ART Smart Parenting show

ART Smart Parenting

Summary: Each week we’ll explore why the arts are important to your child, tips on choosing arts activities for your kids, and ideas you can easily implement into your busy schedule to help YOU raise kids that are confident and successful in school and in life. For extra tips on raising smart kids, Head on over to

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  • Artist: Yong Pratt
  • Copyright: © Art Smart Parenting, Yong Pratt, 2013


 5 Study Strategies for Word Smart Kids | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:27

  Today we’ll be diving deeper into study strategies for Verbal Linguistic Intelligence or Word Smart, the final installment in this series of 8 podcasts/blog posts.  As with the previous posts/podcasts, this post has been inspired by the work o...

 3 Study Strategies for Nature Smart Kids | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 7:47

Over the past 6 weeks we’ve been discussing Howard Gardner’s 8 multiple intelligences or learning archetypes as well as specific study strategies for each of them.  Adam Sikinski's blog inspired this current series of podcasts/blogs.  Though he doesn't specifically address Naturalistic Intelligence, he's detailed much useful information.   Today's topic is Naturalistic Intelligence or Being Nature Smart.   Being nature smart means having an understanding and being curious about the environment.  Nature smart kids notice what’s around them, no matter where they may be, and enjoy identifying and classifying such things as plants or animals.   What are the benefits of being nature smart? Being observant of one’s surroundings Realizing the importance of the environment Learning and appreciating everything in nature   Examples of everyday activities enjoyed by Nature Smart Kids: Hiking; dinosaurs; visiting science museums, zoos or aquariums; collecting things found in nature such as rocks, bugs, feathers; bird watching; nature walks; the weather; volunteering at the humane society; growing a garden or house plants; cooking; star-gazing.   Examples of Nature Smart Jobs: animal trainer; archeologist; astronomer; geologist; landscape designer; nature guide; paleontologist; veterinarian; zoologist   Nature smart individuals help to advance our world by showing us ways to understand our world through their observations and discoveries.   3 Study strategies for Nature Smart Kids: One of THE most effective study strategies for those that are nature smart is to take studying outside.  Whether you set up a study area in the backyard or hide out in a fort or playhouse, being outdoors may inspire those that are nature smart to boost their learning potential. 1.  Take learning mobile Enjoying a walk, riding a bike, or simply exploring may do more than give nature smart kids an escape.  These outdoor activities when done while thinking about or recalling any topic can increase learning enjoyment.  If you’ve even taken a walk to clear your head or gain clarity, you understand the power of being out in nature.  The physical act of moving ones body in the outdoors while pondering any topic may bring new clarity.  Observing subtleties such as the direction of the wind, the shapes in the clouds, or the slope of a road, may aid in remembering topics and enhance learning.   2. Ask questions and make observations relating to phenomena or objects found in nature Creating a list of questions and heading outdoors to ponder the answers or staging a re-creating may do wonders in helping your child gain a deeper understanding about any topic.   For example, when learning history, nature smart kids could easily fashion action figures, castles, and more out of rocks, sticks, or dirt.  They could create a scene from history and have their action figures reinact them.  Talk about living in the moment!  Not only are nature smart kids in their preferred environment, they are using objects that have significance for them.   When learning math, gather objects found in nature such as rocks, sticks, feathers, or blades of grass, to represent anything from single numbers to equations.  This activity is not unlike using manipulates such as blocks and balls in preschool.  Manipulating these objects (adding, subtracting, multipying, dividing) will leave a lasting impression on your nature smart child.   3.  Make music from instruments found in nature.  If you listened to or read my previous post/podcast regarding study strategies for Musical Intelligence, this idea may sound familiar.  Creating lyrics and musical accompaniment (from objects found in nature) about any topic could lead to deeper learning.  If your child isn’t quite up for making music, creating poetry about a topic and relating it to something naturalistic may be a huge benefit for your child.  

