Sizing Up Your Child’s Feet

Sizing Up Your Child’s Feet
Written by: Dr. Andrea L. Peach, DPM


Examples and Measurement Tool
As a Podiatrist, and a mom of 3 adorable children under the age of 5, I am often asked questions concerning children’s shoe gear, shoe choices, and how to measure a child’s foot.

I am an advocate for barefoot walking, as long and as much as possible, before needing to stuff those cute little fat feet into shoes. But what after that?

You need to remember when choosing proper shoes for your child what sort of activity your child will be engaging in. What do you think of when you close your eyes and envision a fun-filled day of learning at Cortland? What variety of movement do you see? How comfortable and practical should your child’s feet be?

Little feet need to be protected, supported, and fitted properly. Exposed feet, loose fitting shoes, or “fancy shoes” have little place at the playground or school; flip-flops, crocs, and dress shoes should be reserved for the beach, back yard home play, and special occasions, respectively. A good athletic sneaker is your best bet for an active school-aged child.

Some brands to consider might include: Stride rite, New Balance, Saucony, and Umi. (**check websites for discounts, specials and free shipping. The best time for discounts is normally around a holiday. Try online discount websites like as well. Stride rite also offers some amazing sales around Black Friday! I normally order a few sizes up for my kids around that time and stock up for the upcoming season.)

Your feet are the foundation for your whole body. Proper shoe gear is important for pedal development, balance, gait, protection and muscular movement. The younger the child, the faster the feet will grow. Did you know that it is recommended for a child under the age of 3 to have their feet measured every 2-3 months for new shoes? After the age of 4, growth tends to slow down a bit, and you can typically have a pair of shoes last 6-8 months until a new pair is needed.

What to consider when purchasing new shoes for your child:
1. A child may not complain about shoes they have outgrown. If you notice a change in your child’s gait, or excessive wear pattern on the back of the shoes or inside lining, it is time for new shoes.
2. Children’s feet sweat more than adults. It is important that a child wears clean cotton socks for breathability. Canvas, leather, and other natural fabrics are better materials for shoe gear for the same purpose rather than synthetic materials. Avoid plastic shoes in little ones, as they do not breathe, cause a child’s foot to sweat more, and can cause friction rubbing and blisters.
3. If you are looking at using hand-me-down shoes, or consignment shoes, check the back heel of the shoes for wear patterns.
4. Shoes that are too small tend to cause blisters, pain, and even ingrown toe nails. Shoes that are too big can cause a child to trip over their own feet.
5. It is always best to have a child try on the shoes and check for proper fit. Make sure the back part of the shoe does not slip out while walking. Also, with the shoe on the child, make sure you have a small fingertip space from the tip of the big toe to the tip of the shoe.
6. Keep in mind when ordering on-line, that shoe sizes vary from company to company. Even with using a sizing guide, read reviews to check if a brand runs small, large, or true to size. Always have the flexibility to return and exchange a pair of shoes if necessary.

How to measure your child’s feet for those new shoes.
1. Whether at a shoe store, or at home, have your child’s feet measured at the end of the day. A person’s foot tends to swell as the day progresses, so a measurement in the morning would tend to be narrower and possibly smaller than at the end of the day.
2. When you measure your child’s foot, have them wear a normal pair of socks, to make sure you get a more accurate measurement of the bulk needed inside of the shoe gear.
3. To measure your child’s foot, have them stand with “full weight” on a sheet of paper. Make a mark at the back of the heel and a mark at the tip of the longest toe. Measure the length between the center of the heel mark and center of the toe mark.
4. Measure both feet, as normally one foot is longer. Always use the longest measurement when purchasing a size for your child’s shoe.

Remember that little ones will grow right before you in a blink of an eye. Let’s give our little ones a great foundation for growth, development, and safety by sending them off to school best-foot forward.

