Categotry Archives: Something for The Weekend

Pom Pom Making

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Written by Georgie, South Kent Franchise Owner, TRS Teacher and Active Armchairs Facilitator

We use pom poms in our lessons all the time. From cheer dance classes to Active Armchairs, these props are a favourite for all.

You can make your own quite easily, and here’s how…

Here’s what you need:

Cardboard
Scissors
Wool (any colour you like)

First cut 2 circles from cardboard. Make sure they are the same size, but the size is up to you!

 

 

Then from each circle, cut out an inner circle so that you have a type of thick hoop shape. 

 

 

 

Place both pieces of cardboard together, making sure the circles both on the outside and inside match up.

 

 

From there, get the wool and start wrapping it around the cardboard. Use a small knot at one point, put the wool through the centre circle, out and around the outside edge repeatedly, do this all the way around the hoop and keep going until you have filled the hole in the middle.

 

 

 

Once your pompom is full, using scissors, cut the wool all the way around the edge. Your pom pom must be full or the wool will fall out at this point. This should allow you to see the two pieces of cardboard in the centre.

 

 

Wrap an additional piece of wool between the two pieces of cardboard, pull it tight and tie a knot, making sure that the wool has come together in the middle securely. This holds your pom pom together and you can leave a trail of this piece of wool if you want to. Remove the cardboard and…

…you will have your own fluffy pompom!

Let us know if you give it a go! Here is a photo of TRS Teacher, Hayley’s dog, posing beautifully next to the pom poms she made! 

 

 

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Recycle, Re-use and Revive

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Written by Georgie and Alice

We have a talented team of dancers here at TRS but they are also very creative in other ways!

Alice, who has been a TRS teacher for a few years now shared this lovely way to recycle and reuse something that a lot of us have already in our own homes.

Alice’s TRS t-shirt was looking a bit old, but instead of throwing it out, she transformed it into a very useful bag for her props! And it’s so easy to do, here’s how!

How to Make a bag from a T-shirt!

Step One:

Find an old T-shirt

Step 2:

Turn it inside out

Step 3:

Cut off the ‘sleeves’ and a create a bigger neck line by cutting out the neck.

Step 4:

Sew around the bottom. (*additional option: to tidy up all the edges, fold them over and sew along the seams.)

Step 5:

Turn the right way around again.

And there you have it! A new bag to store props, dance shoes, or even your groceries!

You can revive any old t shirt. I know I have lots of old dance T-shirts that I still have lying away in a cupboard somewhere. We are loving this idea at TRS and we hope you do too!

 

 

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Everybody Moving – Art

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Art has become a key part of everyone’s day whilst socially isolated at home. It is great for well being and learning. It is very therapeutic. Although dance is an art form in it’s own right, the TRS Teachers have thought of some ideas for how dance and art can be brought together. 

As always, please adapt the ideas to suit yourself and the people you’re with. The ideas are great at any age, for any ability, but always need adapting to make them the best they can be for each individual. Don’t forget to warm up sufficiently before dancing too!

Paint a Body…

This can be done with the whole body of parts of it. If you’re using the whole body, you need to find a big piece of paper such as rolled paper or unfolded boxes. Draw around the body or body part whilst it does a dance move or interesting gesture. This is a great way to learn about body parts. You could try codified dance steps such as a plie lying down or against the wall. You could do a sequence of three gestures to tell a story like in Kathak. Once you have the shape drawn, decorate it in some way with paint, pens, pencil, chalk, any medium you like!

… Or Send a Hug 

This is a really nice extra thing that could lead to a chat about feelings, very important at the moment. Instead of drawing round a dance move, draw around the top part of the body, with arms outstretched as though about to give a hug. Cut out, decorate and post to some one you would like to hug.

 

Foot Print Painting

Make your art floor… get a big bit of paper, join some paper together, open a cardboard box, use a paper tablecloth, lay down some opened and flattened bin bags, newspapers etc.

Once you have a suitable floor, put some random blobs of paint on it, turn the music on and dance through the paint! You could improvise or do a dance you’ve already learnt or have choreographed. You could use one of our videos if you want. After the dance you can see your pathway (that’s what we call the path taken through the dance). Is it varied? On the spot? Do you use all the space or only a little bit? What a great way to see if you’ve made a good use of the space.