 Study Skills for Mathematical-Logical Intelligence | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:33

For the past several weeks we’ve taken a closer look at study strategies for each of the Multiple Intelligences as proposed by Harvard Professor Howard Gardner and discussed on Adam Sikinski’s blog.   Today’s topic is study skills for mathematical-logical intelligence.  How do you ID mathematical-logical (M-L) intelligence? M-Ls gravitate towards and enjoy science, creating systems, budgeting, estimating, identifying patterns, mathematics, logical thinking, managing and planning time, solving problems or calculating scores. M-L Careers: Scientists, engineers, computer programmers, accountants and mathematicians M-Ls help to advance our world by making new breakthrough discoveries.  They provide us with new technologies that enhance our lives.   When it comes to study strategies, flexibility and creativity are important.  Helping your child try out all these strategies and then choose the ones that work the best for your child are key.  Exploring various locations for study and employing tools when necessary will also lead to greater success and retained knowledge. Here are 4 study strategies for those that gravitate towards Mathematical-Logical Intelligence   1. Create Sequences Create a timeline of events that are easily recognizable within the scope of the topic your child is studying. Leave gaps between the sequence in order to add further topics as you come across them throughout your reading and research.   2. Identify and Analyze Information Take important chunks out of the information you are learning and put them aside for further in-depth analysis. This is akin to a scientist would do when studying a microbe under a microscope. By thoroughly taking the time to identify and then analyze this information, your child will have the upper hand in gaining a deeper insight and understanding into the topic area. TIP: Have your child pretend s/he is a scientist studying a breakthrough piece of information that could effectively transform the world for the better.  Help you child engage the imagination to examine and piece together all the information needed to expand his or her own thinking and awareness about this topic.   3. Utilize Charts and Graphs Creating a chart can aid in understanding and comprehending the study material. Information that has numbers, ordered lists, and other related information can be designed into a memorable chart that will standout in your chid’s mind. You may even be quite surprised at the concepts you will be able to represent within a chart format. In fact, the only limitation is your child's imagination.   4. Utilize Equations Equations are wonderful things that will piece together concepts and ideas in ways that you might not have imagined were possible. When considering equations, expand the possibilities by thinking outside the box. Do equations just have to be comprised of numbers and individual letters? Or can you put words, phrases, concepts, and ideas into a large and expansive equation that will help you to fully grasp a thorough and complete understanding of the topic you are studying? TIP: Have your child imagine him or herself as Albert Einstein working within his thinking room and drawing up an expansive equation on the board about this subject area. He is on the verge of making an incredible breakthrough that will revolutionize how we think and understand the subject you are studying.   Remember to visit the accompanying blog post for this podcast at  I’d love to hear your feedback about implementing these study strategies or share other strategies that you use.   Don’t forget to head over to iTunes and leave us a 5 star review if you’ve learned valuable information for your job as a parent.  Stay tuned for next week’s podcast where I’ll be sharing study strategies for naturalistic intelligence.

 Intrapersonal Intelligence and YOUR child | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 10:02

For the past several weeks, we’ve been discussing study strategies for each of the 8 Multiple Intelligences (Howard Gardner and the blog post of Adam Sicinski). To recap, each of us has 8 distinct types of intelligences that come in to play depending on the circumstances or learning experiences we encounter.  Unique to each of are the dominant intelligences that make us who we are. For me personally, I am very much a kinesthetic and visual learner.  I need to see and do to make learning relevant and long-lasting for me. Today we are going to explore Intrapersonal Intelligence or what is commonly referred to as being Self-smart.   Intelligence Identification How do you identify a self-smart child?  If your child enjoys in activities such as self-talk, visualizing, goal setting, working on his own, day dreaming, following their intuition, journaling, solitude, personal analysis, reflection and self-assessment, then you have a Intrapersonally Intelligent Child or Self-smart child.   Self-smart individuals help to advance our world through deep reflection and insight that helps expand how we think about life, society, the environment and ourselves. Here are some examples of careers for the self-smart: Inventors, entrepreneurs, psychologists and life coaches Success Strategies:  Commit to the strategies and don’t judge them. Allow your kids to try them all and discover the ones that are most relevant to THEM, not you. The following study strategies are designed to increase your child's ability to learn and remember info more readily as well as adding variety and creativity to study sessions. Empower your self-smart kids by giving them space. Creating special (sacred places) to study is a must. .   Here are 2 study strategies that you can use with your Self-Smart Child 1. Effective Questioning Albert Einstein said “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”  This is especially relevant for those that exhibit Intrapersonal Intelligence.  Knowing how to ask the right questions is key. Prepare a list of questions that will help your child gather a deep insight about any topic Pay attention to any personal feelings and motivations regarding the topic. Questions must add to current knowledge as well as challenge new learning. Here are some personal reflective questions to get you started: Why should I learn this? How is this of significance? How can I apply this into my life? How will learning this change me? How does this fit in with what I already know?   2. Personal Reflection and Visualization Reflecting and visualizing on the learning process (before, during, and after) is an important step to understanding.  Questions such as: Has the study session been productive?  What could be done better?  What went well?  Have I grown from learning this topic? Self-reflection and understanding is an absolutely essential component of the accelerated learning process that you simply cannot do without. Taking this process for granted may be detrimental to learning for your self-smart child. Implement these study strategies for your Self-Smart Child this week and see what new discoveries are made!  