Fun and Funky Ideas that Encourage Literacy in Your Home

Written by Amy Drost

From Ms. Amy: This info came about from a photo that Amy Drost emailed me. I recognized the refrigerator poetry magnets that were so popular when I started college…except in this photo, they were huge, and in scale with the magnetic letters placed just below by a child’s hand. “Magic” is right, Cody! Fun learning magic. I hope you’ll enjoy this info, and thanks again to the Drost family for the great ideas.–AE


My son Cody was extremely resistant in the language arts areas for a long time, but is now really taking an interest. Here are a few things we do at home that have worked for us to jumpstart Cody’s willingness to participate in early literacy building activities. (Me again. I want to jump in and mention that these active, kinesthetic experiences help children explore when they are cognitively ready. Don’t push if your child isn’t quite there yet, just set the scene for exploration.)

Huge Magnet Board
We bought an aluminum “oil drip pan” for under $10 in the auto section, and spray painted it with chalk paint. We attached it to our wall, at toddler height, using adhesive Velcro strips (Hey there, or you can pre-drill and screw through it and into a stud.) The drip pans are about 2.5′ x 4′ so your child has a huge working area. (Mrs. Alexa did a similar project in her unused fireplace–ask her about it.)

I started by randomly choosing 5 or 6 words from the magnetic poetry tin that I thought would pique his interest and put them on the board.

We already had the magnetic letters kit and, without prompting, he began using the magnetic letters to spell the words I put on the board (see photo.)

From that point, he began asking all kinds of questions about the words, and we have started making sentences together. Lots of great conversations have started this way, and his interest in books and reading has exploded–this is a kid who almost never wanted to sit next to me and read. Now, it has become a favorite activity.

Also, after many failed attempts to get him to write, I discovered a website called that has really awesome printable activity packs. There is a “tot pack” and a “kindergarten pack” and they come in different themes. The theme we chose to laminate, and use (w/dry erase pen) on a daily basis is Octonauts! There are other tv show, and non-tv show themes as well. We bought our hot/cold laminator at Costco for $20 and it came with 100 thermal sheets in various sizes. It’s small and easy to store.

Another writing tool that intrigues him is a stencil board of capital letters that includes the arrow instruction for each letter. It is made by School Rite and is also available in lower case, cursive and numbers. ( We use this with laminated surfaces and dry erase pen, too.

(In closing, I think I can speak for Amy Drost when I say that it is exciting when you strike upon ideas that make your child light up and want to learn in new ways. Experimenting is key–these ideas use kinesthetic/tactile feedback to help teach a skill. What is a kinesthetic learner? Read more here!)


Classroom Magnetic Letters Kit: (also available on Amazon)

Magnetic Poetry Words for Kids:


Written by Elizabeth Salahuddin

You’re moving. Now what?!

A dream home in the suburbs is calling your name. A job relocation to another coast is tempting you away. You’re ready for a new lifestyle or change in environment. There is a solid chance a move with your family is in the future.

Last summer we moved from our cozy little nook in Chicago across the country to the Ocean State. It was a huge life re-route for my husband (new job), my kids (new school) and me (new everything).

There were a lot of things I got right and there were a lot of things I could have done better. To help you and your family make smoother transitions, I’d like to share some friendly insight, tips, and advice from my own experiences.

* Keep the people close to you (especially your kids) in the loop as much as possible. Even if you’re resisting the change, open communications with your support network are essential for dealing with the upcoming transitions and navigating the new path ahead.

* Find a doctor, dentist, and therapist for everyone in the family as soon as possible. Our son suffered from multiple ear infections in the first month we arrived in Providence. Ask around, tour, and interview multiple physicians. I had great luck in asking the teachers at our new school for referrals.

* Regarding school admissions, if anyone tells you that you’ve missed a registration deadline, there are no spots for your child or calls and return emails are not happening as frequently as you’d like – don’t listen and don’t give up! Get to the highest level admissions person possible. Call every day, multiple times. Send emails to everyone on the school board. Stalk parks, cafes and shops around the school, chatting up friendly faces. Persistence pays off big time.

