Though she isn’t quite ready yet, you can’t wait for the day when your toddler or preschooler will be old enough to attend the classic Christmas ballet, “The Nutcracker.” She may not be mature enough to sit through the full-length performance, but she can still enjoy the show’s sights and sounds if you recreate some of its memorable aspects in the cheer and comfort of your home.
Create a “Nutcracker”
The humble toilet paper roll can be the basis for your toddler or preschooler’s very own nutcracker creation. Let him transform the roll into the nutcracker’s body with red, non-toxic paint. Help him to cut strips of black construction paper for boots and a hat, and red construction paper for arms. Glue these onto the toilet roll body for him. Help him to cut a round face from white construction paper, letting him use a marker or crayon to draw the nutcracker’s face. Glue the final black paper strip to the top of the face as a hat, attaching the whole thing to the roll. Allow the glue to dry completely.
Dance to the Music
Dig out your childhood copy of Tchaikovsky’s famous music from “The Nutcracker” ballet. If you don’t own the music, find a recording online at a website such as Classics for Kids (link in Resources). No need to worry about the technical movements executed by professional ballerinas, just let your toddler or preschooler go with the music, dancing in her own style. Introduce her to a variety of rhythms and moods by switching between “March,” “Dance of the Snowflakes,” “Arabian Dance” and “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” for example. Your child can explore long, flowing movements or short, staccato ones, depending upon the selection.
Make a Costume
Your preschooler might fancy dressing as Herr Drosselmeyer or the Nutcracker. A piece of black fabric with a ribbon attached for tying at the neck will create the mysterious Drosselmeyer’s cape. Add a simple black shirt and pants beneath. Let him watch a snippet of the opening scene of the ballet, and he’ll get some useful ideas on how to swing the cape for dramatic effect. To recreate the military look of the Nutcracker’s costume, trim a red, button-up pajama top in gold braid and paint the buttons gold. A used oats carton, covered in black felt and secured with an elastic band under his chin creates the hat. Show your “nutcracker” how to march around, wooden-soldier style.
Act Out a Scene
There’s more to a performance of “The Nutcracker” than pirouettes and grand battements. Focus on acting out the opening party scene with your youngster, letting her choose which character she’d like to portray. To give the full effect of the scene, plan your re-creation to coincide with an afternoon play date that includes a few of her friends. Use sturdy Christmas decorations and wrapped gifts as props and have the children enact the arrival of guests and the presentation of the nutcracker by Herr Drosselmeyer to Clara. Your afternoon of playacting can end with your child’s guests bidding their fond farewells still in character as the party-goers from the ballet.
As the pressure to pass standardized tests increases, even preschools are spending more time on strictly academic subjects. Instead of a general introduction to the alphabet, many preschools include a ...Read More
Just because your little learner's lead teacher makes it look easy, doesn't mean that acting as an early childhood educator is simple. Teaching preschool age children requires highly specialized training ...Read More
The best time to send your child off to school depends largely on whom you ask. Proponents of starting kindergarten as early as possible believe it gives a child a ...Read More
Your little one may face a culture shock in daycare if your Christian values prevent him from doing things that are common in many daycare centers. That does not mean ...Read More
In the world of foster care and adoption, when it comes to siblings, keeping them together is always the first choice. Even though in your mind, you see yourselves all ...Read More
Most parents adore that toothless gummy grin, but whether you like it or not, teeth begin to surface as your baby turns around 6 months old and his first milk ...Read More
You can use the camera on your iPod Touch to take VGA-quality photos and store them on the device, but you can also transfer high-quality photos from your computer to ...Read More
Because it's not enough that your preschooler or kindergartner can build an amazing sand castle and (almost) tie her own shoes -- now you have to worry about her math ...Read More
While an early educational program might not ensure that your preschooler is Harvard bound, it can help her to learn better. Whether you are looking to build on a specific ...Read More
In the beginning of the PC revolution, when monitors where often 12 to 14 inches in size, using your keyboard directly in front of the screen was not an option; ...Read More
Instilling self-control by establishing and sticking with rules is the name of the game when it comes to reigning in misbehaving toddlers and preschoolers. Self-control -- something many adults could ...Read More
As the mom of a toddler or preschooler, you are probably well acquainted with the magic of dipping. There's just something about dunking her meal that can get even the ...Read More
Potty training is a normal part of every child's physical and emotional development, but not every child develops at the same pace. If your child is resistant to potty training ...Read More
The grief that accompanies parental death can trigger psychological side effects for your child. If these psychological effects are long term or if they interfere with your child’s emotional or ...Read More
According to the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development, 80 percent of children living in the United States have at least one sibling. Many children have more than one sibling, and ...Read More
There are a number of psychological tests used to measure intellectual ability in children, but there are a limited number that are available for preschool-aged children. Although measurement of skills ...Read More
Toddlers are curious by nature. Young children in the toddler stage are discovering their independence and are interested in exploring the world around them. However, their exploration can lead to ...Read More
You don't have to break the bank to throw your little one a top-notch bash. Free or low-cost places such as public parks are creative alternatives to the more pricey ...Read More
If you're looking for a fun activity for you and your preschooler, (and an unforgettable party treat) these puppy cupcakes are sure to please. If you want to get creative ...Read More
Sensory play activities are enjoyable and educational for your toddler or preschooler. You're encouraged to join in the fun but expect to get your hands messy! Any pastime that stimulates ...Read More