 Interpersonal Intelligence – 2 Study Strategies | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:21

We've explored study strategies for Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, and musical Intelligences. Today we’ll look more closely at study strategies of Interpersonal Intelligence (again inspired Adam Sikinski blog post). Before we dive it, I just want to make sure that its known that we all possess each of the 8 intelligences.  Every individual, however, displays a unique set of dominant intelligences.   Let’s recap Interpersonal Intelligence Individuals with Interpersonal or Social Intelligence enjoy: listening, mediating, persuading, negotiating, communicating, problem solving, teaching, coaching, training, or helping others.  Interpersonal intelligence is often seen in business. Some potential careers of Interpersonally-Intelligent Individuals: Managers, sales, public speakers, politicians, lawyers and therapists Those with Interpersonal Intelligence help to advance our world through the process of building strong emotional connections with other people that lead to economical decisions that expand our way of life. Here are 2 study strategies for Interpersonal Intelligence 1. Study Background Information Most Interpersonal Learners or social learners have a clear fascination with people and their areas of interest.  Expanding one's awareness of people and their backgrounds helps to develop a higher level of motivation for continued learning. Read author’s biographies, or take a few moments to research the background of the topic. Do research online to find info on people and topics   2. Hold Discussions with Others Interpersonal learners are the social butterflies of this world.  By engaging with others in discussions, learning becomes more meaningful and new ideas, insights, feelings, and understanding of topics abound. Group study sessions or lively debates may help propel learning for your interpersonal learner.  Whether with friends or amongst the family, lively dialogue and socialization is beneficial for learning. According to Thomas Armstrong in his book “In Their Own Way,” peer teaching is an excellent way for your interpersonal learner to display competence surround a topic.  By teaching a topic to others (social engagement), your child is setting the stage for learning any topic on a deeper level and recall will be easier.   Creating social learning opportunities for your Interpersonal learner can help make learning fun, engaging, and an event to be remembered!   If you’ve found this episode helpful, please remember to share it with your friends, leave your comments on the blog or subscribe to the Raising smART Kids Podcast on iTunes.   This is Yong Pratt wishing you a Happy week of socializing!

