Friday, August 31, 2012

Make a Ribbon Wand for “Ribbon” Gymnastics

A few weeks ago, near the end of the Olympic Games, we made ribbon wands after watching the Rhythmic Gymnastics competitions.  They were very easy to make and my children have had a wonderful time pretending to be “Ribbon” gymnasts these last few weeks (as my youngest calls the sport).  

Did you know that the Paralympic Games began yesterday?  You can find a list of sports and a schedule here.  Rhythmic Gymnastics is not a paralympic sport, but in the spirit of the games, I give you the homemade ribbon wand.

We were able to make these wands with items we have on hand.  My girls are always finding ways to play with ribbons, so we keep all the cloth ribbons from gifts or broken hair bows in our bin of dress up clothes.  For this project, my children choose long ribbons, one gold and one cream colored.  We also happened to have wooden rods, but plastic rods or broken fairy wands would work too.

To make these wands, you need:

long ribbons (we used some that wrapped gifts bought at fancy stores)
12 inch wooden craft rods
a glue gun

Let your children express their creativity as they color the ribbons.  My older daughter opted for solid colors while the younger also drew lines and shapes on hers.  After your children have colored and decorated the ribbon with the markers, wrap one end around the wooden rod and secure it with hot glue.  I placed glue on the first edge and sealed it again after wrapping the ribbon around the rod a few times.  Let dry and then dance with your ribbon.  This is a great way to encourage indoor exercise on a rainy or super hot day.

If you need inspiration for how to use your ribbon wand, you can watch the gold medal winning ribbon routine by Yevgenia Kanayeva here.  By the way, my children don’t throw their ribbon wands inside the house, but they do like to wave them quite spastically and have so far not caused any damage to our possessions.  They both study ballet, so this activity is all about pirouettes and spins with a ribbon accessory for them.  When they are ready to try out the other rhythmic apparatus, such as the hoop or the ball, they will have to go outside.

I have not structured a formal lesson around the ribbon wand, but my children are learning about graceful movements, translating movement into a visual image, and coordinating what their feet do while their arm manipulates the ribbon in various ways.  They tend to take turns with their ribbon presentations, learning new movements by watching each other and then copying or changing what they have seen the other do.

I have a question for you, readers.  Rhythmic gymnastics is a women’s sport because women have the flexibility required for the dance movements.  Since I have girls, I did not hesitate to make these wands when they asked for some.  Will any of you be making these wands for boys to play with?  I think both boys and girls could have fun with this toy, but will boys think it is too girly?

I have attached this post to Laura’s Fantastic Ideas for Summer Fun Link up over at Come Together Kids.  This on-going link up already has over 200 ideas for summer projects and activities.  

Karri at My Life’s a Treasure hosts a weekly My Favorite Things Link up, and I am linking this post there. 

Megan at Sorta Crunchy shares hosting duty for the weekly Your Green Resource Link up with three other blogs.  This link up is for green living: recycling, repurposing, do-it-yourself, organic gardening, and recipes using whole foods.

Stef at Educating Laytons just started a Tactile Tuesday Link up for tactile learning projects and resources, so I have also linked this project there. 

Rachel of Sun Scholars hosts a weekly For the Kids Friday Link up for “KID-RELATED activities, games, recipes, parties, gifts, clothing you've created, crafts, traditions, lessons, and so on.”

Friday, August 24, 2012

Free Poetry Download and an Event

Looking for something to read?  Poetry perhaps?  Or looking for something free to read that is not a blog and that you don’t have to return to the library?  How about the booklet of the ARTlines Ekphrastic Poetry Competition Winners?  Last year, the Public Poetry Reading Series and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, paired up to host a poetry competition that invited contestants to write poems about certain works of art in the museum collection.  They have published the poems written by the winners, the honorable mentions, judges, and invited guest poets in a free downloadable PDF.

And, that is not all.  They have also published a downloadable Gallery Guide that includes a phone number you can call to listen to the winning poems read by their authors.  You can read the poems, look at the art, and listen to the authors without even visiting the museum.  I think this is a very cool thing, and a great resource for those who are interested in poetry, teaching poetry, or writing it themselves.

If you are interested, please visit the links below.  Even if you don’t have time to read or listen now, download the PDFs; the museum is going to count the number of downloads at the end of August.  Let’s show them how much we appreciate this free service by giving them a high count!

View information about the competition, the list of winners, and calling information here.

View or download the works of art PDF here.

View or download the poetry booklet PDF here.

All three PDFs include full color reproductions of the art works.

My favorite poem in the collection is the one written in Spanish by William Marabella about the crosswalk art piece that is painted on the street in front of the museum entrance.  The poem is vibrant in its interaction with the art, and enthusiastic about the artwork’s unusual media.  An English translation is also included.  Honestly, if you are looking for a little poetry in your life, I couldn’t recommend a better place to start (except for my own chapbooks).

Also, next Saturday, September 1st, Public Poetry will present four poets, DF Brown, Erica Lehrer, Thad Logan and Karyna McGlynn at their monthly event.  Starting this month, Public Poetry alumni are invited to read one poem each and sell their books after the readings.  Since I am an alumna of this reading series, I will be there on Sept. 1, so do come out and join us!  I will be selling both of my chapbooks; you can learn more about them on the My Publications page in the tabs above.  The event begins at 2 p.m. at the McGovern-Stella Link Library, 7405 Stella Link, 77025.

These events are always full of good poetry of many different types.  You don’t want to miss the poetry of Erica Lehrer, whose voice is witty and mood light hearted, even in the poems about her terminal illness.  I do hope you will join us.

Karri at My Life’s a Treasure hosts a weekly My Favorite Things Link up, and I am linking this post there.  

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