It's Showtime! Last week's blog was about my costume box. Well, you certainly can't have a box of costumes without having a STAGE! And who knew it could be so easy.
Simply go to the discount store, and get yourself a curtain tension rod, and install it in the appropriate doorway--hopefully one that has an entrance to the den or living room where all the family can gather and watch the young ones perform. Nothing better as any grandparent can attest. And just lower the curtain, and it becomes a puppet stage, Finished for the evening? Simple release the tension in the rod and take it down.
If you've never encouraged your grandkids to perform, let me encourage you to start. The advantages for your grandkids are many:
It develops language and speaking skills. It gives children confidence. Kids that develop such skills in drama tend to become leaders and do well in school. Because of the confidence that develops, they are inclined to participate in math and science fairs. They do well academically. What grandparent wouldn't want to have a hand in developing that.
As you can imagine, drama nurtures the imagination and promotes creativity. It enables the practice of cooperation and collaboration. I've seen my grands work together on plays--developing dialogue, writing scripts, and planning entrances and exits. Yes, they argue, but they eventually work it out.
An important advantage~
And here's one advantage that we don't often think about--it teaches empathy. As I've told you in previous blogs, I taught middle school. I was fortunate to train in "History Alive." One of the components in that teaching technique is role playing. Let's say you've completed your study of the Texas revolution. You can then begin having your students role-play. You might assign someone to be William Travis, the leader of the Alamo. The student has to get inside of Travis and try to comprehend what that might have been like--to ask men to fight against incredible odds. You can even have someone be Santa Ana and try to comprehend his motives for not letting Texas escape the dominion of Mexico. Or have someone play the role of a farmer's wife whose husband decides to join the Texians. You can see how that would development empathy and understanding, two traits that I think are sorely needed in today's world.
But don't just take my word for it~
"I find that one of the great things about acting--you have the opportunity to stand in somebody else's shoes. . . Each character faces a dilemma in her life, and as an actor you're able to step into that character's skin, look through her eyes. You leave transformed, a different person, because once you live a little bit of someone's life, it changes you." Sally Field
"I love acting because it's this space where dreams can be realized, fantasy comes to life, and there are no limitations on what's possible." Jessica Alba
And puppet shows~
And we can't forget Shakespeare:
"The play's the thing. . ."
Give creative dramatics a try at your house. Just another fun way to bond with your grands and see their wonderful creativity and imagination in action!
Here are two links to one of my favorite blog spots. The first is about clothespin people which you could use for puppets, and the second is another way to do a "no sew" puppet theater.
(You'll have to do a search for "Clothespin People" and "Puppet Show". I was unable to link directly to those pages. Sorry......)
Who hasn't been captivated by the picture of the grandchildren sneaking up the stairs into grandma's attic going through her trunk and trying on old clothes? It's an image that delights us and one I've tried to recreate at my house.
My daughter-in-law actually got me started on a costume box. For my granddaughter's fourth birthday, I called my daughter-in-law for ideas for a gift. She suggested costumes for their family's costume box. I was glad to contribute. But it got me to thinking. . . I needed a costume box at my house too! I already had a cedar trunk that I have used for a coffee table, but no longer had room for in my living room. I was set!
And more. . .
My sister got me the book, Grandmother, Another Name for Love by Alice Gray and Susan Wales. I've already sung this book's praises in another blog post. I copied a lot of the authors' ideas for my costume box from their chapter, "Tender Moments," when I started my costume collection for my box.
Collect, collect, collect! From EVERYWHERE!
You can probably guess the drill. Start with your own closet--old dresses, handbags, tops, shoes, and perhaps some hats. Then from my husband's closet I got an old sport coat and two vests from his hippie days including a serape. Then I hit the thriftshops. The local party supply store is great as you can get a wealth of accessories there for a minimal price. I even snagged tutus and princess dresses at discount stores. The list is endless. My sister donated all her old costume jewelry, but as I write this, I'm thinking she might want her jewelry back! She has great-granddaughters now.
Don't forget the jewelry and accessory box. I used a separate box for that--so boas and flower leis don't get crushed. This cute box was inexpensive at the craft store and it matches my guest room decor.
Remember other professions too! That fourth birthday for my granddaughter that I previously mentioned? Besides the princess dress, I did buy her nurses' and doctors' garb as well. And my girls love the safari hats (or dinosaur hunter's hats....whatever) and the firemen hats too. I'm an equal opportunity grandma!
Please remember. . .
This costume box was thirteen years in the making. This didn't happen overnight. And some of the costumes were donated from my grandkids' own costume box. They outgrew them and wanted their younger cousin to enjoy them when he was at my house.
If nothing else, just let them get into your closet. That's really all they need for a world of fun!
"Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning." Mr. Rogers
Costumes in action:
Be sure to put your grand in an apron--that's half the fun. Then get out all ingredients and equipment. I did let my granddaughter measure the ingredients. I even let her chop the apples. First I peeled and cut the apple in big chunks. Then she did the rest of the cutting herself with a plastic nice. Very safe.
You can plan an activity around just about any book your grand enjoys. Simply read the book and see what extended activity the book suggests in your mind. The possibilities are endless. Favorite books for 4-5 age groups are many. Reading "Be Nice to Spiders"? Make a spider--and a 3-dimensional one is really fun. Dr. Seuss' "One Fish, Two Fish"? Make a fish on a line! Another favorite that's still available for this age group is "George and Martha." Instead of making Martha's split pea soup, make her chocolate chip cookies! A never-ending array of choices when enriching the book experience with your grand! Always fun for both generations!
I know my readers have extended various reading activities with your grands--whether it was writing your own books based on a favorite book, cooking or doing some art activity. Please write me and share. I would love to hear.
Books mentioned today that are a favorite of preschoolers:
"George and Martha" by James Marshall
"Be Nice to Spiders" by Margaret Bloy Graham
"Swimmy" by Leo Lionni
"One Fish, Two Fish" by Dr. Seuss
"The Very Busy Spider" by Eric Carle
Great blog for children's art ideas~ artbarblog.com
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!