 3 Study Strategies for Musical Intelligence | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 7:21

So far we've explored Visual-Spatial and Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligences and specify study strategies for each. Today we’ll be looking at study strategies for Musical Intelligence again inspired Adam Sikinski blog post. Let’s recap Musical Intelligence The entertainment industry is full of individuals displaying Musical Intelligence: Musicians, singers, song writers and in some ways actors dominate this area and help to advance our world by transforming our emotions through their creative endeavors. If your child has a natural inclination to: keeping rhythm, make music, sing songs, hum, nature sounds, create jingles or easily remembers verses and poetry, then you have a Musically-Intelligent Child. Here are 3 study strategies for Musical Intelligence 1. Musical Summaries Summarize a topic using your child's favorite melody.  This is an engaging way to remember topics and making up new lyrics for a song might just become a new fav. Whether classical, rap, country, or pop resonates with your child, summarizing learning through music can be extraordinarily fun!   2. Transform Summaries into Poetry Maybe singing is not your child's cup of tea.  Perhaps transforming learning into poetic verse is a better fit.  Periodic table of elements a la Beyonce anyone? The musical cadence of poetry may come naturally for some.  With time and practice anyone can become an outstanding poet.   3. Play Relaxing Music While Studying Music can magically transform mood.  A number of studies have shown that music can transform brain rhythms and chemistry.  In addition, certain types of music such as classical have shown beneficial to stimulating natural learning.  Listening to classical may also inspire research into the lives of the composers to which your child listens. Not sure if these strategies will work for your child?   Why not try them out and see. BONUS STRATEGY: Take musical intelligence to the next level by enrolling your child in music lessons.  If you live in Elko or Lander Counties, NV (Elko, Spring Creek, Carlin, Wells, Battle Mountain), Elko Academy of the Arts offer private and group music instruction in piano, voice, guitar, strings, and flute.  Give them a call today at 775.753.5327 find lessons to help develop your child's musical intelligence.   Remember to subscribe to the Raising artSMART Kids podcast on iTunes. Here’s to week full of music!

 5 Study Strategies for Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 12:21

Welcome back to our second installment of specific study strategies for multiple intelligences.  If you didn't get a chance to take a look at Adam Sikinski's blog on which this podcast/blog are based you can do so here. Today, we'll be discussing study strategies for Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence. A quick recap on Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence Bodily kinesthetic learners: demonstrates great physical ability, proficiency and skill, enjoys sports, games, dancing, cooking, decorating, using his/her hands, DIY projects, and getting physically involved in the tasks at hand. Individuals displaying bodily-kinesthetic intelligence advance our world by keeping us entertained, and by providing essential maintenance services that make all our lives much easier. Recommended Study Strategies Like all his recommended study strategies, Adam states that some ideas may be unorthodox or somewhat cumbersome, however the impact that they will have on accelerating your learning potential will be long and lasting.  His strategies are designed to enhance learning by adding variety and creative self-expression to study sessions. He also recommends identifying activities that resonate with your child, and to use a variety of tools and locations to optimize learning. Here are 5 study strategies for your bodily-kinesthetic learner: 1. Physically Write on Paper  The key to bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is to physically engage with tasks and move the body to stimulate the mind.  Writing ON paper rather than on a computer does just that.  Writing on paper is one of these methods that works very well to naturally expand this intelligence. However, be creative and use your imagination. 2. Act as if Role Playing Topic (too funny not to be shared entirely)  Okay, congratulations once again. You have been awarded the leading role in a new Stephen Spielberg movie alongside Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. This could be your big break. However, not only do you play the leading role, Stephen Spielberg has actually requested that you write the script for the movie. The only guideline that he gave, was that this movie has to be about the topic you are currently studying and that it must be an absolute blockbuster, otherwise his reputation is on the line. Now get to work and create the script of your life. In all seriousness, this is a very effective means of assimilating the key components of the topic you are studying into your long-term memory. First, you must prepare a written script for the topic you are studying. In fact it is even your responsibility to assign different actors to act out the scenes with you. However, like Eddie Murphy in “Coming to America”, Stephen Spielberg has requested that you role play all the other minor characters. In fact, I just got a text message from Stephen saying that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been removed from the script as their acting was somewhat sub par. I guess it looks as though you are the only star of the movie playing a multitude of roles. Once you have laid out your study materials, simply begin be physically standing in front of a mirror and acting out every word with intense emotion, perfect annunciation (it actually doesn’t matter whether or not it’s perfect), with heart and pure passion that would make William Shakespeare proud. This is probably one of the most entertaining and fun study strategies on the list that has a long lasting impact on your memory. You might even find it helpful to record your acting on a digital camera and later post it on YouTube for all to see. Wouldn’t that be something?  3. Act as if Teaching Topic Acting out the topic will yield greater results for a bodily-kinesthetic learner. Prepare your notes about the topic, then simply stand up and pretend as though you are teaching this material to a group of students who have relatively no experience or understanding about this subject. At the end of the lecture,