An adaption for those who can’t walk. Ask someone to put the paint and paper under your feet. It feels amazing to have paint under your toes and you can still see what pathways your feet take during a dance.

Masks

Make a mask that turns the wearer into something different then move like that character. Animal masks work really well, but you can also try things like Zoro, Spiderman, The Lone Ranger or Lady Gaga (in the photo). You could make up characters as well. 

 


Paint what you find

On your next exercise walk, or in the garden, search for some unusual things to paint! If you’re doing this with children you can describe how you’re searching in different ways (high, reaching or stretching etc) to help develop their vocabulary. Once you’ve found the things you need to paint them and display them in whatever way you feel. This could be a bright, colourful display for a care home.

Croquis

Croquis is a French art form where the model moves and the artist sketches quickly. We held some Croquis events with artists Richard Jefferies and Marissa Mardon in 2014.

You could hold your own event and adapt it in your own way. For ours we had a dancer in the centre of the room and the artists, using whatever medium they wanted, around the edge. There was a different theme each week and the artists drew what they saw. Sometimes drawing the body, sometimes the movement, sometimes the space in between.

Use your imagination to make it interesting. Find out more and get ideas from our Croquis blog posts… https://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/category/croquis-events/ 

Click HERE for our Croquis Pinterest Board. 

Chalking Outside or In

Grab some chalk, whatever you have, but the bigger and chunkier the better. If you’re heading outside you can chalk on so many services. If you’re inside chalk works well on black paper, card board boxes or normal black boards. Some music playing in the background could provide to some interesting inspiration too.


Turn the Music Up

This goes back to our first Everybody Moving blog post, but with a difference… Paint with the music turned up and see how it affects your mood. You could try specific pieces of music. TRS Teacher, Jenny put The Gruffalo soundtrack on for her children whilst they painted these with brushes and straws (blowing the paint).

Body Part Challenge

Have you ever painted with your elbow or knee!? Why not give it a go!?

Dance in The Sand

Like a zen garden, but with dance. Such a fantastic sensory idea. You can do this in a large sand pit with your whole body, put a box or tray of sand on the floor under your feet whilst seated or have a tray of sand in front of you for just your hands. Cat litter trays and tea trays with high handles make good mini sandpits. Put the music on and see where it takes you. Make patterns whilst dancing and see what happens.

We also have a Pinterest board that links art and dance. Take a look here… https://www.pinterest.co.uk/therightstep/art-and-dancing/

For more Everybody Moving ideas to keep you moving throughout the day please see our other blogs and videos…

Everybody Moving

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home

Everybody Moving – Videos

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Everybody Moving – Easter

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It’s almost Easter weekend and there are a lot of things we would usually be doing, but can’t. Let’s find some new, active traditions to get us moving and learning throughout the day. 

As always, please adapt the ideas to suit you and the people you’re with. Many of our photos are of the children the TRS Teachers are with at home, but the ideas are great for adults, including care home residents, too. 

Hunts With a Difference

Hunts don’t have to be saved until Easter day and they don’t have to involve chocolate. You can hunt for other things and link it to learning too. 

 
Phonics Egg Hunt

The child writes the new words/sounds they’ve learnt on cardboard egg shapes, the adult hides them and the child finds them. You can adapt this for the child’s phonic stage, perhaps using common exception words (used to be known as tricky words), the spelling words for their year group or putting sections of words on different eggs and asking the child to make words when they find them. 

Number Hunt

Print some bunny rabbits and number them. Hide them in the garden. The child has to find them, count them and sequence them. They could re-hide them in order for you too. Maybe the bunnies have to line up in order so they can come back inside too.

You now have 10 or 20 little bunnies that can be used for all sorts of number learning. Older children could make number bonds to 10 (adding up to 10). You could extend that to make number bonds to 100 by using multiples of 10 on the bunnies. 

Inside Hunt

You can visibly hide things so that they can be found from a wheelchair or walker. Or you can make it a bit harder. Adapt to your group. You could hide printed things or cardboard eggs that have been decorated by residents. 

Dance Hunt

Every time you find an egg you make up a dance move and add it to the last, a bit like ‘what’s in the supermarket van’. By the end of the hunt you’ll have a whole motif (sequence of movement). You could combine the Dance Hunt with any of the ideas above.  

