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

Getting Your Child Back Into the Swing of a New School Year

 

Attention, parents, this is not a drill—back-to-school season is here!

Emotions can run high at home with school starting back up for the year, but thankfully there are plenty of tips you can put into practice to help smooth over the process and help the entire family handle back-to-school season like champs.

The Emotions of Going Back to School

Going back to school after having a couple months off can be an especially difficult transition for our kids, and with that change may come some back-to-school blues.

It’s not uncommon for children to have anxiety regarding the return to school—here are some ways you can help them ease that anxiety:

  • Set up some play dates with a few of their familiar peers before the start of school. It has been found that the presence of a familiar friend during the school transition can help improve academic and emotional adjustment.
  • Start going back to school-year routines a week or two before school to help prepare them for the transition. This includes bedtimes and picking out an outfit for the next day.
  • Understand their worries about the “newness” of it all. The new school routine may seem overwhelming for a child and that feeling should not be brushed off.

You can also work with your child to set some goals for the school year. Start by having him or her pick out three goals, including academic, social and family goals. These can be revisited by the end of the school year and could yield exciting results for your child.

Tips to Ease the Back-to-School Stress

Once the shopping is done, you can use the following tips to help ease your child back into “school mode.”

  1. Convene a family meeting.In this meeting, go over the school-year routines and see how you can aid your child in getting back to the “new” normal.
  2. Create a visual schedule.Having something to look at can help your child become independent and know exactly what is expected of him or her.
  3. Establish an activity-free day.New routines and schedules can be a challenge for everyone at home, which is why an activity-free day is an especially good idea. There is nothing better than having the ability to relax and do nothing as a family for a day.
  4. Sign your child up for afterschool activities.From sports to drama programs like ours, the boost of confidence provided by afterschool programs is something too good to pass up!

We hope the upcoming back-to-school season hasn’t proven too stressful for your family. Remember, if you are looking for a fun program for your child that will allow him or her to develop strong public speaking, communication, and creative thinking skills, Drama Kids International is the place to go!

Why Failing Sometimes Actually Benefits Children

 

Failure. It’s a word we all fear and strive to avoid, and yet, it’s one that perhaps we should embrace a bit more.

Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, failure is defined as an “omission of occurrence or performance” or more specifically, “a failing to perform a duty or expected action.” Failure doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, though, since it is through failing that we often discover what our strengths truly are. Our children are no different.

Stopping the Fear of Failure

As a parent, we want nothing more than to see our children be successful in their lives and will often go out of our way to make sure things go as smoothly as possible for them. Despite our best intentions, protecting our children from failure may do more harm than good.

Failure isn’t something to be feared and does not mean the absence of success.  Instead – it is an experience to be had on the way to success. In fact, failure can have many benefits for our kids.

Here are some of the benefits of failure:

  • Develops persistence in the face of difficulties
  • Helps us overcome fear
  • Helps inspire creative ideas and solutions
  • Aids in keeping us humble
  • Helps provide coping skills

Another benefit of failure is the lessons it can provide for our children. These lessons can include:

  • Not everyone will win or get a trophy.
  • There are different talents possessed by all.
  • You need to handle losing or difficult situations with class.
  • You have to be able to learn from past mistakes.
  • We learn from sharing valuable experiences with others.
  • Failure creates perseverance.
  • It’s good to have a sense of humor about errors and missteps.
  • Success inevitably includes some amount of failure.

Without making mistakes and failing at some tasks, our children are missing out on these valuable lessons – lessons that can help them become successful in life now and further down the road.

Helping Your Child Learn to Fail

Helping your child learn to fail is probably a concept that goes against much of the natural parenting “DNA,” but it is very important.

An inability to handle failure is something that can prove highly detrimental to your child’s life and coping skills, so here are some ways you can help teach him or her to accept and bounce back from failure:

  1. Show empathy toward your child’s frustration and disappointment.
  2. Be a model of how to bounce back after failing.
  3. Always make it a teachable moment.
  4. Make sure your child knows that what he or she sees on social media is not always an accurate picture of life.
  5. Take a step back and let your child work through failure on his or her own.

Instead of seeing failure as an always negative thing, it’s time we recognize it for what it is – a wonderful teaching moment and the giver of beneficial experiences for life.

Drama Kids International is here to help support your children through both failures and successes and will always be a safe place for them to explore their creative sides.   For more information about Drama Kids classes and camps, visit us at www.dramakids.com