On the Sea…

Carrying on with our Pirate theme, I thought it would be fun to explore what it would be like to live on a boat at sea. Pirates would spend many months at sea sometimes with calm, still waters without wind in their sails and therefore travelling very slowly. Whereas sometimes they had to endure strong windy storms causing their ships to rock endlessly from side to side and up and down crashing into huge waves.

So let us pretend for a moment we are on a Pirate ship:

First of all, you could practice your Pirate warm up to get you into the mood! (see previous blog)

Now lets see if you can find something that could be a pretend boat, a cardboard box that could fit you and your grown up in will do or you may even have a small inflatable dingy. You could even use some cushions or a duvet for a more comfortable boat! Oh and don’t forget to take a telescope with you (a kitchen roll tube would work well for this unless you already have some binoculars or a toy telescope)

• Once you have your boat or Pirate Ship ready shout “All aboard!” and sit in your ship with your grown up.
• Now you will need to pretend to row out from shore to the deeper sea. Strongly Push and Pull your oars in a circular movement with your arms pretending that you are rowing against the breaking waves.
• Once you are out into the deeper sea it will be time to “Raise the sails” so that your ship can travel using the power of the wind!
• Now pretend you are at sea and the weather is fine…. You can make gentle rocking movements up and down and from side to side as your ship travels along.
• As the weather picks up and the sea gets rougher your rocking movements get bigger and bigger until sometimes your ship comes crashing down on the huge waves! Don’t forget to tighten your sails too!
• If the storm gets too bad you may need to tuck down as low as you can get in your ship and wait until the storm passes before you immerge again!
• Once the storm has passed look through your telescope for land so that you can take your ship nearer to shore, with land in sight shout “Land Ahoy” Now you will need to lower your sail and row into the shallower waters.
• After being at sea for along time Pirates would get “sea legs” this is when their legs and balance got so used to being on a rocking ship that when they walked again on firm ground it was difficult to balance properly and therefore just walking and standing would make them very wobbly! Pretend you have “sea legs” and try practicing a wobbly walk, where you keep losing your balance!

I have found a couple of clips on youtube related to the sea, you may like to listen to the sounds and the story and even have a go at making a paper boat with your grown up.

I hope you have fun “Me Hearties!”

The Great Game of Pirate Ships

A fun Pirate game for all the family! I found this pirate game (tried and tested) which I thought I’d share with you. It has many levels so I thought it would especially suit some Floor Explorer families with older siblings that can join in too. It can bring a lot of laughs and rude noises!

The Great Game of Pirate Ships is an exciting and energetic way to burn off energy and have a lot of fun, and works well in a hall, garden, or other open space. For safety reasons, eye patches, weapons and parrots are removed!

First mark out the ship’s deck, and clear away anything that children could fall over.  An adult takes the role of leader and explains the layout of the main deck:

Front end is the Bow, Rear is the Stern. Left side is Port, and the right side is Starboard. You’ll need a plank to walk too!

The leader then calls out locations, and the children run to the appropriate place, then leader calls out another, and they run to that one. They’ll soon get the idea, so now add some more commands:

  • Boom coming Over. Lie flat on the floor.
  • Sharks. Swim like crazy.
  • Captain’s Coming. Stand to attention and salute.
  • Man the Lifeboats. Sit down one behind the other and mime rowing a small boat.
  • Freeze.  Freeze!

Now explain that whenever the leader says ‘Freeze’ they ignore all future commands until the leader says ‘Unfreeze’. The exception is ‘Captain’s coming’ in which case they instantly jump to attention and salute. Any Pirate who either acts when frozen, or fails to jump to attention for the captain has to Walk the Plank!                                                  

 Once they’ve got the idea, add more variations:

  • Repel Boarders Port Side. Run to the port side and shout Arrrhh whilst waving imaginary swords.
  • Repel Boarders Starboard Side. You can probably work this one out.
  • Climb the Rigging. Mime climbing up rigging.
  • Catch the Rat. All pirates group together and go off in pursuit of an imaginary rat.
  • Dance the Hornpipe. Pirates organise themselves into a line and all dance a hornpipe.

The last two may need a bit of coaching at first, as groups of children are usually poor at self organisation. An older child can be promoted to First Mate to assist them. And so the game continues with more variations being added according to the age of the children. If some are a little rough for younger children, just choose appropriately, or make up your own.