* Sign up the kids and yourself for at least one activity, sport, club, or class to ease the transition and stay busy. This is also a great way to meet people in your new ‘hood.

* Look for a “new to the area” neighbors or friends group. Most communities have some sort of established network of newbies for play dates, social gatherings, sports or family outings.

* Lastly, whether you’re on board with the move or not so much (as was my case), it’s going to be okay. Maybe not right away, but you will be in time. There are great people out there to help and guide you along the way. Let them in. You never know what life has in store for you and it’s a great thing to be open to the possibilities.

I’m happy to report that six plus months after our move, we’re adjusting as best we can to our new digs here in Rhode Island, meeting great people and realizing that we love all things seafood! If you’re ever out this way, please look us up!

–Elizabeth Salahuddin
formerly of Logan Square, Chicago, IL and the East Side of Providence, RI
now residing in quaint but quiet Barrington, RI

January Author Study Expands to NYC

LPS-451-New-York-Big-AppleAh, New York city, cooler older sibling to Chicago…we interupt our regularly scheduled monthly author study to bring you these hot tips from NYC transplant (and stellar Cortland mom), Libby Levandoski Wilhelm!

Libby was a teacher for many years in NYC, and I asked her to recommend some beloved authors from her experiences to further extend our Ezra Jack Keats study this month. We will carry these authors over in February as well, but thought you may want to check them out too.

Libby’s List of NYC Authors:

Mo Willems (Knuffle Bunny takes place in Brooklyn, but I think he may now live in MA.) You guys have already done an author study on him, but always worth checking out. *Cortland students love Leonardo the Terrible Monster, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, anything Elephant and Piggie, and of course, the PIGEON! A shared pigeon book will be in our take-home special collection soon, photos courtesy of the Drost family, story courtesy of our 3-day class!

Donald Crews – think he now lives in upstate NY

Nina Crews (daughter of Donald – lives in Brooklyn) O.W. LOVES Below by Nina Crews.

Photos of Jack in this book were taken in Brooklyn. Jack is her nephew. He attended my school in Brooklyn.

The sequel is:

Miriam Cohen (lives in Brooklyn – stories about Jim are her better ones, in my opinion)

Ezra Jack Keats (born in Brooklyn)

Thanks, Libby! I’m sure there’s a bookworm and Big Apple joke to be found somewhere, but for now, I cannot wait to familiarize myself with some new urban authors.

Cortland Cookbook 2014


You can print your own Cortland Cookbook by using the .pdf file

I’ve combined last year with this year, so everything is there. You’ll see three section pages (savory, sweet, family traditions), a front and back cover, and a page at the end for notes.


Love from Ms. Amy and Angela Mead

Cortland Preschool Cookbook_2014

P.S. This didn’t make it into the cookbook this year as it was buried in a pile of my paperwork, but students made this with Ms. Alexa, and it is a fantastic Ranch Dip Recipe:

1/3 cup buttermilk powder
2 Tbsp parsley
1.5 tsp dill
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chives

Mix to combine, stir in plain, whole milk yogurt (small tub) to complete!

Book Club #1…The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius


Cortland Book Club #1
Hosted by the Mead Family
October 24, 2014

We came, we saw, we talked, laughed, cried, and noshed. Our Cortland Book Club is off to a wonderful start.

Parents suggest the books, anyone from the Cortland community may read along and join in the club. Those in attendance vote for the next read. Families volunteer to host if they feel comfortable. Everyone BYOBs. Cortland teachers provide childcare at the preschool for ages 2+. We build a sense of community while engaging in a supportive and friendly discourse. Next meeting in late January, book TBA on the eNews and Facebook.

What will we remember to take away from this read?

-“Maybe I’ll ask (for help) next time.”

-“Keep ties with your community.”

-“All children are amazing and special.”