 8 Study Tips for Visual-Spatial Intelligence | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 13:58

Over the next several weeks, we'll be taking a closer look at each of the 8 intelligences as proposed by Howard Gardner.  Today's topic is Visual-Spatial Intelligence. Researching multiple intelligences on the web led me to a blog entitled, Seven Intelligences of Accelerated Learning by Adam Sicinski.  In his post, Adam shares specific study strategies for each of the intelligences.  If you want to get a jump start you can read Adam's full post. For the visual-spatial learners, traditional study methods (memorizing, copying) may not provide enough creativity so many of Adam’s activities include a great deal of creativity and variety. Here are Adam’s Visual-Spatial Study Recommendations 1. Imagine Writing a Book  Don’t let yourself be limited - imagine the possibilities of your book (title, chapters, visuals, plot, etc).  If you think about how you could make the subject as interesting to the reader as possible, you could be the next big author! 2. Imagine Giving a Lecture Take a moment to visualize yourself in front of millions of viewers and use those feelings to help create your presentation. 3. Gather Insights through Questioning Writing out questions, answering them and taking time to contemplate provide Visual-Spatial learners with an alternate way of learning.   4. Gather Insights from People  Ask people questions and create pictures of their answers through simple symbols, diagrams, maps, words, or anything else that comes to mind.   5. Create a Mind Map  Display notes visually using a central theme surrounded by branches of similar topics.  Need help creating a mind map?   6. Create a Mental TV Documentary  Get out the video camera and shoot clips for your documentary or just imagine the steps you'd need to take to create one.   7. Create a Visual Learning Poster Posters are wonderful tools for Visual-spatial learners!  With today’s technology and FREE resources like, infographics (pictoral information) can easily be created online.  You could also create posters the old fashioned way to enhance learning.   8. Create Extended Connections This activity is a lot like putting together a puzzle.  Each theme, concept or idea fits together with others to make a complete picture.  Whether ideas are placed into columns or denoted by symbols or a picture, this method helps to extract the information and categorize it in a meaningful way.  Once the components are lined out by category or chunked into smaller bits, your child will better be able to recall information. Once the information is chunked, use a familiar saying, song, experience and connect it to the new information to really catapult long-lasting learning. If you think you have a Visual-Spatial learner, I hope Adam's ideas help make learning more fun and engaging! Use the upcoming holiday break as a time to observe and celebrate your child's multiple intelligences!  

 Multiple Intelligences and YOUR child | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 13:00

In previous blog posts and podcasts, we've briefly explored Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI)  In short, there are 8 distinct types of intelligences and every individual has varying strengths and weaknesses amongst them.  Before diving right into to the 8 MI's, here's a video of Howard Gardner speaking about MI.   The 8 Multiple Intelligences #1. Visual-Spatial - Think in terms of physical space and see in pictures such architects, visual artists, and sailors.   They have a keen awareness of their environments and enjoy drawing, jigsaw puzzles, reading maps, and even daydreaming. Best ways to teach visual-spatial learners:  drawings, verbal and physical imagery.   #2. Bodily-kinesthetic - Relate to the world through movement (dancer, actors, sports stars, or surgeons). Best ways to teach bodily-kinesthetic learners: physical activity, hands-on learning, acting out, role playing.   #3. Musical - Sensitive to rhythm and sound in music and their environment.   Best ways to teach musical learners: turn lessons into lyrics, speaking rhythmically, tapping out time, listening to music while studying    #4. Interpersonal - the social butterflies - understand and interact well with others. Best ways to teach interpersonal learners: group activities, seminars, dialogues.   #5.  Intrapersonal - They are the most independent of the learners.  Keen understanding of one's own interests, feelings, and goals and tend to shy away from others.  Strong-willed, confident, and opinionated. Best ways to teach intrapersonal learners: independent study, books, creative materials, diaries, privacy, and time.   #6. Linguistic - Highly developed auditory skills, often think in words and use words effectively.  They like reading, playing word games, making up poetry or stories. Best ways to teach a linguistic learner: say and see words, read books together, record creations, play word game, write stories or poems   #7. Logical -Mathematical - Conceptual and abstract thinkers that use reasoning to guide their discoveries. Think scientists, mathematicians, investigators Best ways to teach a logical-mathematic learner: logic games, investigations, mysteries.     #8 Naturalistic Intelligence - This is the ability to recognize and appreciate our relationship with the natural world. Example professions: Astronomers, biologists, and zoologists Best ways to teach a naturalistic learner - get out into nature and explore, classify discoveries   Learning (and testing) in schools Schools and tests generally only focus on two types of intelligences, verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical.  If these are not the dominant intelligence a child possesses, s/he could be labeled average or below average.  What a tragedy!   Next Steps As a parent, it's important to understand the dominant intelligences of your child.  You can then foster the development of those intelligences for the benefit of your child.  For example, if your child is a naturalistic learner, the simple act of changing your child's study environment from inside to out may make all the difference. I challenge you to observe and assess your child's (and yours) dominant learning styles this week.  Think about their performance in school and whether there are any struggles.  Even if your child does well in school, you can find ways for your child to engage more thoroughly and enjoy the learning process more by understanding and fostering his/her learning strengths. Until next week, enjoy the journey of discovering more about multiple intelligences.  

