There are a lot of great reasons to get children interested in ballet. Not only does learning ballet enhance a child’s confidence, focus, physical strength, and grace; it also exposes them to great art and music in a way that other physical activities don’t. Dancing is a really good activity for both girls and boys, and there are lots of easy ways to teach them about ballet at home. We have found some wonderful DVDs, books, music and games that can help kids learn everything they need to know about ballet.
An easy way to get small children to learn a few ballet positions and some of the basic terms is to let them watch a DVD. There are quite a lot of ballet DVDs for kids, here are a few of the most popular and some of our favourites:
Toddler and preschoolers will love Baby Ballet. It is a fantastic introduction for children ages 4 to 6. You can watch a preview of the Baby Ballet DVD that shows the step-by-step formal ballet class including a barre warm-up, stretches, center practice and across the floor combinations by dance teacher Rosemary Boross. You can get the Baby Ballet DVD on its own, or as part of a compilation DVD called Dancing for Kids also by Rosemary Boross that includes Baby Ballet as well as with Tot Tap and Junior Jazz.
Another great choice for younger kids is Tinkerbell’s Learn Ballet Step by Step. You can view a preview with instructor Michelle Lungberg, who takes kids through step-by-step instructions & easy-to-learn steps. Some of the things that are taught include
1st through 5th positions, Pliés, Tondus, Degajés, Rondejámbs, Passés, & Piqués.
Petite Feet for kids ages 2-5 uses engaging and imaginative exercises, games and stories to introduce children to basic ballet positions and vocabulary, as well as general dance and musical concepts. The preview gives a good overview of what you can expect with this DVD.
When small kids are interested in ballet it’s a great opportunity to also get them interested in in some of the classic ballet stories and music as well. Along with the instructional DVDs, your kids might really enjoy learning about ballet stories. There are a few really cool DVDs that will introduce kids to some of the great ballets in a kid friendly way. A great series that does this is by Prima Princessa they have DVDs for the Swan Lake,The Nutcracker , and Sleeping Beauty.
A similar DVD to the Prima Princessa DVD is the My First Ballet Collection that has excerpted performances including Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Cinderella as well as others that are perfect for young kids.
Since ballet is such a favourite activity for yosung children to get interested in, there are some fantastic ballet books available. We are only featuring books that are a good introduction to ballet, but there are many story books that would also be wonderful for any ballet obsessed child. Here are a few really lovely books about ballet:
Prima Princessa Ballet for Beginners by Mary Kate Mellow is a book from the same people who did the Prima Princessa DVDs. This book is sort of an insider’s look at the New York City’s School of American Ballet (SAB) in Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and one of the cool things about it is that it shows how dancers train. It has images of young students demonstrating all the basic positions, and what goes into getting ready for a performance.
A Child’s Introduction to Ballet by Laura Lee and Meredith Hamilton is a book and CD that introduces kids to twenty-five of the world’s best-loved ballets through fun facts, dancing instruction, history, information, artwork, and profiles of the world’s great dancers, choreographers, and composers. There are also instructions on ballet positions and the key moves that kids will love to learn.
Ballerina: A Step-by-Step Guide to Ballet by Jane Hackett is an introduction to ballet guide that has beautiful photographs, informative text, and a free instructional DVD to help beginner and intermediate ballet students.
My First Ballet Book for ages 5- 8 is a practical introductory guide to ballet. It goes through what to wear and to how to perfect positions, it also teaches kids about turns, leaps, and arabesques and it also show what goes on behind the scenes at a performance. The book is full of hints, tips, and step-by-step instructions.
Wish Upon a Ballet has everything your young ballet dancer needs to know. The site has ballet history, ballet stories information on famous ballet dancers and much more.
Hopefully you found something that can help your budding ballerina or ballerino. If you have any great resources that you use to teach your kids ballet at home please let us know in the comments below.
Yoga is wonderful practice for kids to get into. Some of the reported benefits to kids doing yoga include reducing stress, helping kids’ focus, concentration and memory, and improvement in appetites, sleep and overall well-being. With a little help from a DVD, online video, app, book or some nifty yoga cards you can help your kids practise yoga at home.
With that in mind we have sought out the best stuff to help you get your kids doing some super cool yoga stuff pronto. Namaste.
Best Yoga DVDs for Kids
There are quite a few yoga DVD aimed at kids. We checked out the following:
For ages 3-5
The best DVD for the ages 3-5 seems to be a toss-up between YogaKids, Vol. 3: Silly to Calm and Storyland Yoga: Yoga for Kids and Families (ages 3 to 8). Oddly enough, a few reviewers for both DVDs found them a little “weird”, but overall the reviews for both these DVDs were very positive. A lot of users like to use Silly to Calm before bedtime to get their kids to wind down and become calm and peaceful. A common complaint about this DVD seems to be that there is a bit too much downtime or long pauses in the DVD where the instructor talks about the beauty of trees, etc. The other DVD that is good for this age range is Storyland Yoga: Yoga for Kids and Families this DVD has two stories with bit of an eco-conscious message that introduces yoga by having kids learn yoga postures that are related to the story. What people really like about this DVD is that it keeps very kids interested and gives a fun, engaging very basic introduction to Yoga.
