If you’ve ever attended a dance recital, you know that it can be a long and slow event, especially for little kids who may have trouble sitting still. Your dance studio’s director and teachers will work out the routine schedule to reduce the waiting time between numbers for their younger-age classes, but sometimes there’s no escaping the waiting game. However, plenty of fun, engaging, and screen-free activities can keep children occupied while they wait to perform or watch their friends. From simple games to creative crafts, here are 5 screen-free boredom busters between dances to make the wait time fly by and keep little kids entertained and happy.
And while traditionally, a gift is given at the end of a dance recital, you can absolutely flip the script and present any of the following ideas as a fun treat before the recital, and they get used immediately. Win-win!
Puzzles are a great tool for engaging kids for a period of time. By completing puzzles, children can practice their hand-eye coordination, spatial reasoning, and shape recognition abilities. Puzzles provide a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem when children can complete them independently, which can help build their confidence and motivate them to take on new challenges.
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One of the easiest ways to keep kids occupied during a dance recital is to bring simple card games. Here are three of our favorites that are simple, easy to learn, and enjoyable for young children:
- Go Fish: A classic card game where the objective is to collect sets of cards by asking other players if they have a specific card. If they don’t, you “go fish” and draw a new card from the deck.
- Old Maid: In this game, players try to avoid being left with the “old maid” card. The deck consists of pairs of matching cards and one odd “old maid” card. Players take turns drawing and discarding cards until all pairs are formed, with the player left holding the odd card losing the game.
- Memory: Lay out all the cards face-down and take turns flipping two cards at a time, trying to find matching pairs. The objective is to remember the positions of the cards and collect the most pairs.
Don’t forget the power of your child’s imagination here, either. Just hand them a deck of cards and watch them organize them by rank, color, or suit, do simple math, or come up with stories for the face cards.
These could be card games, board games, or even handheld electronic games, depending on your child’s interests and age. For younger children, you might consider bringing along coloring books, crayons, or small puzzles. These activities are not only entertaining but can also help children develop important skills such as hand-eye coordination and creativity.
Busy bags, also known as activity bags or quiet bags, are portable, self-contained PlayPods by Sprinkle In Learning
activities designed to keep little kids engaged and entertained. They typically consist of simple, age-appropriate activities and materials that are easy for children to manipulate and explore and are screen-free.
You can find many options on sites like Etsy that fit your child’s needs, but here’s one we are impressed with:
PlayPods by Sprinkle In Learning
Another great way to keep little ones occupied is to bring some snacks. Snacks can help distract children from boredom and hunger while they wait for their turn to perform or watch. You will want to provide something with protein to keep their energy up but not anything that will potentially stain the costume. (Tip: Bring a coverup to help keep costumes clean during long waits. Button-downs work best). You can pack some healthy snacks like cut-up apples and peanut butter, cheese sticks, or crackers and hummus. You can also bring sweets like cookies or granola bars for a special treat.
Books and stories can be a great way to spend a little downtime. Books offer numerous benefits for young readers, including language development, cognitive stimulation, imaginative play, emotional understanding, knowledge acquisition, enhanced communication skills, and improved concentration. If you want to bring a dance-related book or two to keep them interested in the recital around them, check out our recommendations on The 5 Best Ballet Books for Toddlers.
Additionally, you can encourage your child to bring a favorite book or toy to keep them engaged during downtime. This could be a favorite book or stuffed animal that provides comfort and familiarity in an unfamiliar environment. These items can be a source of comfort for kids who might feel overwhelmed or anxious during a dance recital.
Overall, keeping little kids occupied during a dance recital doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a little planning and creativity, you can provide your child with a fun and enjoyable experience while they wait for their turn to shine on stage.