5 Ways to Bring Arts into your Nanny Day
We have all heard the statistics. Participation in the arts is one of the best things for raising grades, developing social skills, improving fitness, and just generally making people happier. As a professional childcare provider, you don’t have to look far for ways to incorporate the arts into your kiddo’s lives. Here are our top 5 suggestions for bringing some artsy fun into your day.
Reading is Foundational
Whether they are reading a play, reading instructions for a craft, or only interested in reading their texts, reading is the foundation of many creative activities. Lots of children find reading boring simply because it has never been presented in a way that makes it fun. So spice it up and encourage reading in ordinary tasks. Take the kids to the library and ask them to read you the back of the DVD’s they want to check out. Or, for little ones, attend story time and follow along with your finger in the book so that they can read as they listen. Introduce kids to comics. Pop Culture Classroom has great resources for using comic books as a resource to help hesitant readers learn to love books. Phones and computer games even offer opportunities to encourage reading. Next time your kiddo asks to play, join them and ask them to read you the instructions, comments and any other text that appears inside their game.
Classical music is famously great for growing brains. But it doesn’t have to be boring. Many pieces of classical music have fabulous stories that go along with them. Do a little research and tell the story as your kids listen along. Ask them what they hear in the music. If they like to move, encourage them to dance or act out what they hear. If they prefer something quieter, try having them draw the story.
Some wonderful places to start are: Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev, The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi, The March of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns
Photo Credit: Bridget Eldridge Photography
Drawing is great for helping young children develop fine motor skills. It can also help older children learn critical focusing skills. It’s easy to pull out paper and crayons at the kitchen table, but try making it special. Build a “sketch kit” with your child’s favorite tools (markers, crayons, pencils…) and colors and then go out and encourage them to draw what they see. Set up a space in the back yard or at a park and have them find a cool tree or a beautiful flower, and then sketch what they see. They can even bring a favorite toy and pose it in nature. This gets them outside as well as elevating their drawing experience.
Play with their Food
Good table manners are important, but some rules should be broken from time to time. Shortbread cookie dough is egg/dairy free and has the consistency of playdough. Make a batch and encourage kids to create an edible masterpiece. They can help you bake it, or eat it raw! This game can be easily added to homework assignments where modeling is required. Are they making a diorama? Why not make it edible. Do they have to build a model of the solar system? Paint the dough with food coloring and you have some quick and tasty planets! The options are truly endless.
Put on a Play
Imagination play is something that is on the decline now that kids have so much easy access to screens. But that doesn’t mean they don’t still like to show off. Encourage your kids to re-enact their favorite movie or the story they read in school. Help them build a stage and ask them to teach you what they learned in their science lesson. Kids love to perform. You can add costumes or homemade puppets to the mix too. Help them develop adventure stories or even write a small script. The theater is truly a limitless canvas for your young ones to explore emotions, social situations, and even “boring” subjects like history.
You don’t have to have a fancy MFA or a full-on proscenium stage to bring arts to children. At its heart, the arts are about exploring the world in ways beyond words. Encourage your kiddos natural tendency to curiosity and you will open up worlds of learning and confidence for them that they will be mining for years to come.