 

Chance Dance Egg

Draw a giant egg on an outside floor, divide it into segments and write dance moves in the segments. If you’re inside you could do this on a big piece or multiple pieces of paper too.

Throw a dice, ball, beanbag or other object and do the movement it lands on. You can put them together to make a motif (sequence of movement). 

 

Egg and Spoon

This idea was used by Active Armchairs Facilitator, Steph, to encourage partnerships and team work. Plastic eggs are essential unless you want to turn this into a very messy game! 

Whilst seated or standing still, pass the egg from spoon to spoon, person to person. See how many times you can make it around the circle or how many eggs you can have going around at once.

You could also try a traditional egg and spoon race or the not so traditional race of passing the eggs over the head and through the legs to get to the end of the line. You need a large household for that though! 

Make Egg Shakers

For anyone of course, but if you’re going to be holding one of our Remote Live Lessons over the coming weeks, these would be a great prop to have! You can get plastic egg shapes from Poundland, usually. There are places online too though. Try Baker Ross. Fill them with whatever dried things such as rice, lentils or beans you have available or include bells and other things that shake well. Tape them up with normal tape followed by pretty washie tape and, if needed at a bit of extra tape to cover the hole. An excellent prop to join your collection. Check out our Everybody Moving – Props Blog for ideas of props you probably already have at home. 

Dance Around The Kitchen 

Turn the music up loud whilst cooking something from the list…
Easter nests
Chocolate Eggs 
Slow cooker Easter fudge
Easter cupcakes with icing nests on top
Chocolate Bark

TRS Teacher Lou made some Chocolate eggs!

 

 

 

Bunny Feet

Make or buy some bunny footprints. Lay them in a pattern and jump or hop from foot to foot. This is a great way to teach young children how to jump. For older children you can set challenges such as do it on one foot or go backwards. You could also have a prize for the best bunny impression so think about those whiskered noses, paws and ears! 

 

 

Lots of Easter themed keep moving ideas there! If you would like to see more of our Everybody Moving Ideas you can read our other blogs. Perhaps you could adapt some of those ideas to make them Easter themed? Here are the links…

Everybody Moving

Mini Challenges

Dance The Tale

Magic Spells

Everybody Moving – In Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home

Everybody Moving – Props

Please keep in touch, we love to hear about what you’ve been up to. #EverybodyMoving 

 

 

 

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Magic Spells

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This is definitely ideal for those who love Harry Potter, but it can be for anyone interested in magic or who just wants to feel like a witch or wizard! 

This is an idea for people at any age, for any ability. Just adapt it to suit you and the people with you. 

Please make sure you have a safe space to do this in, warm yourself up appropriately and adapt everything to suit your needs.

You can begin by talking about Harry Potter or generally about books that include magic in them. This is a great idea for care homes due to the reminiscence and learning elements. It would also be fantastic for families who could have their own Harry Potter duel afterwards. There are also so many home schooling ideas that could be undertaken with Harry Potter as the theme. 

Cast Your Spells!

Each person needs a magic wand. This could be a stick from the garden, a lolly stick, spoon held backwards or, if your lucky enough to have them rhythm sticks. Some people may also have some really Harry Potter character wands at home if they’re big fans!

Next, learn some magic spells from Harry Potter. Think about the type of movements you would do for the result of each spell. Some people might know the real movements for the spells to. Swish and Flick!

Wingardium Leviosa – this spell levitates objects (or trolls) so swish and flick then hold your wand as you levitate the object.

Accio – the spell to bring things to you, you’ll have to hold onto this spell until the object arrives of course.

Alohamora – A little tap that unlocks doors.

Augmenta – Create water. Shake your wand as if water is coming out of the end.

Expecto Patronum – The Patronus charm to ward off Dementors. A big sweeping arm movement.

 

You can take this further by making up movements for how you might react to someone casting a spell.

Engorgio – make things larger

Reducio – make things smaller

Ridiculous – used for defeating a Bogart. This spell makes you look hilarious.

Expelliarmous – Disarming spell

Lumos – Turns the lights on, they might be quite bright!

 

If home schooling you could also think about your Patronus might be and why. You could draw it or make a model.