-“I need to foster my daughter’s love of art.”

-“Don’t expect everyone to be the best at everything. We all have strengths and weaknesses.”

-“Helping and guiding my children—helping them be the best people THEY can be.”

-“Be your child’s advocate, no matter what door is shut in your face, be their advocate.”

-“Recognize that thing in every child that is so special.”

-“Don’t accept limits anyone wants to put on your child. Remember the tree house analogy.”

-“Notice what your kids are good at, what lights them up.”

-“Create a culture of support. Help your child engage in long-term projects he or she is truly interested in.”

A special thank you to Ms. Karen Louis, for a fun-filled Children’s Book Club of Go, Dog. Go! and for generously giving her time to the cause.

A special thank you to the Mead Family for graciously and warmly hosting, and for the delicious treats!

A special thank you to the many Cortland dads, grandparents, friends, etc. who babysat so that Cortland moms could have this night. I am truly grateful–this was a great night for all of us to be a part of.

Hope to see you at January’s meet. Stay tuned.

–Ms. Amy Ewaldt

Indian Boundary Park

Indian Boundary Park
Written by Heather Bruce Boran

More than a hidden gem or a respite from the usual city hustle and bustle, Indian Boundary Park is a destination in its own right. Parents and caregivers looking for something a little outside of the usual are in for a treat. Spanning over thirteen acres and situated just northwest of the Western Avenue and Devon Street intersection, Indian Boundary Park boasts an expanse of picnic-worthy green grass, climbable trees, and a beautiful lagoon from which we spotted numerous ducks, a turtle, and a few jumping fish.

Park-goers also can enjoy a new-this-year water spray feature and splash area, a brand-new nature center and surrounding nature play area that is as peaceful and welcoming as it is beautiful, and — our family’s favorite — a large wooden fortress of a playscape with plenty of room for imaginative play along with gross motor challenges for the toddler, preschool, and elementary school-sets. Our kids would happily spend an entire afternoon (and then some) hiding, sliding, balancing, and, as Sawyer puts it: “climbing up and up and up and up!”

The park’s historic tudor-style field house also houses painting, piano, dance and voice lessons for kids and adults alike, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago — in residence at the park — offers free concerts throughout the year. For upcoming events including a Make Your Own Nutcracker on December 6.10653639_712648825479392_6690452587977754944_n

Cortland parent Heather Bruce Boran is a self-proclaimed, “corporate-lawyer-turned-part-time (adjunct)-law-professor-and-full-time-mom.” (6 photos)

Talking About Standards

Parent: What kind of standards do you use to inform your teaching? What can I expect my child to focus on in one full year?

Cortland: Many parents want to take a more active role in understanding what the State of Illinois Early Learning Standards are and how we (and every Illinois preschool) use these standards daily in our classrooms. You can print a full copy HERE for your records and better understanding, and I would encourage you to read them and share them with your caregivers as well–you can augment classroom learning experiences at home in a unified manner while enjoying a better understanding of age-appropriate learning.

State-mandated standards articulately and intelligently speak to all of the learning domains we work on at school daily (in our daily lesson plans) as children develop up to Kindergarten. Teachers have a separate set of standards for Kindergarten, and each grade following thereafter. Preschool standards have always been available on our blogsite (see the Standards tab above) but you can always google them (State of Illinois Learning Standards, insert grade level here) and follow along each year as the children rise through each grade level. This will help you better connect with them as students and also better connect with their teachers, as you’ll be aware of the expectations and benchmarks for learning development.

Parent: Some programs guarantee that my child will be reading or doing math to a certain level by a certain age. What’s that all about?

Cortland: We would be wary of any program “promising results”–every child develops cognitively at a different rate and uniquely. While there are baseline “norms”, all children have “dips and spikes” in different areas, depending. A real-world example: a gifted child may be reading at a 5th or 6th grade level at age 4 (and with demonstrated comprehension) but may find it difficult work to hold a pencil or other implements and write his or her name or draw / trace precisely (low fine motor.) The spike is the reading / phonic/ decoding ability, the dip is the fine motor.