 Celebrating Kindness through the Arts | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 10:25

Happy World Kindness Day!   World Kindness Day (WKD) is observed annually on Nov. 13 and is a day devoted to acts of kindness big and small.   The holiday is celebrated in countries around the world and began in Japan in 1997.   Acts of kindness can take all shapes.  Why not use the ARTS to show kindness to others.  Here are some ideas you can use to celebrate today.  Many were inspired by the Random Acts of Kindness website.  The site boasts a list of "kindness" activities along with resources and stories.  A link to  the website is at the bottom of this post.   Share the love of culinary arts - Let your kids put on their chef hats to help you create a meal for the family or get really brave and let them create a meal on their own. Plant flowers or veggies (in warm climates) or sprouts and herbs indoors (in cold climates) to share.  Collage of kind faces - Challenge your kids to find kind faces in old magazines, newspapers, and books and create a collage. Paint a picture and share it with someone you love or with a stranger Play music for a family member or take it to another level and offer to play at a nursing home or hospital Knit or crochet a gift - there's nothing like a homemade gift to demonstrate to others that you are thinking of them. Create a one-of-a kind sculpture - whether out of clay or things found in nature to display of gift Homemade Thank You Cards or Thinking of You Cards - connect with friends and family members.  They will appreciate the time you took to make something special for them. Kindness bookmarks - commemorate World Kindness day by making bookmarks.  The next time you kids read, they can mark their places and be reminded of the special day. Bird feeders - be kind to the wildlife in your yard as food gets more scarce Kindness journal - write down the ways in which others have displayed kindness, ideas to show kindness, or ways in which you display kindness everyday Create a play or dance show with your kids and let them perform for the family or friends Of course there are loads of other non-arts ways to demonstrate kindness such as picking up the check for someone else’s meals, letting someone go ahead of you at the grocery store,   It's so much fun to use the arts to teach lessons to our kids.  The more we let our kids express themselves through arts, the more they are learning about giving to others and being kind.   Challenge yourself and your kids to create a year of kindness - do one kind thing for someone else everyday and see what happens :)   For more kindness ideas, visit  

