom indoors!

Between drama activities and entertaining an audience, these ideas will transform your next indoor day.

Top 6 Ways to Keep Kids Entertained Inside

Pass the Story
Get everyone involved in the fun of storytelling by playing Pass the Story. Pick your storytelling device and start the first line, then pass the object around. Each person picks up where the previous person left off until you have a full story formed.

Obstacle Courses
All sorts of household objects can be used to construct an obstacle course in the house—a sheet can become a tunnel, couch cushions can become towers for climbing or the floor can become lava for an abundance of fun.

Drama Exercises
Many drama exercises can be done anywhere, but they are especially useful on days where you have to stay indoors. Classics like Mirror Activity and Dance Your Name are always a blast, as well as any favorites you child has from attending Drama Kids classes!

Play Cooking Show
Baking with your children is a great way to bond, but for truly stuck-inside days, you can make it even more interesting. Find a kid-friendly recipe to make, but pretend you are on a cooking show while you do it! Kids will love getting the opportunity to talk to their audience and explain exactly what they are doing.

Design a Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts don’t have to be city-wide affairs, and they can be adapted well based on the age ranges of your children. Hide various objects throughout your house and give your child clues for where to find them—it’s great for problem-solving and a ton of fun!

Create a Boredom Box
This is an activity that keeps on giving! Sit with your kids and assemble a whole host of activities they can do when they’re bored, and write them down for safekeeping. Not only will this keep them entertained in the moment, but you will also have a resource for the next time you have to stay indoors.

Enrolling your child in drama classes is a great way to have fun indoors! Get in touch for details on our class offerings.

Why Playtime Matters in Raising Healthy Kids

 

Between researching healthy snacks and how to best encourage children to exercise, it is safe to say that parents do a lot when it comes to helping their child be as healthy as possible. The good news is, one of the healthiest things that children can do is something that also comes the most natural to them: playing.

Encouraging kids to play, both in active ways such as sports and in creative ways such as acting classes for kids, has a wealth of benefits for them physically and mentally. Read on to learn about the biggest benefits play has for children!

How Play Benefits Children

  1. It’s Good for Their Physical and Mental Health
    Getting kids active and moving through playtime is one of the best things you can do for their physical health, and it positively impacts their mental health, too. While playtime is too fun for children to think of it as exercise, active play can present the exact same benefits.
  2. It Helps Foster Creativity and Problem-Solving
    Play is an important part of children’s creativity and problem-solving at any age. Whether it is through toddlers learning about the world around them or older children making up games and learning about interacting with others, children’s playtime is one of the most effective ways for them to develop essential life skills.
  3. It’s a Fun Way to Cut Down on Screen Time
    An increase in screen time is plaguing children of every age group and has been shown to increase the time it takes for children to learn valuable emotional, language and social skills. Showing children that real-life play is a positive thing can help them step away from the screen because they wantto, not just because they were told to.
  4. It Encourages Children to Learn About Themselves
    Children can learn a lot about themselves and their confidence levels by interacting with the world around them, and one of the best ways they can do this is through play. Helping them engage with others in their age range, such as through an after-school activity like drama classes for children, will be a constructive way for them to play andbuild their self-confidence and self-esteem.

Drama classes for kids can help them work on all of these things and more! Contact us today to learn about all the benefits of drama and to get them enrolled.

Getting the Conversation Flowing: 5 Questions to Ask Your Kids

 

While there is nothing more precious than the bond between parent and child, in today’s chaotic world, it can seem more difficult than ever to keep that bond strong. Not only are children constantly growing and changing, but with the average child spending two to three hours in front of a screen per day, it’s more difficult to get kids to really have a conversation.

To learn more about how your child sees the world, making use of open-ended conversation starters can be a fun way to get them talking! Check out some of our favorites below.

