Help kids get moving in socially distant playdates, or just in your living room, with games from Coach Johnson! He shares his wisdom as a public school PE teacher on how to make inspiring physical games meaningful and child-led. Get bonding time and a workout (dance party!) too.
Learn simple tips for building “kindness routines” as a family. Get inspired by teen activists who are making empathy part of their life-mission.
Resources and tips for thinking about summer 2020 – empowering kids to find a passion, be independent and stay social.
Screen time can be interactive with this new show from Child’s Play in Action. Jack and the Beanstalk come to life with theater games kids can play at home!
An interview with owner of a beloved Brooklyn cocktail bar, Elsa, makes me love small business owners even more. Here’s how to get a to-go cocktail and support local during a pandemic.
Throwing a party for your kid during COVID-19? Check out these ways to empower the birthday kid, play interactive games, and make lemonade out of the lemons!
Fun ways to “play school” for kids stuck at home! Empathy and cognition boosting games.
Watch this perfect parody for Coronavirus Times: “Part of Your World: A Teacher in Quarantine.” Get inspired to make art and grateful to our kids’ classroom teachers!
Kids stay connected, and teachers bring the joy, during online classes. Even during a pandemic, we find solidarity and keep making theater together!
Animal games are an awesome gateway to dramatic play. Here’s a blueprint for play that will help kids – and adults – venture into imagination with a Roar!
This awesome theater games does double-duty as a living room staple! You can play this during transitional time when you are looking to avoid screens and capitalize on imagination! Watch classroom teaching artists play “What are you doing?” do get inspired for your own playtime!
Playing with a puppet is more than just fun and games. Watch Child’s Play NY teachers use puppets to get kids communicating about emotions and using empathy. This is an essential tool in the parenting arsenal to help manage behavior and get in touch with our children’s rich emotional lives. Happy puppeteering!
While I love a good pillow fort, I also appreciate the value of quality games and toys! Here’s four fabulous gifts for kids that tickle the brain and capitalize on the kind of learning that inspires them. These are all less than $15 and are super portable too. I like these for road trips or for after-dinner playing with your kids. Happy gifting!
Emotions Charades is a super fun and incredibly potent tool to help support EQ and empathy in our kids. Use these tips from our theater classrooms to inspire your games and learn about other playful ways that help kids come to terms with their emotions. In these highly charged times we live in, kids need support in identifying and expressing their feelings…let’s do it through play!
The thrilling ways that actors use creative movement can translate to your home or classroom for inspired indoor play. Help kids get “into character” through physical and robust playing that nurtures empathy along the way too! If you are a theater or classroom teacher these build up your ensemble and inspire brave choices. Build in some of these games as a way to release energy and recharge after the school day. Set these games in motion and then empower your kids to keep the playing going without you!
Reading for pleasure is easy with these librarian-approved tips. Plus, check out the coolest tools that boost literacy and make books bonding!
Maximize the playing on your next road trip with these tried and true games for backseat fun! Enjoy some quality screen-free family time and help kids process emotion and tell stories. These theater games are road tested for your vacation pleasure!
What a parenting relief to find great kids lit that helps kids identify and process emotion! These 6 books, recommended by a librarian and a theater teacher, can boost kids’ emotional intelligence and help them manage complex feelings.
This simple and silly theater game supports your child’s brain development and creates new neural pathways that build positivity and help them crave bonding! Beyond boosting IQ, this game is pure pleasure to play and can be that parent hack that you need for everything from picky eaters to tricky sleepers. Enjoy setting up your silly store!
If you are hankering to talk to your kids about the big stuff, or help them process emotions, then you should play Taxi! This classic theater game is adaptable for all ages and provides kids with a safe and sweet space to share feelings with you. Use it to bond with your kids when you have a little down-time and know that they are also benefitting from the social-emotional learning (SEL) and Executive Function work-out that this game gives them. Watch the video to learn about the benefits and the ways to play.
It’s hard just to get through the requirements of parenting, let alone find time on top of that to play. However, here is the tip: inject stories into the mundane parenting tasks and you’ll get what you need to get done quicker, and bond with your kid in the process.
Great kids books are a superb way for kids to learn about kindness and empathy. I love them especially for the conversations they can start. These three books for ages 8 and up are our favorites for putting social emotional learning at the foreground. They are the perfect holiday gift to spark even more compassion in your kids.
When the temperatures dip and the crazies set in – you need an indoor game that keeps kids calm and gets them laughing. This theater game boosts social emotional learning, communication skills and is super bonding. Best of all, it makes kids laugh!
Halloween games help kids flex their imaginative muscles, build empathy and bond with you and their buddies. Simple theater exercises – with a Halloween theme – can make playing their role so much more fun! Here are my favorite games for at-home play and even for a Halloween party!
This simple chant helps kids regulate their emotions and boosts their social intelligence. You can play it as a car game, while walking to school, or even at bedtime. Kids will have fun exploring “characters” and you’ll like this easy format for fostering new words to develop feelings.
Transform the backseat into a giggle-fest with these silly – and meaningful – car games. When you play these games, there is no need for screens or headphones. Instead, kids will be bonding with you and making lasting memories – even before their vacation begins!