  • Cannon Ball Everyone rolls up into a ball. Cannon Balls (Pronounced Ballza) Children pair off and bend over with their bottoms almost touching. When everyone is ready shout ‘fire’, upon which, everyone sticks their bottom out and attempts to knock the other child over. Very silly!
  • Poop Deck Everyone holds their nose and mimes pulling a toilet chain (The poop deck is the highest deck on a ship but don’t let realism spoil the fun).
  • Rum Ration Everyone runs to the centre of the room to receive their tot of rum. Note, you do not run for your rum straight after Captain’s coming’.
  • Beans for Breakfast In case you haven’t guessed, participants adopt a suitable pose and make a rude noise. And of course you do not make rude noises in front of the Captain, so if it comes after Captain’s Coming, anyone who makes a rude noise is made to Walk the Plank.
  • Kissing Pirates All the pirates run up and kiss each other (I’m joking!)
  • Monkeys Pirates all run around doing impressions of apes, complete with sound effects
  • Ship of Fools Everyone runs around behaving in a crazy manner or imitating, animals, parrots, or loonies – anything goes!
  • Seasick Sailors Rush to the side of the ship and pretend to be sick.
  • Time for Bed Play the game until everyone is too tired to continue then on ‘Time for bed’ everyone lies down for a short rest, unless of course the children are older in which case the command is:
  • Massacre And everyone lies down dead.

This game teaches children to follow different instructions quickly, and because of the catch out rules, also teaches them to think before they act.

Create your own Dance of the Cygnets

This week we wondered if our ballet students would like to have a go at choreographing their own Dance of the Cygnets. If you would like to have a go please read on to find out what to do…

First watch these different version of the dance of the cygnets.  They are all done to the same piece of music by Tchaikovsky.

  • Traditional ballet version by the Royal Ballet
Dance of the Cygnets by the Royal ballet
  • A funny Chinese versionwhere the dancers are frogs instead of cygnets.    
Chinese Swan Lake
  • An upside down version:
Little Swans by Takane Dance
  • A male version of the cygnets choreographed by Mathew Bourne
Mathew Bourne Dance of the Cygnets

Next you can watch some real cygnets walking on land and getting into the water to see how it compares to the dance.

  • Real cygnets walking and getting into water
Cynets walking and getting into the water.

Now you are ready to have a go at making your own dance.  As you are by yourself it will need to be a solo dance rather than with other cygnets.  Here is how to do it:

  1. Watch the videos again and see if you can choose 3 movement ideas that you really like
  2. Have a go at dancing these movements. If you like the movements from the Mathew Bourne version with the male swans you could watch this video that teaches some of the movements.
Learn some Cygent moves with Paul Smethurst

Now to make it more interesting make up 1 movement of your own.  It could be any of these:

  1. A jump
  2. A turn
  3. A way of travelling
  4. A movement of the arms and head

Now add this to what you already have and try dancing this to the music. Try to think about:

  1. Where you are moving in space – do you travel around the room.
  2. What are you doing with your arms and head.
  3. Is this a serious or funny version of the cygnets?

Group Dance Opportunity

We would love to see and share what you have done within our createmovedance community.  So we would like to give you opportunity to join with us to create a createmovedance version of Dance of the Cygnets. The aim would be to edit all of your work together to create a single video to Tchaikovkys amazing music.

If you would like to be a part of this, here is what you need to do:

  1. Video your dance: it should be no longer than 30 seconds of movement
  2. Save the file and label it with your name
  3. Then either:
    1. Send the video to [email protected]
    2. If it is too big you can upload it to our dropbox folder here.

Treasure Hunting!

There is so much fun to be had Treasure hunting and so many ways to do it, but first of all you will need a map and some treasure.

Find or make a box that would be suitable to hide some treasure in. Some ideas for treasure:
• Beaded necklace, rings, bracelets, tiara
• Chocolate coins
• Wrapped snacks like raisins etc
• Finger puppets
• Dress up costume/accessories
• Small toys
• Glow sticks
• Stickers
• Shells
• Precious stones
• Old photograph

If you fancy making a Treasure Chest, then here is a link to help:
or you may already have a special box in the house that could be used instead!