Top 5 Conversation Starters for Kids

  1. What Do You Look Forward to Each Day?Whether the highlight of your child’s day is seeing a friend from school or eating a favorite lunch, this question will help you learn about what he or she considers the best part of the day.
  2. If You Were in a Play, What Would Your Character Be Like?This question is a fantastic way to encourage your kids to communicate how they see themselves without any external pressures and can give parents a great idea of how children process their actions as they relate to the world around them.

Parents, if your children respond well to this question, consider enrolling them in drama class! Drama classes for kids can boost their self-expression and build up children’s confidence and self-esteem.

  1. What Rules Would You Change at Home?Though rules like “no running” are for a child’s own good, getting your child’s input on the house rules is a good way to gauge where children see themselves on the spectrum of independence.
  2. If You Could Change One Thing About the World, What Would You Change?This one will get you andyour child thinking! While kids are often silly and lighthearted, their fresh perspective on how they see the world can also offer some serious wisdom.
  3. Is There a New Activity You Would Like to Try?Get an idea of what new hobbies your child might want to explore for the first time, such as drama or acting classes for children! Letting your child know that there is a fun, safe environment for him or her to both play and learn is a sure way to pique interest in learning a new skill.

Are you ready to enroll your child in drama classes? We would love to tell you all about the benefits—contact us today!

How Drama Classes Can Help Your Child Interact with Others

 

While drama classes are a fun way to get your child out of the house and practicing a hobby, there are many real-world benefits of enrolling kids in drama classes as well. From boosting their confidence to furthering their public speaking skills, the effects that drama classes have on children do not stop when they leave class for the day.

One of the most practical benefits is that drama can help your children learn about social interactions. By helping them build self-esteem, learn more about themselves, and begin to work as a team, drama classes provide a safe and pressure-free environment for your kids to improve their ability to work and interact with others.

Drama Classes Build Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is one of the most important aspects of a child’s development. Children with high self-esteem have been shown to have more confidence, be more inclined to try new things and be more equipped to deal with setbacks than others.

Drama classes for children are a fantastic way to cultivate self-esteem, as kids will be gently encouraged out of their comfort zone to try new things and experiment with self-expression.

Drama Classes Boost Personal Growth

Another benefit of drama programs for kids is that kids are given the opportunity to “try on” many personas and characters as they perform acting prompts and exercises.  This is wonderful for children, as they are constantly discovering who they are, how they relate to the world around them, and how they relate to others. With the opportunity to explore different traits and characteristics, they can not only begin to understand their own personal qualities but also be more intuitive about the qualities they see in others.

Drama Classes Encourage Teamwork

Because of the group dynamics of drama classes, exercises and prompts often require teamwork. Teaching children how to work together has many benefits, including helping children interpret and respond to others’ needs, practice empathy, and cooperate with others.

Drama classes are both a teamwork-focused and non-competitive environment, allowing kids a safe space to try out new things.

Are you interested in enrolling your child in a fun and developmental drama program? Find a Drama Kids class near you today to enroll your child in our fun and interactive drama classes!

Fun Ideas to Boost Kids’ Drama Skills at Home

 

There are many benefits to drama classes for children, including the development of public speaking and communication skills. increased confidence, emotional intelligence and self-expression. If you think your kids enjoy acting and drama-related activities, enrolling them in a Drama Kids class is the best thing you can do for them.

In addition to participation in Drama Kids classes, building their confidence at home is a great way to enhance their Drama Kids experience!  There are many at home skill-boosting activities can that will allow them to get in some extra practice and have some fun between classes.

Drama Games You Can Play With Your Child at Home

Because drama is such a versatile activity, there are many drama games for children that can be adapted for you to do together. Some favorites include:

  1. Tongue Twisters

Tongue twisters are typically a warm-up, but they are also a fun activity you can do with your child just about anywhere. You are likely familiar with some old favorites such as the one about Peter Piper and his Peppers or Sally at the Seashore, but there are so many more you can memorize with your child!

  1. Practice Pantomimes

Pantomimes are something you can easily do with your child at home to increase his or her skills. Similar to charades, both of you will put prompts into a hat and let your child draw. Then he or she can proceed to think of creative ways to act out the prompt so you are able to guess it.