Getting kids to sleep can be a challenge! But bedtime can actually be the most meaningful time of the day, where we tell stories, sing songs and wind down through relaxation. Read on to learn tips that add a little play and a lot of calm to your nightly routine. Sweet dreams!
Make time on the playground meaningful with these tools that boost imagination! Here are 15 of my favorite toys under $15 that I can slip into a bag when we go. They are collaborative, creative and physical and will certainly add a spark to your kids’ outdoor play! Plus, watch how the classic “Red Light Green Light” gets a dramatic play twist!
Sculpture is the best theater game to spark imagination and literacy. Kids love molding each other (and you!) into creative tableaus. Get creative with the titles to boost literacy. Expand EQ by riffing on themes that matter to their development. Above all, have fun in a screen-free, physical and bonding way!
Here’s a booklist for parents to help take away the stress! Let doctors and researchers provide helpful solutions to some of our greatest parenting problems. I’ve cut through the advice-noise here: These are my favorite books that help make sense of the challenges we face and foster kindness, grit, and imagination in our kids.
Use pretend play to elevate your child’s imagination and help them conquer fears. Watch this game of Animal Doctor and then use it to help prepare for a visit to the pediatrician. The game is great also as a way to inspire purposeful play and storytelling. Learn about scaffolding play and making meaningful connections with your kid.
Motivate your kids and learn more about grit. In this week’s video we avoid the pitfall of “good job” and learn some other ways to praise kids. And read Jocelyn’s pre-show speech for her cast of Music Man!
Use simple dramatic play to get your kids to have great table manners. This is a hilarious (and sweet) way to inspire kids. I also share tips on positive discipline and great kids lit that will reinforce polite eating habits!
Add this dramatic play twist to the classic game I Spy. Your kids will have more fun and get calm in the process. Here I share other games, tools and toys for mindful observations.
Kindness blossoms in kids when you have the right tools. Use these 4 books, recommended by a school librarian, to spark empathy in your child. Watch the video to see the books and learn why they strengthen our kids’ compassion.
Brain Breaks are brilliant ways to energize your kids in the classroom or at home. These short movement activities invigorate kids so that they can learn with calm bodies and focused minds. They tap into imagination and word play too!
Use wordless picture books to inspire imagination and a love of reading. These suggestions from my Child’s Play NY theater classrooms will deepen the conversation and the bonding time between you and your children. Watch the video to see adorable toddlers using picture books as a springboard for storytelling, and get tips from a school librarian about the usefulness of wordless books.
With this theater game, kids develop their listening skills through play – and they don’t even realize all the benefits because it is so silly! Play one-on-one or as a birthday party or playdate game. It is a saving grace on car trips or waiting rooms when you need to focus squirmy bodies! Check out the ways to boost mindfulness through relaxing variations that help with bedtime too.
20 Questions can help your kid with impulse control (hello, spring break car trips!), flexible thinking and growth mindset. Kids love it because they can get their “sleuth” on! Parents love it because it is a fun way to get kids focusing in tight spaces!
Spring cleaning gets a playful make-over with these hilarious games. Inspire your kid into tidiness through their dramatic imagination. Kickstart your mindful giving and chore delegating too.
Help your young reader gain fluency with language all through play. Kids make rhymes, invent new words and get confident reading when they act out their new versions of “Down by the Bay”. Watch the video to see all the tips on how to play with this song.
Need a rainy day game? Turn to musical scores to elevate your child’s playtime. With instrumental music from their favorite films and shows, kids can go deep into characters they already love. Orchestrations will help boost their mood, inspire gross-motor play and provide a great backdrop for imaginative indoor time.
You can get calm kids without being the “bad guy”! Use this chant to harness kids’ natural creative energy to get them focused and relaxed. Perks: it boosts executive functioning skills like working memory and impulse control. Use it for building literacy skills too!
Whether you are facing a long car trip, a rainy afternoon, or just need to release some wiggles – creating an obstacle course is a
Improv gets me through the winter with kids! All those long hours of hangin’ indoors, while fending off the inevitable requests for screen-time, can
Hide and Seek is a classic kid activity, but it’s not just fun and games. Hide and Seek is amazing for our kids’ brains,
Kids eat healthier when mealtimes are fun! Here’s some inspiration for table games and ways to use improv to get great eaters.
Here’s a game I love to enhance mindfulness, brain power and at the same time get some great laughs out of your kids! The good news it requires very little “stuff” to make this game fun. Like most of the dramatic play tools I can offer you, this game can spark your child’s creativity using things you already have on hand. I call it “Test Your Touch!”
“No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment. –Carol Dweck, Mindset In my call-back for the
Playground season is over. It’s officially cold. Let’s all have a moment of silence. And then a moment for a silent scream as we contemplate
Oh, Mr. Sandman? Bring my kid a dream. Really. Please? I’m a mom who likes to have a plan. But try as I might, there
In 1989 my parents made a VHS recording of Into the Woods when the B’way show aired on PBS. That tape must have been made
Getting into another character’s shoes is the best way (that I know) to build empathy. These simple exercises will get kids out of their own heads and into the hearts of their character. The theater gives us these essential tools to boost empathy and emotional intelligence in our young students.