 Benefits of Acting | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 11:57

Why is acting important for your kids (and for you)?  Great question! The answers are many and I will address them further down in today's post.   The great thing about acting is that you're able to do it any time, any where, with only your voice or pantomime if you choose.   My personal experiences with acting or simply standing in front of other presenting a speech as a child and young adult are not filled with many positive memories.  I was often fraught with fear and distinctly remember not liking the experience.  It wasn't until I joined Toastmasters that public speaking became less of a chore and more of an enjoyable process.  The skills I learned from speech craft to delivery through the Toastmasters organization help me everyday.  I learned that acting is simply an extension of public speaking.  In public speaking, you must take on the character of the speech through your words and demeanor which is not much different than acting.  Actors usually get to wear elaborate costumes and makeup that public speakers often do not (maybe they should!).   To this day when I speak to adults, I find that one of the most prominent fears is public speaking.  Many adults would rather endure and experience like being hit by a car (yikes) than stand and speak in front of others!   I also learned that public speaking and acting are not activities in which kids (or adults) have much opportunity to engage.  With our ever changing economy and corporate landscape, the skills of public speaking are ones which should be fostered and um…enjoyed (hopefully).   What about you?  Do you like to speak in front of others and put on your acting hat? If not, take a moment to analyze your feelings and jump into your fear or trepidation. The good thing is that teaching your kids to gain confidence in public speaking or acting can be a simple as engaging in an activity like Storybook Theatre.   In our preschool, we often used this method to weave literature into our classes.  Rather than simply reading a story, we would talk about the characters and become them through our way of speaking or dress.  We would transform our classroom's stage into a theatre set to complete the story.   To this day, my 7 and 10 year old daughters love to dream up their own stories and characters, get dressed up, make props and sets, and put on shows which I adore.  I will continue to foster this activity as I feel kids absolutely need to feel comfortable with presenting their ideas in front of others.   Through public speaking and acting, our kids gain confidence (which is increasingly important), learn to cooperate and communicate better with others, and learn to express their feelings openly.   Becoming the characters in a book literally bring stories to life and allow our kids to be inspired to use their problem solving and critical thinking skills to come up with new ideas, new story lines, or even new books that can be published!      Helping our kids grow their minds through acting and developing into confident, creative, and productive citizens that are also great communicators is what we dream of for our kids.  Acting with with our kids will also help us adults to expand our thinking and continue growing!

 7 Tips to Show Success | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 11:29

October and November seem to be the beginning of the performing season for most schools. My performing arts school will present its first show of the season this Friday, November 1. In celebration of the event, I'd like to share my top 7 tips for show success. 1. Costume Check  Before leaving the house, ensure that your perfomer has all the necessary costumes pieces, props, accessories, tights, and shoes. There's nothing worse than arriving at the theatre to discover there's a shoe or accessory at home. 2. Sign In & Out While not all schools and performances will require this, our school requires our younger students (7 and under) to be signed in and out by a parent.  Our older students may sign in/out on their own.  This process aids staff and volunteers in keeping track of kids and ensuring performers are in the right place at the right time.   3. Leave the photos and videos to the professionals Performance time for your kids means you should just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!  As a parent, I know it's stressful to attempt filming/photographing my kids when they are performing.  When I do this, I feel like I don't see and enjoy what my kids are presenting which takes all the fun out of going to a show.  I want to honestly express my appreciation and honor my kids for having the courage to take to the stage.   4. Send water with your performer Your performer will need to keep hydrated during the show. Please send at least a couple of water bottles with your performer to each show. Colored, sugary drinks often lead to spills and stained costumes. Keep these at home for post-show enjoyment.   5. Keep valuables at home Please do not send your performer to the theatre with valuable items including iPods, iPhones, or Kindles, etc. as they may not make it back home safely.     6. Pack crafts, coloring books, or something to read Please send your child with something constructive to do during the time(s) s/he is not on stage. Coloring books, crayons, colored pencils, and books to read are excellent items to keep kids occupied when waiting for their turn on stage.   7. Enjoy the process! While show time is often hectic, it is your child's time to shine! Your performer has learned so much in such a short time - new dance, tumbling, or karate terminology and skills, awareness of self and others, appreciation for the performing arts, and most importantly, confidence in their ability as a performer! Your enthusiasm, encouragement, and positive feedback are so important to you and your performer enjoying their time on stage!   Enjoy the many performances your child will present this season!