  1. Mirror Magic

A mirroring activity is especially enjoyable to do with your child because there is no right or wrong way to do it – the goal is for you both to simply succeed! One of you will be the leader and the other will be the follower. The leader will perform motions, slowly at first, and the follower will mirror them. Kids will have a blast seeing how long they can go and what motions they can incorporate as they get more advanced!

  1. One-Word Story

All stories are built one word at a time, the only difference is that this one is from two different people! Starting with a single word, you and your child will alternate who says the next word until you have a complete (and silly!) story at the end.

If you think your child would benefit from drama classes, we would love to talk to you! Contact us today to learn more about the programs we offer.

Helping Your Child Find Balance in Life

 

Balance—we all strive to find it, yet it’s something that even well into adulthood always seems to be difficult to grasp.

Perhaps the best method to ensure our children are able to lead healthy, balanced lives in adulthood is to help them find ways to lead balanced lives now!

The Importance of Balance

Simply walking through the self-help section of a bookstore can impress upon you the importance of balance. We’ve long sought to find it in life, yet it always seems to be just out of reach.

When life seems out of balance, things can constantly feel like a battle. If the world around you is not balanced, it is easy to begin feeling like life is not as well.

Unfortunately, our children are not exempt from the impacts of leading an imbalanced life. Their lives are spent working to find balance between school, extracurriculars, friends, family and hobbies. Pressure accompanies them practically everywhere they go.

These pressures can include the facets of growing up, handling bullies, dealing with typical peer pressure situations, being accepted by their peers, keeping their grades up, maintaining their image and establishing an identity.

How to Help Our Kids

All parents want the best for their child, and that desire can lead to a plethora of activities and opportunities.  How often do you find yourself shuttling the kids around from place to place? The schedules and the pace of life can become overwhelming for the whole family.

It is best to weigh the options and make sure the daily routine is not too overcrowded. Listen to your kids, and be sure the activities they are participating in are those that help nurture and further their passions in life.

Becoming too busy is not healthy for any of us, but especially for our children. Not only can leading an imbalanced life bring about negative emotional impacts, but it can also lead to a multitude of negative physical impacts, too.

We can teach our children about a healthy work-life balance by demonstrating it ourselves. Yes, work responsibilities are important, but make sure they know leading a balanced life is as well!

Take some time to relax together as a family, de-stressing and unwinding from the busy week. It is vital that our children learn how to embrace the opportunities to recharge those proverbial batteries every now and then.

At Drama Kids International, we know how important it is to lead healthy, balanced lives. Through our drama programs, children are able to learn and develop the life skills needed to make sure leading a balanced life comes second nature.  For more information or to register for a class, please visit our website!

Public Speaking Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

 

No matter your age, for most people public speaking is an overwhelming and even terrifying thought.

It’s because of this that one of our main goals at Drama Kids International is to help children improve their public speaking and communication skills, while also increasing self-confidence and self-esteem through drama-related activities.

Why Public Speaking Skills Are Important for Kids

There is no way around it: Public speaking will always play a vital role in helping our children develop and build up much-needed life skills. These skills can include being able to analyze a topic, thinking logically, creating meaningful sentences and presenting thoughts in a clear manner when in front of an audience.

Yes, confidence and public speaking are closely related. The more comfortable children become with public speaking, the more you will begin to see dramatic improvements in self-confidence.  These skills and high levels of confidence directly impact how capable they are when facing challenges in the future.

Some Practical Public Speaking Tips

There are many ways for your child to improve his or her public speaking skills.  It’s important to know that most are afraid of public speaking because they are not prepared.