Reading is so important for all of us at the moment. Why not have a Harry Potter marathon and read them all!

 

For more ideas about how to keep moving at this time please read our other blogs designed to help people have fun and move throughout the day.

Everybody Moving

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home

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Dance The Tale

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Anyone can do this, it’s good serious or silly fun at any age, for any ability.

All you need is a well loved story, (short or long), some music or if the book is short, someone to read the book and some dancers. For those who are home schooling at the moment this could be a fun English lesson. If you’re in a care home or retirement home you could do this with residents in the main room or just outside their doors. If you’re a family at home this is such a fun bonding activity.

Just adapt it for your needs.

Please make sure you have a safe space to do this in, warm yourself up appropriately and adapt everything to suit your needs.

Dance The Tale

We love to ‘Dance The Tale’. We celebrate World Book Day by making books come to life in our Educating Dance workshops and you can read more about it here: https://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/2020/03/29/book-week-2020/

Here are two examples. One that is a children’s book that could be danced as a family and the other one is aimed at older children, adults or care homes. The Snail and The Whale and The Chronicles of Narnia! You can do your own ones easily though and we’d love to hear about them. 

 

An example from The Right Step’s Director, Rebecca Ashton

The Snail and The Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The easiest way to do this is to read the story and have the children improvise (find out what that means here) around the themes on each page. You’ll be amazed what they come up with.

Here’s a list of words and themes you could pick up on for each page, just take it as it comes though. Let them be free with their moving story telling!

Pg 1 – “Tiny snail”, “great big blue humpback whale”, “the sea is deep”, “the world is wide”
Pg 3 – “The silvery tail looped and curled”, how does the snail move?
Pg 6 – “This is the whale”, how ford the whale move?
Pg 7 – “This is the sea”, how does the sea move?
Pg 9 – “Firey mountains”, explode and jump like a volcano
Pg 11 – “These are the waves that arched and crashed”, how do the waves move?
Pg 12 – Fish and sharks swimming
Pg 13 – “Thunderstorm”, “Lightening”, “Flashing”
Pg 16 – “I feel so small”
Pg 17 – “Zigging and zooming all over the place”
Pg 20 – “I can’t move on land! I’m too big!”
Pg 21 – “Sit straight! Don’t talk!”
Pg 22 – “This is the trail”, write your name as a snail
Pg 23 – “running” , “digging”
Pg 25 – “Travel safely away”
Pg 28 – All the words about the journey coming back excitedly!
Pg 30 – “On the tail” looking around ready for the next adventure

You could take this further with some of these ideas. I’d love to plan a workshop or medium term plan about this book. There are so many options!!

The snail loves to write with his body. You could do other things to do with writing with your body such as writing in huge letters with your arms or feet. You could link this to art and use crayons on their sides to write like the snail, great for fine motor skills!

Saving whales and the ocean in general is a really important current theme. Whilst home schooling children could use persuasive writing to discuss conservation, draw posters about whales or play more dance games around the theme. We also have a blog about conservation in the pipeline so keep an eye out. 

 

An example from TRS South Kent’s Director, Georgie Tedora

For another story that’s well known, you could use The Chronicles of Narnia. As these are novels, they are a lot longer to look at page by page and there are also 7 of them, that’s right 7! So I’ve chosen, not only my favourite, but probably the most well known one: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. This is a wonderful story set in war times and really uses the imagination from not only the writer, but allows the reader to interpret it too.

Like I said, this is more of a novel so I have chosen some key parts to give you some ideas, but feel free to add more!

Starting off with the setting of war time and when children became evacuee’s. There are 4 siblings who are moved away together. For this you could use the simple idea of packing your things, or even the train the children travel on. Remember, it was wartime so the train would have been a steam train, lots of mechanisms and noises. You can really experiment with that.

When the children are in their temporary home, which is quite a large country home, they are playing and exploring the house when Lucy – the youngest sibling – stumbles across a wardrobe. She hides inside and discovers something amazing. The wardrobe is a magical door that leads to a new world called Narnia. You could use lots of ideas here, creating magical worlds to your liking. You may create a world entirely under water, something in out of space, or a snowy kingdom (like Narnia itself).

