Dance and Creativity in Lock-down

Dance and Creativity in Lock-down

Have you settled into the new ‘normal’?  As a parent of two children (aged 10 and 7) I’ve had to make some pretty major adjustments (like many of you reading this blog).  Instead of running my dance business full-time and managing a festival involving 350 children, I’m staying at home and helping my own kids with their schooling.

There’s been some highs (more family board games, time to garden) and plenty of lows (various illnesses, sibling disputes on a daily basis!) but we are very fortunate and grateful that the pandemic hasn’t caused much disruption to our lives.

Amid the uncertain and changing situation, I’m conscious that my children still need time to play and moments to be creative.  I’m lucky that I get to be creative in my work and have learnt a lot over the last 18 years from both the children I’ve taught as well as my own two kids.

So, I thought I’d share some ideas to be creative that you might find useful whilst you’re staying at home too.

Here’s three ways to introduce playfulness, spontaneity and creativity with your own families.

(Before you try any of these ideas out, please make sure you have a safe space around you. And don’t worry about what you look like – dance isn’t all about aesthetics!) 

1. I use a LOT of props in my teaching and this is my most popular and versatile of them.  You don’t need anything fancy (a tea towel will do!), but please bear in mind the length of your scarf as you don’t want to be tripping over it.

The best way to begin is to just start moving with the scarves.  Take your lead from your kids – they will have tonnes of ideas about how to dance with their prop – and allow them the opportunity to come up with their own content.

Things you could try together:

  • Scrunching the material up as small as possible and then letting it come back out by throwing it, slowly pulling it, stretching it for example.
  • Hide the scarf under or behind your body – how many different ways can you make it ‘disappear’?
  • Hide yourself behind the scarf – can you completely disappear? Which parts of your body can you hide?
  • Draw in the air with your scarf – try out different patterns and shapes to discover what you can make.

2. Over, under and around. Children can spend HOURS doing this and are fascinated by the spaces left by the shapes and the possibilities with how to explore them.

Make a shape, any shape as simple or as complicated as you like.  Ask your child/ren to find ways to explore it.  Can they go under it?  Can they go around it?  Is it possible to go over the shape?  Play around with how you explore the spaces – you don’t have to put your whole body in the gap – how about an arm?  A toe?  An elbow?

This activity is lots of fun in and of itself.  However, you might be developing these skills too…

  • Core strength (if the shapes are made by balancing on hands AND feet on the ground)
  • Understanding of positional language (maths: over, under, around). You might also end up using other vocabulary such as: left, right, above, behind
  • Are there movements that you really like doing?  Could you remember them and link them together into an order to create a simple dance?

3. Story Adventures. A firm favourite in our household!  Ask your children to choose one of their favourite stories and then pretend to jump straight inside it.  Which characters will you meet on your journey?  How do they move?  What parts of the story could you re-tell with your actions and NO words?

Some books we’d definitely recommend trying…

  • The Gingerbread Man – can you make each other into gingerbread man? And can you become the other animals that want to eat him up?
  • Hansel and Gretel – make the house of sweets out of your bodies / boxes / cushions / chairs / blankets. Pretend to be the witch coming out of the house and entice the children inside.
  • Jack and the Beanstalk – can you design a wiggly beanstalk along the floor out of clothes, sponges, blankets? Now can you ‘climb’ to the top using your hands and feet?

This is a great activity which not only explores the imagination but to also allows children to enter the world of someone else and gain new perspectives and understanding about other people.  It might just spark a love of reading and encourage reluctant children to engage with stories and literacy.

We’re currently offering our story adventure resources to parents – they are usually only available to primary school teachers.

Join our Barefoot Yarns to…

  • Develop co-ordination, strength and balance
  • Improve fine and gross motor skills
  • Learn simple dance phrases
  • Build body confidence
  • Ignite a passion for books through movement

There’s well over 3 hours of dance content – simply play the videos for your child to dance along to.

PLUS it includes FOUR craft activities – one linked to each story book – to extend children’s learning and keep them busy!

For information and to get your dance adventure started, click here.

And visit our Facebook page and YouTube channel for more exciting dance content for children and their families.


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