For ages 6 to 9
For ages 6-9 the best DVDs seems to be Yoga Kids Two by Marsha Wenig (not to be confused with Yoga Kids, Vol. 2: ABC’s for Ages 3-6). This age group has a bit less choice in yoga DVDs than the younger group so it’s a little harder to find a standout DVD, but the few reviews we could find(mostly from Amazon) are very positive.
If you are looking for something a little different you can try Kids Teach Yoga – Flying Eagle starring Lynea Gillen and Haley. Most reviews for this DVD are really good, one of the things that people like about this DVD is that the class is led by a child.
For ages 9+
For ages 9+ we recommend Shanti Generation: Yoga Skills for Youth Peacemakers – Ages 7-16. This is a great DVD for youth because it gives guidance on how to achieve stress relief, self-awareness, and self-empowerment all through yoga. It has five 30 minute sessions to choose from, as well as breathing and relaxation exercises.
One of our favorite yoga apps is Super Stretch Yoga. It is a super helpful resource to help kids learn a few simple poses. What is great about this app is that Super Stretch Yoga includes poses that are easy for children, boys and girls both appear in the app, and the illustrations are really distinctive and appealing for kids.
Kids Yoga Journey is another really interesting option for those a little more serious about yoga. They offer four apps: I am Love, I am Sun, I am Moon, Short Sequence: Kids’ Yoga Journey Lite, and I am energy. All of the apps are for slightly different ages, it is much more new agey than Super Stretch Yoga but it is definitely worth a look.
Yoga Decks (Cards) for Kids
There are few different yoga decks you can choose from that are available the cards that have the best reviews are the Yoga Pretzels (Yoga Cards) by Tara Lynda Guber. The reason a lot of people like these cards over some of the other yoga cards out there is because they are bigger, sturdier and more colorful than other cards making them easier to use. The Yoga Pretzels cards include yoga poses, games and breathing exercises, while other products only have yoga poses on the cards. One drawback to these cards that they don’t use common names for the poses instead they give the poses new names so this can be a bit irritating for people who are familiar with yoga.
Free Online Yoga Classes for Kids
Also check out these super easy to follow You Tube yoga videos for kids:
The moves that are covered in this guide are very basic and are ones that kids will probably try on their own if they see other kids doing them. This guide is meant to give you some pointers on how to help your kids perform the moves properly if they are trying them at home.
A couple of things to keep in mind before you get started. Make sure you are spotting your child when they are learning the moves. Most of the videos that are included in this guide show you how to do this. Also before having your child do any gymnastics, be sure to have them stretch for at least ten minutes in order to prevent injury and warm up their muscles.
For the following four tumbling exercises the (forward roll, the bridge, cart wheels and the splits) you should make sure you are not practicing on a hard floor or surface, you will need to use something as a mat. If need to use something as a gymnastics mat you can use an old mattress, sofa cushions, or any large pieces of foam you might have lying around that will provide enough support to prevent injury.
The Somersault/Forward Roll
When you are attempting to teach a child a somersault, make sure you are doing this on a soft surface. In some of the videos you will see the kids using incline mats or cheese mats (because they look like a wedge of cheese). These mats help children get started doing somersaults and other moves where they need help getting their head over their heels. You can make an incline mat by piling up cushions underneath a larger cushion.
The following video has good tips for spotting younger kids that you are trying to teach:
The next video has a good forward roll demonstration using an incline mat:
Have your child lie on the floor with their feet near his bottom and their hands by their ears and help him push up into a bridge.
If you don’t have a lot of space in your house, have your child practice their cartwheels outside to avoid the risk of injury. The following video give you some good instructions on what to do for a successful cartwheel.
The splits are a move that can be super easy for some kids, but for most it takes a bit of work to master. The key to doing the splits is to work on your stretches, so make sure your kids go easy on this when just starting out.
There are a couple of steps to mastering the handstand. The following video shows the progression.
The Balance Beam
There are a few different approaches you can take for the balance beam. For very young children you can make a balance beam on the floor using masking tape. Create a masking tape balance beam that is about 8 feet long and 4 inches wide. As the child gets better at walking on the balance beam, they can try doing things like going sideways, backwards, cartwheels, hops, or somersaults. If you want to make something more advanced check out this blog post on how to make homemade balance beam at In Lieu of Preschool. If you wanted to buy a beam you could get something like this High Density Foam Balance Beam.
This video has a great demo on what small kids can do on a simple balance beam.
Warning The advice in this guide is not meant to replace a knowledgeable gymnastics coach. GradeInfinity cannot be held responsible for any accidents in gymnastics that may occur from following any tips that are included in this post.