by Rachel Minnie
Now more than ever parents need to invest in keeping their kiddos moving! With fewer in-person dance options, parents are finding many online platforms for their little dancers to have a reason to throw on their favorite leotards and dance skirts. Below are some of the most promising sites we’ve discovered so far:
Outschool is a well rounded learning platform that connects teachers and other professionals with students and parents. Anyone can sign up to be a teacher (so if you have an area of expertise or a hidden talent, consider offering your own class). In fact, there are so many classes available - especially now - that it can be a little overwhelming. Be sure to read reviews for teachers to help you make informed choices.
Class prices range from pretty reasonable to downright cheap. Choose from one-time classes, ongoing classes, seasonal summer camps, and long-term classes. Outschool classes are a staple in my house, and one thing that has impressed me is that they tend to be very interactive, not just between teachers and students, but between students and students. In this way, Outschool classes on Zoom can be a great alternative to in-person camps and classes that students may be missing during social distancing.
Available in either drop-in classes or session-based camps, dance classes on kidpass.com include ballet, rhythmic gymnastics, hip hop, tap, and more. While some classes are pre-recorded, others are live. The Kidpass platform allows you to easily schedule and keep track of multiple classes, perfect if you’re looking for lots of classes with different topics or if you have children of different ages.
And kidpass.com offers much more than just dance. You can also use it for academics, crafts, coding, foreign languages, etc. The Kidpass Digital Platform also uses Zoom. While some of the classes are pricey, you can find free classes that help even out the budget.
On sawyer.com, parents can find another platform for kids dance activities, as well as academic subjects and other fitness classes, like yoga and karate, offered by multiple providers. Available as drop-in classes, semesters, or seasonal summer camps, Sawyer’s classes can be booked for in-person classes (depending on your area), but there are more online programs than ever before as families look for ways to stay active and engaged remotely.
Search by day, time, age, or activity to find the perfect class for your dancer (or scientist, or linguist, or artist, or chef). Sawyer.com is also a Zoom-based platform. Overall, you can find many classes that are a good value for the money, some of which are only $5 a class. Gotta love that! (Bonus: Sawyer is a female-founded company.)
There are plenty of free videos and tutorials online from reputable companies like Kidz Bop and Go Noodle. Kids will love the wholesome songs and dance moves in both, but Go Noodle also has popular characters from Disney and Nickelodeon. Though these are highly flexible since there are no regular times - just pop on a video anytime - they are highly commercialized. Additionally, parents may have some reluctance to send their kids to YouTube. Just make sure to beef up your parental controls if that is a worry for you.
A nationwide kids dance studio franchise, Tippi Toes now offers online virtual classes with their instructors. For one new recorded class a week, you’ll pay just $19.99 a month, with a seven-day free trial. You get to keep all the recorded lessons for continued watching. Tippi Toes promises high energy and engaging dance content for kids 2-8 years old. While the classes are not live, that may be a benefit for some since it adds to its flexibility and convenience.
by Rachel Minnie
Most of us want to follow current CDC guidelines and wear a face mask - in fact, it’s a mandate in some areas - but getting your child to wear one may be a tough sell, often because they don’t fit comfortably. If you’re in the same mask boat, here are some tips for how to make a mask fit better.
Problem: Mask is too large.
First, make sure you’re using a child-sized mask, like the Leotard Boutique’s children’s masks. There are lots of hacks to make masks fit more snugly, but our favorite is using mini elastic hair bands (see pic). The hair bands can be adjusted or removed to accommodate growing kids.
Problem: Mask is too small.
This is less likely to be a problem, but we can envision a scenario in which a child will only wear her favorite, but outgrown Mickey mask and nothing else. In that case, look for mask extenders, which are available in numerous styles, colors, and sizes. If you’re really in a pinch, however, loop ribbon through the elastic ear loops and tie at the back of the head for a better, more comfortable fit.
Problem: Mask makes it tougher to breathe.
This one can be solved by buying a mask that uses a double dart design like the ones here, which allows a little pocket of air space between your child’s mouth and the mask. In other words, the mask will not be flat across the front, pressing up against your child’s mouth.
Problem: Masks are easy to forget.
Since wearing a mask in public is a new exercise, it’s easy to forget them. Have a bunch hanging on your doorknob so you can’t miss them on your way out. You’d think there would be no way to forget to bring a mask then, right? Lemme assure you, it still happens in my house. I’ve started having extra masks for adults and the kiddo in each car and in my purse.
A Few Friendly Reminders
Children under the age of 2 should not wear a mask due to suffocation risk. Please consult your doctor for guidance. Our masks aren't medical grade, and they aren't virus-proof. We are wearing them and practicing social distancing. Please refer to the guidance from the CDC. While the Leotard Boutique’s masks have a pocket for a filter insert, we can't tell you whether or not to put something in there for legal reasons. Please refer to reputable sources on the web to help you decide what is right for you.