Friday, August 19, 2011

Fun-kid-elic Activities: Homemade ribbon wands

Yes, that is a calf garter you see. What can I say?  It came with the costume.
You're thinking of that scene from Old School, right?  The one where Will Ferrell busts out a fabulously awkward yet strangely graceful ribbon routine to the tune of the theme song from Chariots of Fire?  (If not, you have to check this YouTube clip out.)  Well, take that mental image, subtract the gracefulness and add a toddler-sized tiara and you pretty much know what I was up to this morning.  Just another day in the life of end-of-summer motherhood.

Siena loves to dance but after a few minutes skipping around in her tutu, she runs out of tricks and transitions to a floor routine that is somewhere between break dancing and kung fu.  Although entertaining to watch, it is hazardous to all objects in close vicinity and, of course, each of those wild flailing things she calls her legs and arms.  So this morning, when she asked for music (or as she aptly calls it---"muse-kick"), I felt inspired to give the poor thing something to do with her hands.  Behold the fabulousness of homemade ribbon wands!


Supplies:
popsicle sticks
a roll of ribbon, the thicker the better
some sort of sharp knife, preferrably an x-acto

Let's face it.  In a pinch, you can pretty much make anything out of anything.  Out of desperation, I once made a wand out of the stick from a broken pinwheel and some toilet paper so don't get too hung up on the supply list here, as magnificently simple as it is.  We have a huge bin of random stuff I set aside for future tinkering and art projects which is where I found the fancy and colorful popsicle sticks.  Initially, however, I had my mind set on an empty kitchen roll and a cut strip of leftover fabric so you get the idea.


Whatever it is you decide to use, grab enough ribbon and handles to make at least two (because, after all, it is much more fun to dance with someone else. . .and when that someone else is tired, you can nab their ribbon and experiment with dancing with two).  If you do have the popsicle sticks, since it is virtually impossible to cut into the wood of a popsicle stick without splitting it (trust me), it's best to just roll with the split. Split happens. Make a slit by wedging the point of your x-acto towards the center of one end of the stick and then slide the ribbon through, pulling enough through so that you can wrap it around the stick to tie it to the rest of the ribbon. (See the above pic.) If your ribbon, like ours, is fabric and starts to fray, just stick a piece of scotch tape around the cut edge before sliding it through.  And voila!  Cue the classical tunes, channel your inner Will Ferrell and take to the floor with the commitment of a champion.

Did I mention that I consider myself anti-princess? Sigh.

Ideas for added fun: 
  • Check out some YouTube videos of actual ribbon dancers to get inspired.  Take a gander at this madness, for example.
  • Try circles, waves, figure eights and over the head circles slowly then faster.  Once your little one has the hang of it, experiment with putting them together in different combinations, taking turns calling out the moves.
  • Try making shapes and letters with the ribbon and having your little one guess what they are.
  • Pick a favorite jam and come up with a simple routine.  Find someone who will watch or better yet, turn it into a video.  (And if you do, please share it!)


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