As teachers, our job then becomes what is called “differentiated learning”–identifying each child’s academic “dips” and working to boost these low areas, while feeding the “spike” and keeping them challenged in above-average areas. This is what makes what makes teaching dynamic and exciting! We work to unite a child’s particular love-passion-interest with the work of the standards, so a genuine love of learning is fueled (and rote seat work is kept to a minimum.)

To better inform our older 3-day families and our 5-day families, you’ll see at our next round of conferences that summer is a time where we focus on math and language arts assessments. You’ll have a better picture of your children’s strengths and achievements, and also where they stack up when compared against State Standards.

Parent: What can I do to be involved in my child’s schooling? I don’t feel like I’m connected.

Cortland: It’s important to remember that preschool, like elementary school and beyond, is very much an equation–the time you put in connecting to your child’s education, you will get back in results of equal or greater measure. At Cortland Preschool, resources for getting / staying involved include:

-reading eNews and notes sent home
-regularly reading and sharing the classroom blogsite with your child
-Facebook posts at Cortland Preschool and Tutoring
-attending parent-teacher conferences
-reading parent handouts
-learning about the State Standards online, on your conference forms, and/or by asking for more info
-attending parenting sessions and events (GRASP Group, Tertulia, Book Club, etc.)
We provide these opportunities for busy parents to stay connected and better informed. It is important to find out what each new school will provide and/or expect parents to regularly attend to.

You will continue to be your children’s greatest advocates for excellence in schooling by continuing to ask questions that help you gain greater understanding. As you move forward, continue asking great questions–What can I do to support my child’s learning in the home? Where is my child struggling? Excelling? What kinds of experiences can support my child in these areas? What resources do you recommend? Good teachers work with parents as a team and want to work in complementary ways. What is your child excited about? How can we all work together to support your child’s self-directed interests and ideas?

We are always happy to talk with you at length, provide supporting articles or documentation, etc. with regards to the education of preschoolers. Thanks for asking great questions!

Nanny Shares–Our Experiences

Nanny Shares–Our Experiences
written by Cortland mom, Megan Canty

Selecting the right child care situation for your family can be overwhelming, and living in a city like Chicago, the options are very different from what my husband and I experienced growing up (we both basically went to a neighbor’s home.) We had our first child before anyone else we knew well in the city had children (and neither of us is from the Chicago area), so we were on our own in navigating this process.

After visiting and researching day care center options, we decided those would not be best for us, considering there were none very close to our current home or offices, and since neither of us drive to work; taking one or more children on the CTA to one destination and then heading to work and doing it all again every evening sounded like a poor option. We knew our actual time together as a family would be limited given that we’d be spending so much time commuting every day.

Next we looked into having a nanny. Having in-home care and one-on-one interaction sounded great but our two concerns were first, the cost, and second, the lack of exposure to other children.

My research led me to where I found message boards, informational posts, and actual events, like one we attended on child care options, where we first heard about nanny shares. This sounded like a great option for what we wanted—a home environment, another child for our son to interact with as he got older, personalized attention, and not as expensive as paying for a nanny on our own.

I can say we have been so happy and fortunate with both nanny shares we have been in. Our first share lasted for two years, and we are still friends with our “share family” and our nanny. We found the share family through the NPN message boards, where many people post child care classifieds.

Once we found a few people who lived in our neighborhood, we communicated over email to discuss what everyone was looking for in a nanny and in a share, and eventually met with
this family. We hit it off right away and hired a nanny together through an agency. Agencies charge a fee to help you and it can be pricey, but that way we knew everyone we interviewed was ok with taxes being withheld, had the kind of experience we wanted, etc. Agencies do all of the reference and screening work for you, which is nice, and I felt like everyone we interviewed was a strong candidate.