Here are 20 of our favorite public speaking tips for kids:

  1. Make sure goals are being set up for the presentation.
  2. Decide what is interesting and what isn’t.
  3. Have some passion for the subject or topic.
  4. Do not read the entire speech or spiel from a paper.
  5. Do have a cheat sheet/notes to help you stick to the key points.
  6. Always practice a speech or presentation before giving it.
  7. Film yourself and review the video, looking for things that were done well and those that need improvement.
  8. Accept that being nervous or anxious about public speaking is very normal.
  9. Tell stories that can help catch the attention of your audience and bolster the main message.
  10. Come up with your own public speaking style.
  11. Avoid filler words like “basically,” “well” and “um.”
  12. Use your tone, volume and speaking speed to help keep the audience engaged and interested.
  13. Never underestimate the power of laughter as an icebreaker.
  14. Practice in front of family and ask for their feedback.
  15. Remember that no presentation will be perfect, no matter who is giving it.
  16. Keep your main points and ideas memorable.
  17. Volunteer to speak in front of the class or others for some valuable practice.
  18. Study up on others’ public speaking styles.
  19. Talk to someone about your public speaking fears.
  20. Smile to help convey warmth and make others more receptive to you.

There are many more opportunities for personal growth for children involved with Drama Kids International besides those listed here. Interested in learning about what our programs can offer your child? Click here to learn more!

Encouraging Eye Contact in the Age of “Text Neck”

 

Technology has led to many welcome advancements in our society, but it has also had some rather unintended impacts on overall health and well-being. One of those impacts is the development of “text neck.”

The term “text neck” was created by a U.S. chiropractor and is used to describe repeated stress injury and pain in the neck as a result of excessive watching or texting on handheld devices over a sustained period of time.

Unfortunately, this is a condition that is seeing constant growth throughout the world and is something that may be impacting our children.

Kids & Cell Phones

We may joke that a child’s phone is an extra appendage on his or her body, but there are some numbers that can back this up:

  • The average age a child receives a cell phone is 12.1 years old.
  • 56% of children ages 8 to 12 have a cell phone.
  • 21% of children 8 or younger use smartphones.
  • 60% of families who provide a cell phone to their child did this between the ages of 10 and 11.

Parents and experts alike have become increasingly concerned by the amount of time their children are spending on smartphones, but they aren’t alone – teens themselves are concerned about their phone usage, too.

A study from the Pew Research Center found that 60% of teens (between ages 13 and 17) reported that spending too much time online was a problem their age group faced, as nine in 10 teens went on to dub it a “major” problem. Some 54% of the teens felt that they spent too much time on their cellphones, and 41% said they overdid it on social media.

Common Sense Media found that teens are spending nearly nine hours a day on average using media like online video or music, while the average was six hours a day for those ages 8 to 12.

Ways to Combat “Text Neck”

Knowing that this condition could lead to a less comfortable and even painful future for your child, it is important to also know how to combat “text neck.”

One of the easiest ways to help prevent the future discomfort that may come with this continued neck strain is to limit your child’s screen time. Going over some ergonomic techniques can also prove beneficial. These can include holding the phone up higher at eye level and resting a tablet on a thigh or table.

It is also smart to set timers to remind yourself and your children to switch positions when reading or watching something on the phone.

Eye Contact in a “Text Neck” World

In a world where eyes are commonly averted down to a smartphone or tablet, eye contact can go a long way for a child.

Here are a few ways you can help your child improve eye contact:

  1. Use role play to model bad behavior to your child.Have him or her say hello to you, but respond by looking off to the side and not making eye contact.
  2. Have them look between the eyebrows.Some children may find eye contact uncomfortable and awkward regardless, which is when you can suggest they look at the person right between the eyebrows instead. It can appear to be eye contact and not make shy children uncomfortable.
  3. Go over scripts.If a child is uncomfortable with talking to or meeting new people, having a script in the back of his or her mind may help. You can go over common greetings and small talk topics with your child. Don’t forget to have your child memorize this routine: look the person in the eye, smile, say hi and use the person’s name.

Drama Kids International is proud to offer a curriculum that is specially tailored to helping children break out of their shells and become more comfortable in a variety of different social situations.  For more information and to enroll your child in a local Drama Kids class, please visit us at www.dramakids.com