With the kids off school for the foreseeable future, many parents are looking to the internet for educational resources. Here at The Family Stage, we’re very keen on having a creative curriculum at our ‘home school’. Our actual school has been very relaxed about home learning, providing some suggestions but encouraging us to do whatever works. So we’re always on the lookout for fun online content to supplement the schoolwork. In this article, we’ll be rounding up the best creative classes and content for kids we come across. As you might expect, many of our suggestions have a distinctly stagey feel!…….
Weekly Poetry Workshops with Simon Mole (Tuesday mornings): Suitable for ages 5-11
Poet and educator, Simon Mole is doing free weekly live poetry workshops via Zoom, with follow up sharing sessions on Thursdays. They are split into two age groups:
5-8 yr olds: 10am-10.30am
8-11 yr olds: 11am-11.40am
We are big fans of Simon after seeing him perform in the fabulous family friendly rap musical Mole & Gecko at Canada Water Theatre last year. We also recommend checking out his YouTube Channel which has plenty more resources for budding poets and rappers.
Arts & Crafts
Doodle with Mo Willems: Suitable for all ages
Fans of author and illustrator Mo Willems (creator of The Pigeon and Elephant and Piggie picture books) should check out his Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems series on YouTube. You can doodle daily with Mo although, as he’s in the states, it’s more like teatime than lunchtime (and the exact time tends to vary each day). All the videos remain available to watch on YouTube. Check out episode 1 below:
Anna and Arji’s Broom Cupboard: Suitable for all primary school children
A Line Art specialise in immersive theatre performances and art events for children, young people and their families. With theatres closed, they have brought the artistic action online in their new show, Anna and Arji’s Broom Cupboard. Check out the first episode below and make sure you subscribe to Anna’s YouTube Channel to keep up to date on what’s going on in the broom cupboard.
*ACCESSIBILITY* There are closed captions on the episode above (How to Make a SuperHero Mask) and Anna and Arji are planning on adding captioning to the rest of their content soon.
Golden Toad Theatre Company Busy Kids Corner: Suitable for all primary school children
Golden Toad Theatre Company have created a special section on their website filled with lots of arts, craft and science ideas to keep youngsters busy,. They are adding new content weekly, including competitions. This week they’re running a songwriting competition (for ages 11 and under).
Ninth Life Kids Club: Suitable for all ages
Ninth Life Kids Club features a range of arts, crafts and activities for children and their families to enjoy. Subscribe to their YouTube channel to make sure you don’t miss out.
Sadler’s Wells Family Dance Workshops: Suitable for ages 2-6
Head to the Sadler’s Wells YouTube page for a series of dance workshops designed especially for early years. The workshops are run by Cherie Coleman, who runs the popular Family Fridays sessions at Sadler’s Wells.
Perform at Home: Suitable for ages 4-12
Perform is a drama school with a difference. Here the aim is to build confidence, rather than produce a polished performance. Classes are filled with games and every week there is a focus on a different social skill. The munchkins love their weekly Perform classes and holiday courses, so we were thrilled to see that they have just announced an online version via Zoom. As usual, classes are split into two different age groups, with ages 4-7 doing a Peter Pan inspired course and ages 7-12 doing a P.T. Barnum inspired show, The Greatest Show on Earth. Places are limited, to ensure that the groups don’t get too large, but they will add more with demand. You can book a block of classes, with discounts for booking larger blocks (starting at £6.80 for blocks of 18 or more – If the online classes don’t run for this long, you will receive credit to use against in person classes). Try before you buy with a free online trial class. Find more information and online booking here.
Stage Academy Online: Suitable for ages 6-18
Performing arts school, Stage Academy have developed an online version of their programme, which includes recorded videos and an assignment upload feature which allows children to obtain personalised tutor feedback. There are versions for two different age groups (4-6 and 6-18) and you can do a 7 day free trial before signing up for a monthly plan (£10 a month for one age group or £15 a month if you want access to content for all ages).
Little Angel Theatre At Home Resources: Suitable for ages 0-11
Puppetry specialists Little Angel Theatre have introduced a range of home resources on their YouTube Channel to bring the magic of puppetry into the home. It’s filled with craft ideas and video stories, including a guide to making your own puppet show.
*ACCESSIBILITY* The YouTube videos include auto-generated closed captions
BIG UP! at Home: Suitable for ages 4+
BIG UP! is an interactive show for young people featuring puppetry, beatboxing, singing and absolutely no rules! Created by Theatre Rites and 20 Stories High in 2019, it was developed through research with young adult parents, young carers and their children from working class and culturally diverse backgrounds. With the show’s 2020 tour now on hiatus, they have instead created a YouTube Channel with lots of fun activities inspired by the show, including several beatboxing tutorials.
*ACCESSIBILITY* The videos include closed captions.
Polka Online: Suitable for ages 3-7
Polka Theatre specialise in family friendly productions. With the theatre closed, they’ve put together Polka Online, a series of educational resources including arts and crafts, drama workshops and story recordings. Their first project is based around the popular Julia Donaldson story, The Paper Dolls and includes a recording of their recent adaptation of the story.
Make Your Own Musicals: Suitable for ages 6-14 (but adult supervision suggested for under 8)
If (like ours) your kids are always performing little shows for you, why not take this one step further and get them writing a fully fledged musical? Head to Make Your Own Musicals where you can buy an activity pack that guides them through the process of writing scenes and song lyrics (set to original backing tracks). There is one activity pack available at the moment, with several more on the way soon. Packs cost £15 (but you can get £5 off with discount code “STAYHOME”) and there are different versions available depending on whether you are writing for an individual or a group.
Bric a Brac Kid’s Lab: Suitable for all ages
Bric a Brac Theatre Company (creators of family friendly, feminist musical Mustard Doesn’t Go With Girls) have been working hard on putting together a new online resource filled with activities and ideas for kids of all ages. It’s going to be interactive, with chances to submit work and celebrate achievements! It’s not live yet, but sign up on their website to be the first to access exclusive content. (It looks like they’ll be releasing a recording of the musical on there too, hooray!)
Disney on Stage Educational Resources: Suitable for ages 6-18
Disney Theatrical has an extensive range of educational materials available online for all ages. There are loads of fun activities based on their stage shows (The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Aladdin and Frozen) as well as resources for those interestedin a career in the theatre. It’s all helpfully organised by age range too.
After more ideas for entertaining the kids during lockdown? Check out our guide to family friendly digital theatre (which includes plenty of shows with educational resource packs).