The first share wasn’t without its bumps in the road–we had two nannies who did not work out until we found our amazing nanny, but having a great relationship with our share family
made it all work out. I think it’s incredibly important to make sure you take the search for a share family as seriously as you take the search for the nanny, since you are making a lot of decisions together and your children are spending so much time together. A family whose ideas about raising children are in stark contrast to your own is not going to be a good fit, so you want to essentially “interview” each other. For that share, we walked our son the few blocks to the share family’s home each day and picked him up, which worked out very well.

We are now on our second nanny share–we moved when our son was two just before having our second child, and unfortunately our new home took us out of our neighborhood, so our first share ended. We were so sad to leave that share and wondered if finding another would be hard.

The second time around, it took us many tries to find a family we were comfortable having a share with–we had been incredibly lucky to find the first family so quickly, but eventually we found another great family. This time we wanted to host the share at our home, as my husband had recently changed jobs and would be traveling a lot more, and I wanted to make my commute each day as simple as possible since I would be on my own fairly often.

This time, we actually found our nanny through the NPN web site as well as our share family. Sometimes families will post about how great their nanny has been, and how they want to help him or her find a new job if the family is moving, children no longer need full time care, etc. Nannies will also sometimes respond to a classified you might post, which is what happened in our case. Also, sometimes you find a family who already has a nanny and is just looking for a family to share with, so you can interview both the family and their nanny at the same time and see if it is a good fit.

Since we did not go through an agency the second time, we had to do the screening and
paperwork ourselves, but it was not difficult and we once again have a great nanny share.

Overall, we love doing nanny shares–our children have regular interaction with other kids, they get a home environment for child care, and they have very close attention from our nanny. We’ve also gotten to know some great families through our experiences.

The main advice I have on nanny shares is this:

1. First, make a list of your needs. How many hours do you need? Do you want to host some days or every day or not at all? If the share will be in your home, what do people need to know (for example, do you have a dog?) What are things about other people’s homes that you would want to know if a share will be hosted there? These basics help to rule out situations which simply won’t work out because of differing schedules, or an allergy issue,
aversion to smoking, etc.

2. Next, decide on financial issues–how much can you afford to pay and how much are you willing to pay? (Most nanny shares split the rate in half between the two families, but if one family has more children than the other, that ratio will change. Simply, if you hire a $20/hour nanny, a fair split is $10/hour for each family.) How will you handle taxes? Are you willing to pay an agency fee for help with a nanny search, or is that not in your budget? Once you have a nanny, do you have a budget for outings or classes for the children etc.?

3. Next, decide what you want in a nanny and what you want in a share family. This includes both the qualities you are looking for and the type of relationship. In terms of finding a share family, is this going to be purely business or do you hope to befriend another family and have your children spend time together outside the share? It’s best to be clear upfront.

4. Once you’ve answered these questions, you can really start your search since you know what you are looking for. Make sure to keep in mind that there will always be new questions and some problem solving to be done as families’ needs will change over time. The most important feature of a nanny share, in my opinion, is communication–between you and your share family, and between the two families and the nanny, making sure the nanny is getting clear and consistent information from both families, and making sure everyone is comfortable with the share situation. I hope you’ll consider the nanny-share option for your own family!

Dramatic Play Games from Mrs. Samara

Each week, the 3 and 5-day classrooms enjoy the benefits of Dramatic Play with our wonderful teacher, Mrs. Samara. Here are some of the latest acting and improv games we’ve been exploring in class–we hope you will try them at home!

Mime encourages confidence and awareness of self and of others. It encourages physical control, simplicity of thought and movement, and more importantly it stimulates the imagination.

Sub aims:

To introduce relaxation exercises and understand their role in a drama class.
To promote group work and co-operation.

Relaxation exercises

Be a star: Lie sown on your back and spread your arms, palms up to the side and open your legs. Stretch the limbs all together. Feel you are making a four pointed star. Suddenly the star collapses. Feel the tension disappear.