As I mentioned, Narnia is covered in snow. The White Witch has put the land under a permanent spell to always make it winter. Lots of ‘cold’ movements here. Perhaps even winter games like snowball fights!

The children, unbeknownst to them, are in danger in Narnia. The White Witch has ordered any humans to be captured, anyone who breaks these rules will be turned to stone by the Witch. You can really break down this part, by getting participants to imagine each singular part of the body becoming stone and unable to move. You can also reverse this (which is what happens later in the story! It is a happy ending I promise).

The children meet some more animals in Narnia, but they end up getting chased by a pack of wolves. You can use the idea of a chase, or hunting even searching for this. Or you could use the idea of the wolves fur. Imagining what they feel like, soft? Coarse?

After they have run for a while, they bump into…. Father Christmas! Yep, that’s right. Lots of ways to interpret this part of the story. You could pretend to be Father Christmas. You could use your favourite part of Christmas to move, like decorating the tree or cooking Christmas dinner?

From Father Christmas, the children each receive a special gift to defeat the White Witch. A Magical horn, a bow and arrow, a healing potion, a dagger, a sword and a shield. Lots of images to use here. Stretching the arms to pull the bow and arrow. Swiping motions for the sword and lots more. Really use your imagination to create different moves for the story.

The next part is where the ‘hero’ of the story comes in. Aslan, a beautiful, brave lion who has set up an army to defeat the queen. Each participant could become the lion. Show of their manes. Big strong powerful movements, but graceful at the same time. After all, Aslan should be king.

The Battle! The army takes on the White witch and her army. You can use some army moves (some of the participants may remember the movements). Again, using strong powerful moves. Different ‘weapons’ in battle. Really get involved in the movements here.

Finally, the happy ending! The children and Aslan defeat the witch and in doing so, Aslan undoes the spell the White Witch put on a lot of animals by using his breath so they are no longer stone. As well as this, the seasons go back to normal and the sun comes out with lots of flowers and trees growing. You can imagine yourself being a plant and growing from a seed to enjoy the sunshine.

Those are just a few key parts you can use from the book. But, like I said, there are more and there are also 6 other books! Enjoy dancing the story and let us know how you get on.

 

If you would like us to do more examples for Dance The Tale please let us know and we’ll see what we can do! 

If you would like some more ideas about how to keep moving throughout the day please see our other blog posts.

Everybody Moving

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home

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Mini Challenges

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The first of our big ideas for passing the time in an active way during Social Distancing… Mini Challenges! 

The big ideas are designed for people at any age, for any ability, but they will need adapting for the people you’re with. So make your space safe, decide what you want to do and enjoy yourself!

Mini Challenges 

Have a competition between residents or family members or do a challenge just for fun! If you want to compete, choose a few of the following, make a points table, carry out the tasks and find your winner!

Wheel Barrows

Who can do the most arm lifts in the wheel barrow? One arm at a time. See our Facebook post for examples and don’t forget to add your own photos, we love to see them.
Wheel Barrows on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/therightstepdc
 
 

Describe your day

Think of a word to describe your day and make a gesture (arm movement) to go with it. One person chooses the winner or vote for the winner or placements.
 

Balance Dance

Have one person in the group choreograph a simple motif (short sequence of movement) or use one from on of our videos. Find something for each person to balance on their heads. You could try teaspoons, light books, washing up sponges etc. Everyone repeats the motif whilst attempting to balance the item on their head. The last person with their item balances wins.
 

Animal Races

You need a bit of space for this. Set a start and finish line and race with a different! Do some animal movements instead of running! Here are some ideas from Halling Primary’s Fun Fitness Club and TRS Teacher, Lou. Usually used as part of her warm up they’d be great for this challenge.
 
 
 

Limbo

How low can you go? Can you dance your way under? If you have some lei (flower necklaces) you could put them on too. 
 

Emoji Dance

A partner challenge. One person secretly picks an emoji either randomly or by choice. Do a dance to represent the emoji, but you can’t face your partner. You have to be looking the other way so they can’t see your facial expressions! The other person has to guess which emoji it is and if they’re right, each team member gets a point.

Plank

Who can hold their plank for the longest? The last to fall, wins!
 

Guess the movie 

A partner challenge, so both members will get points if you’re playing in that way. Dance the key moments or themes from a film so that your partner can guess the movie. A bit like Dance The Tale, but for films.
 

