At home we’ve been working on how to respond when we’re playing a game in a group during recess and a friend swoops in and says, “We’re playing it this way!” And what to do when the whole group goes along with what that friend “suggests” or “directs”–if it’s a safe, fair suggestion, even if bossy and disruptive, possible responses–to roll with it or not, to find other friends, to go along, to suggest an addition, to say great idea, to refuse outright. We’re exploring the possibilities. It’s all-out exhausting girl drama at age 7. So why not treat it as stage drama. Take the role-playing approach at home. And while we’re at it, why not play a game of Freeze Improv? Hey, you like the musical Frozen, right? Now, we’re going to play the game Freeze.
Two people “The Actors” develop a scene. Then, someone in the audience yells, “Freeze,” and the actors freeze, as the audience member steps into one of their roles, tapping one of the actors out, replacing them, now bringing a new scene into action in a whole new way. The person bent over to pick up an imaginary paper clip is now doubled over in pain, wearing ice skates. It’s a new scene, a new game. Everyone learned to make the best of it. Everyone learned to roll with it. But this only works when EVERYONE is willing to roll with it, when everyone can accept transience. Because then, there’s no power play. No queen bee. No one is “the boss.” No one is in charge, no leader. Everyone gets a turn. It’s fluid. And it’s fun.
“Well, she acts like the letter e. Swooping in and changing the whole word’s meaning. Turning hat into hate, mad into made. She changes every game, and everyone always goes along with it!” It sounds like you’re mad, not that she’s the letter “e” but that you want to be the letter “e.” These are the conversations we’re having at my house. Then I sing songs about the letter e and wonder if there’s not a musical or show tune about this topic. There has to be, no?
Broadway show tunes, after all, offer up all you ever need to know about life.
As it is, the car playlist is brimming with Annie, Frozen, Newsies, Wicked, Sound of Music, Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better songs. Why not up the anti? So, I’m rolling up my sleeves, and getting into it with them, ready to belt ’em out. I’m on the watch for songs about power struggles. Any suggestions? Here’s a weekend go-to list for kids, streaming on Netflix:
1. Shrek the Musical
2. High School Musical
4. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
6. The Phantom of the Opera
7. Camp Rock
Abigail’s three favorites from the list above are Shrek the Musical, High School Musical and Camp Rock. I can’t get behind Grease, or even Newsies, because of all the smoking. Grease, I would argue is for teens who’ve talked about sex with someone other than their friends. Personally, I stream Rent to get an Idina Menzel fix from somewhere other than Frozen!
And your little ones:
3. The Prince of Egypt
4. Leap Frog: Numberland