 26 Pumpkin-rific Ideas | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 10:07

I love fall!  With its fantastic colors, smells, and textures, and Halloween it’s one of my most favorite seasons.  I just think there should be more days when adults are permitted to dress up and take on a new persona with some fantastic costumes! Here’s a list of 23 ideas to decorate your pumpkins for Halloween and 3 alternate uses for pumpkins:     Traditional carving (BONUS: bake up the seeds with a little salt to snack on while decorating) 2. Power drill holes to create patterns or faces 3. Paint instead of carve (my youngest chose to create a self-portrait and the oldest carved and painted) 4. Sculpt with clay - form eyes, the ears, noses, and mouths 5. Recycle - Use old toilet paper rolls and paper bags to  make hats, scarves, tiaras, and more for your pumpkin creations 6. Beads & Buttons - Glue on for effect 7. Duct tape - use your imagination! 8. Sharpie marker drawings 9. Push pins faces 10. Glitter and glue 11. Artificial flowers or pieces of nature (twigs, leaves) 12. Fabric scraps for patchwork pumpkins or clothing 13. Cotton balls - big, small, colored and white could become bushy eyebrows, hair, fuzzy teeth 14. Pom poms - mosaics, traditional inspiration 15. Pipe cleaners - fairy wings, hats, shapes for facial elements 16. Halloween Stickers, colored dots and stars 17. Glue and tissue paper for textured looks 18. Jewels/small rocks - texture and bling 19. Foam - easy to cut and glue for little hands 20. Feathers - head pieces, beards, mustaches 21. Ghost Pumpkin - drape white fabric over the pumpkin to create a ghost 22. Candy - glue on candy corn, gumdrops, chocolates, gummy worms, and anything other candy of the season 23. Scarecrows - add a body to any of the pumpkins above or use your imagination to dream up another   Other pumpkin ideas suggested by my kids   Candy Dishes - cut in half, scoop out the seeds and line the inside with plastic or bowls 2. Punch Bowl - cut off the top, hollow out the insides, drop in some dry ice, and add your favorite punch 3. Treats - bake and use fresh pumpkin to make delicious pie, cookies, cakes, and smoothies   Enjoy this week before Halloween to engage your kids critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as sparking their artistic genius.  I would love to see all your pumpkin creations!

 Dance – Its History and Language | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 11:09

Ever wonder where dance originated?  Do you need a refresher in learning dance terminology?   Today I'll be sharing a few of my favorite resources for learning and practicing dance (ballet) terminology at home as well as the history and stories o...

 6 Benefits of Music Lesssons | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 9:43

Adding more activities to your already busy schedule may not sound like a worthwhile plan, however, adding music lessons may be just what your child needs. Many studies support the benefits of music  such as raising your child’s IQs to developing problem-solving, and boosting self-esteem.   Even if you child is fortunate to have music education in school, he or she may want to learn an instrument other than the standard recorder.  From piano to guitar to the saxophone, there are a number of instruments that your child may find suits their interests.   While your child may not become the next Beethoven, music can help you child learn better and refine important life skills like patience.   Here are my top 6 reasons your child should turn off the TV and tune in to music lessons. Brain Boosting Power: Music can boost kids brain power and help to improve their academic skills in language and math. Memory: If you often hear “mom, where are my shoes?” then your child could benefit from music lessons. Reciting and remembering music helps to develop both short and long-term memory. Physical skills: Music requires the development of motor skills and coordination.  Some instruments require developing fine motor skills (pressing the keys on the piano or flute) while others require gross motor skills or big muscle movements (playing the drums).  The coordination of both hands in playing music is akin to patting you head and rubbing your belly at the same time. Patience and Discipline: Simply put, we live in a world of instant gratification.  There’s no need to wait to find answers, just ask Siri or text a friend.  The virtue of patience is a dying art that music can revive.  The time and discipline required to learn an instrument can span across years.  These valuable skills branch out beyond music lessons into life and school. Confidence: The study of music instills confidence through repetition and learning.  Reaching milestones such as playing scales on both hands at the same time, reading and understanding a sheet of music, playing all the way through that first song gives students immense confidence.  Standing on stage and overcoming ones fears of public performance also lead to greater levels of confidence. Self expression:  Words, movement, and mathematical symbols alone may no be sufficient for some kids.  Music may be just what is needed to express oneself fully.  Now that you know my top 6 reasons to enroll you kids in music lessons, commit to finding a school near you that can help your child (and the rest of your family) reach his or her goals in music. Once you find a school, listen or read “5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Lessons.”


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