Name and Shape

Take it in turns to say your name and strike a pose. Vote for the best or top three and they get the points. We love doing name and shape in dance lessons. It’s totally adaptable to any person and any theme.
 
 
There are a few to get you going. We will add some more so please keep checking back! If you would like some more ideas for how to keep moving whilst your indoors, try our other blogs…
 

Everybody Moving

Everybody Moving – Care Homes

Everybody Moving – Families at Home
 
 
 

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Welly Walk, Welly Dance

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Children love a welly walk. They love to be outside and they love to explore. Why not bring the welly walk into the dance class and extend the fun! Some things to try for schools, pre-schools, nurseries and when at home.

What is a Welly Walk?

A welly walk is basically that, a walk in wellies. Along the walk the children are encouraged to collect things they see. At this time of year that could be leaves, acorns, chestnut cases and other things that have fallen from trees. It often involves some puddle jumping and could include some leaf kicking.

 

Into Dance…

There are lots of opportunities for movement play whilst on the welly walk, but I’ve put together some ideas for in a dance class, continuing the fun and extending the learning. These things can be done with parents at home or with teachers at school.

Collections

Collect things from the welly walk and bring them into the dance class as inspiration or props. A leaf is great for a cool down. Ask children to sit or lay down comfortably, leaf in hand. With calming music on, they can copy you or interpret your direction in their way. You could begin with stroking the arms, don’t forget the elbows. You could do a tickley arm pit or chin. You can twirl the leaf between the fingers. It can be balanced on different body parts. There are lots of things that can be done during cool down.

Link to English

Use the welly walk to encourage the use of different types of descriptive words (float, swish, splash, slide) then choreograph a dance using the words. This is an easy way to help children be more creative with the types of movements they do. For example, if you ask a child to pretend to be a falling leaf it’s likely that they will reach up and then wiggle down to the ground. If you ask them whilst also reminding them of some of the words they’ve thought of, their movements will be very different. They might begin high up, swaying, twitchy, swoop and then get lower as they float, twist, fly and land softly. If you don’t have real leaves, conkers and twigs etc. for this you can get craft leaves that work well throughout the year!

Roots Game

Whilst on a welly walk, roots are great for inspiring movement, especially big gnarly ones that stick up out of the ground. When back inside you can play the roots game and remember what you did. Set up some bases around the space and at each base the task is different. Tasks could be root jumping (like a ski jump over something), root balancing (find something to balance on in a certain position or balance whilst walking along it), root hopping (a row of roots that need to be hopped or hurdled over) etc. This is circuits for dance and with a theme!

Gumboot Dance

Quite a specialist area, we have dance teachers who are trained to deliver authentic classes, but you could take some aspects of this African dance style into the dance class. Put wellies on and dance in them. Use the wellies to inspire stamping, clapping and welly slapping rhythms!

Acorn, leaf, muddy puddle game.

Get some pictures of these things and/or use your voice to announce each thing. Start slowly. Ask the children to improvise around each item, use descriptive words. See my blog about improvisation for more about this. Once they have some movement material for each one, speed up your announcements. A slow breeze to start with then speeding up so they are moving between each one quickly, switching movements fast and getting excited as they go. This idea could be used as a warm up or for a game anytime in the lesson.

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Valentines Dance Props

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Georgie set my daughter and I a challenge this month…

Make some Valentine’s Day themed dance props! We had a lovely time making them and playing with them since. I’m not going to tell you how to make these things as there are lots of tutorials online about that already, but I would like to share some thoughts and ideas about what we did. 

 

 

Sensory Bottles

  • This is a fantastically versatile prop. You can change the size (imagine a massive one for team work!), the shape (small hand held ones for dancing with), the content and the colour (red gel food colouring was pretty) so they could fit almost any theme. 
  • These are a wonderful thing for Active Armchairs. For all the reasons they are good for sensory stimulation, but also because they are unusual, not patronising (providing the contents is appropriate) and they brighten up the room. 
  • We only had jars for this, but I do think plastic screw top bottles are better. The jars look very pretty, but they are a little heavy and might break if dropped. 
  • When making them hand eye co-ordination and fine motor skills were developing. 
  • You can dance with them, copy them or move after them as they roll away.
  • Play a version of eye spy and use the things in the bottle as inspiration for choreography. 