Treasure Chest

Now you will need your map: with some help from your grown up, create a map of the area that you will be exploring whether it is around your home, garden or just your bedroom. On your map you will need to pretend you have some:

• Mountains (something you can climb like a settee, bed, chair, climbing frame etc)
• Sinking mud (a fluffy rug, a duvet, sand pit that you can sink into)
• Crocodile infested beach (a space for running and jumping over crocs!)
• A cave (a dark covered area to crawl through, under the dining table, or use a blanket for a den)
• Stepping stones across the river (find some mats or something to create balance pads to cross the river without falling in!)
• Tall reeds or jungle foliage (hang some ribbons or bits of fabric, to duck away from on your pathway)
• A whirl pool (find a hola hoop and spin round and round)

Treasure Map

Find somewhere to hide your treasure box and mark an “X” on your map! But before you reach the treasure chest you will have needed to have adventured all around your Island…… and don’t forget you will need to be able to go all the way back again without letting the Crocodiles get you or Sinking too deep into the mud!!!

There are lots of other ways to have fun with Treasure hunting, these are some of my favourites:
• Use pieces of a jigsaw puzzle as clues, once you have all the pieces you can find the treasure!
• Use a piece of string that you must follow all the way to the hidden treasure box!
• Take photographs to show where the next photograph clue is!
• Go outdoors and use chalks or natural markings like twigs or rocks to lead the way!
• Put a message in a bottle and hide it somewhere for someone else to find!

Don’t forget you also have your “Pirate Ship” warm up from last week you can do too….

Have fun Floor Explorers!


Fun activities for Early Years children and their grownups!

Here are some Pirate Ship themed actions that can be added together for a weekly warm up! 

  1. “DROP ANCHOR” An anchor is a very heavy and strong piece of iron that Pirates used to use to anchor their ship to one spot and stop their ship from drifting at sea. With strong metal arms can you drop to the floor like a heavy anchor and land in a similar shape to the one in this picture?  Look at the shape of the anchor in this picture, can you land in a similar shape?
  1. “WALK THE PLANK” Pirate ships had a plank of wood that used to hang out over the ship sometimes above Crocodile or Shark infested water! Can you walk along the plank without falling into the water? The plank is very narrow, so you need to carefully put one foot in front of the other, so you don’t topple in! 
See the source image
  1. “LAND AHOY” Pretend you are looking for land from your ship with a telescope, holding the telescope in 2 hands, sway from left to right with your feet still, reaching around as far as you can each side searching for land… 
See the source image
  1. “RAISE THE SAILS” Using one arm reach up and pull down your pretend rope attached to your heavy ship’s sail, then using the other arm as well alternatively reach and pull your pretend rope until you’ve raised your ship’s sail! 
See the source image
  1. “SCRUB THE DECK” Pretend your Captain of the ship has ordered you to scrub the ship floor! On your knees pretend you are holding a scrubbing brush and push and pull it in front of you and to both sides.
See the source image

So here is a warmup you can practice with your grown up at home and I will be adding more Piratey ideas next week for you! 

This is a link to some typical Piratey music you could use for your warmup too: 

And here are some Pirate sayings you could use to get into the mood! 

See the source image

If you fancy having a go at making a Pirate ship at home, here is a link on how to make a simple Pirate ship that you could decorate and add some netting and sails to too. Please post some pictures to our Pirate Facebook post if you do, I’d love to see them! 

So, Me Hearty’s have fun and tune in again next week for more! 

Live Ballet Classes

Hi Ballet Students,

We have found some great free ballet lessons online that you might enjoy led by a dancer trained at The English National Ballet School. Below is a link to her latest 2 – 5 year old class and a timetable for her weekly online classes. There are also adult classes if any parents are interested.

The Vestibular System

Sometimes I stop and think about all the little movements that our bodies are doing without us even realising, the rest of the time I am just taking my movements for granted. But if you actually stop and think about it, it’s incredible how our movements coordinate, how our muscles switch on, how our nerves transmit messages and most of the time we aren’t even aware of it. This led me to thinking how it would be if certain activities felt uncomfortable, hard work, or required concentration to action or if movements made you feel unsteady, nauseas, or wobbly. We all have different experiences of this as we all have unique bodies. This got me thinking of how beneficial vestibular activities are for all young children, so today I have a link for you that explains their benefits and how you can action them at home.

Click on this link to The Inspired Treehouse site for more information and lots of activities for The Vestibular System from their website. There are a few quick ideas below.

Most activities require some equipment, but most things can be found or substituted from household items.

Have Fun Floor Explorers!


Whatever the Weather!

I thought some of your children might enjoy this…

The imaginary world of an alpine weather house is brought to life in this inventive, comical and highly visual show for the very young. The little lady comes out when it’s going to be sunny. The little man comes out when it’s going to rain. Never together, always alone. One magical day they come alive and discover that the beautiful and surprising world they live in, is better shared.

For ages 3-7