Practicing Dance Class Lessons At Home
Has your young child recently started a music and dance class? Most little ones respond to the sound of music with joy and enthusiasm. Moving to music is a great way for young children to develop an awareness of dance and an appreciation for music.
If you’d like to encourage your toddler to practice their lessons at home with you we have a few ideas for you below. With a little imagination and creativity, you can create a fun and stimulating ballet practice session in the comfort of your own living room.
The following ideas will enhance your child’s development of fine and gross motor skills as they practice balancing, skips, leaps, and moves all to the sound of music.
Toddler Stretches for Ballet
Most toddlers are amazingly limber. Since flexibility fades as we age, teaching your child how to stretch their body at an early age may encourage them to maintain that limberness.
Toe touches: Demonstrate how to sit on the floor and reach for your toes. Encourage straight knees.
Leg extensions: Show your toddler how to lay on one side and hold one leg up in the air. Encourage straight knees and pointed toes.
Butterflies: Have your tiny tot sit down with the bottom of their feet together and move their knees up and down. Encourage them to fly like a butterfly and ask them where it is they would like to fly today.
Rocking Boat: Begin rocking from side to side to become a rocking boat and again, ask them where they would like to sail.
Hops and Jumps
Toddlers love a challenge as long as it doesn’t require their attention for too long. Since jumping and hopping are skills that require a bit of skill to master, your child will enjoy trying to get her feet off the floor.
Creative ideas for hopping and jumping:
Friendly frogs: Tell your child to pretend that they are a frog and hop around the room on all fours.
Baby kangaroos: Have your child imagine that they are a baby kangaroo. Demonstrate how to jump off the floor with both feet together.
If your toddler likes to make noise with their feet, show them how to march around like a soldier. Marching is one of the early skills taught in a beginner tap classes. Have them concentrate on raising their knees as high as they can.
Reaching up high with their arms will teach your toddler how to extend and elongate their body. Encourage them to make their arms as long as they can above their heads.
Trees in the breeze: Tell your child to imagine that they are a tree blowing in the wind. Demonstrate how to reach your arms high above your head and sway back and forth.
Flower garden: Pretend you are flowers about to grow and bloom in the garden. When the sun appears, your petals open and your stem grows toward the sky. Make-believe your arms are leaves and reach up high.
Ballet for Toddlers
It’s never too early to start learning the foundations of ballet. Your little one may be able to place their feet into first and second position, but don’t expect too much more just yet. Little feet are difficult to place.
Grab a small chair for your child to hold. Start with first position: Place your child’s heels together and turn out their toes. See how long they can hold the position.
Chances are, your toddler can bend and straighten their knees. In ballet, a bending of the knees is called a plie (pronounced “plee a”). For a demi plie, have your child bend only halfway down to the floor. For a grand plie, which is a little more challenging, have your child bend their knees all the way to the floor.
An eleve (pronounced “el a vay”) is a rise onto the balls of the feet. Ask your toddler to rise up onto their tippy toes. Rising will help them develop the muscles in their calves and improve balance.
Of course there are plenty more variations of these activities, try them all and adapt to your child’s personality so that they are always excited to get up and move to the music.