Hearts for Hopping!

  • I used an A4 bit of card and let Tiny One choose how to decorate them. We used crayons, stickers and paint. We could have made smaller ones and turned them into wands! 
  • They are also very versatile as shape, size, colour, decoration etc. can be changed. 
  • The texture of the puffy stickers is a nice addition to the game. Other textures could be used as well. 
  • They could also be used for aiming or landing pads and this would be fun for Active Armchairs
  • This would be a lovely thing for a cross-curricular approach. Each child in the class could make their own and they can bring them to dance as a magic spot or as part of a larger thing such as a long snake of hopping stones.

I enjoyed this challenge so if you have one to set us please get in contact and we’ll see what we can make! 

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Touch Your Toes!

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Touching your toesIn our last Lunchtime Pilates Class we were asked to reach forward and touch our toes during warm up. The class was a mix of complete beginners to intermediates and then those who have been touching their toes all their lives so, as you can imagine, there were various responses. It got me thinking about the health benefits of being just a little bit flexible and able to touch your toes. So many people can’t, but with a little bit of stretching they could benefit a lot!

Touching your toes is about flexibility in the back, hips and thighs, calves and feet so stretching these out goes a long way to helping you touch your toes and, if these four areas continue to stay flexible, the benefits as one gets older are great. Think of how breathing is affected if your back is hunched, or how your stride would be reduced if the calf muscles are short.

The most simple, but quite slow way to get closer to touching your toes is to just try it everyday. Perhaps each time you get out of and into bed reach down and touch your toes, hold it for ten seconds, breath and get a little closer. Repeat this twice everyday and it’s possible you’ll notice a small difference.

Standing TouchIf you want to speed up the process and feel the other health benefits more quickly there are some other stretches I would recommend as well. Standing stretches for this are well documented and I have mentioned them below, but as we work with a lot of people who are unable to balance and stretch standing up I’ve decided to outline some seated stretches and adaptations. As always, only moving how you feel like moving. Don’t stretch to hurt yourself, you shouldn’t feel pain, just a gentle pulling. Also, if you already have a physiotherapist, it’s best to check with them before doing this. You wouldn’t want to mess up the things they’ve already helped you achieve!

The Back
The most obvious way to stretch your back out is to curl it, also known as the cat stretch. On a chair you should begin sitting upright, spine stacked and legs uncrossed out front and hip width apart. Place your palms on your knees and curve and lift the back to stretch.

The Hips and Thighs
There are many standing stretches for this including lunges, reaching forward and down, twists and lifts. The best stretch to do whilst seated to help you with toe touching is the thigh stretch. Walk yourself to the front third of your chair. Straighten one leg and place the heel on the floor. Keeping the back straight and putting both hands on the still bent leg lean forward slightly. Only go as far as you can without curving your back. Repeat on the other leg!

Calves
Very similar to the thigh stretch above, but with subtle differences to work a different muscle. You still move to the front third of the chair, put one leg forward and sit up straight, but this time your hands hold each side of the chair and your feet flex so your toe points to the ceiling. Repeat with the other leg!

FeetTennis Ball
There are more than 100 muscles in the feet and many of them, the ones in your soles, get involved when touching your toes. Grab a tennis ball and put it under one foot. Roll it around for up to a minute to warm up, loosen and stretch the muscles. It will feel like quite a a massage. Don’t forget the other foot.  If you don’t have a tennis ball try lifting the heel, keeping the toes on the floor. Repeat, slowly padding through the feet.

Seated touchOnce you’ve done these stretches try touching your toes again, I’m sure you will be closer whether your trying to touch them whilst seated or standing. Don’t stop there though, repeat the stretches at least once a day and you’ll get there eventually.

At the end of the Pilates class I mentioned above, we did cool down and had to touch our toes again. Grunts of surprise came from everyone when they realised they were all that little bit closer! it just shows how much of a difference a few stretches can make!

Good luck and please let us know if you reach your toes!

This is meant to be more of a factual post, but if you want to come to Pilates and you live near Sun Pier House in Chatham, we do it every Tuesday, 12.15 – 1pm and it’s wonderfully relaxing! Click HERE for more information. 

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