Be Hercules: In the same position, imagine that the body is being pushed down by a heavy weight so that all parts of the body are being pressed into the ground suddenly the weight is removed. Feel yourself float on the ground.

Shake off the ants: In the same position, imagine you are tied to the ground but you can wiggle. A colony of ants finds and begins to crawl over you. Commence to wiggle the body until the last ant leaves you. Then collapse.

Be a rubber puppet: Imagine you are made of rubber and there are strings attached to your shoulders which someone can pull from above. You are being pulled up and you find your limbs fly out in all directions. Even the feet can be pulled off the ground at times, finally the strings are cut and the body relaxes.


All the students sit in a large circle. The teacher asks them to imagine there is a magic box in the center of the circle. The teacher can ask: what size is it? What color is it? Ask, Can everyone see it?

Tell them it can be a different shape and color, depending on where you are sitting in the circle..this is because it is a magic box. The teacher goes into the center of the circle first and mimes opening the box and taking out an object. She then mimes holding the object and the class must guess what it is. When the children guess correctly the teacher mimes putting it back in the box and closing it. The child who guessed correctly takes a turn at taking an object out of the box.


This is a follow on from the Magic Box game. The teacher mimes taking an object out of the box, for example a mouse, a rotten egg, a cream pie, chewing gum, lipstick or a puppy, and the children guess what it is. When they have guessed she passes the object around the circle. The children should react as if they were holding the actual object in their hands. Eventually the last child in the circle gets rid of the object and the teacher goes to the box and takes out a new.


Get the students consider the ways that people walk. The teacher gets the children to walk around the room. Then call out different ways of walking

Walk like a…

• Toddler

• child in high heels

• child wearing heavy wellington boots

• child splashing in a puddles

• child stuck in mud

• child walking on stony beach

• child walking on hot sand

• someone walking on fire

• someone walking wearily

• an old frail person


Divide the class into 2 or 3 groups. Have at least 6 in each group. Number the students from one to six. Get each member of the group to leave the room except for number one. The other groups stay in the room. You then give number one an action to mime. You then call number 2 into the room and number one mimes to number 2. They do not talk. Number 2 can not say anything and she has to do mime exactly what she saw to number 3, then number 3 comes into the room and watches number 2 very carefully. Number 3 does the mime for number four and so on. When number 6 comes into the room she has to guess what the original mime was. This is like broken telephone but it is done through mime. Here are some suggestions for mimes:

• Riding a horse

• Skiing

• Washing dishes

• Eating hot food

• Counting money

• Telling someone you love them

• Eating spaghetti

• Singing

• Playing tug of war

• Washing your dog

• Ballet dancing

• Moon walk

• Playing basketball

• Singing opera

• Walking in the desert

• Playing tennis

• Making pancakes

• Opening a present that you do not like

The other groups watch how the mime changes with each person. This is a fun game and helps with observation skills.

Basic Situation: Divide the class into small groups and they must use body language and facial expression to 5 ways of showing that their are

• Cold

• Hot

• Surprised

• Frightened

Other ideas/themes for group mimes: Camping, the circus, a pirate ship, going on a bear hunt

Starting to use mime in a Drama sessions

Start beginner groups on occupational mimes and later move to emotional mimes. Mime starts within and is then portrayed by the body. Never forget that through mime is that art of movement it is also the art of stillness.

Occupational Mimes: lift a bucket, box, brush. Place the same objects on a shelf or table, place them, carefully on top of each other. Use scissors, shears, pickaxes, fishing rod. Use activities such as sewing buttons, cooking, putting on clothes, painting, cleaning windows.

Character Mimes: Portray different types of character, the young girl, the old woman, the rich lady, beggar, clown. Watch people around you.

Emotional Mimes: These are the hardest to portray. Feel, understand, convey happiness at receiving a gift. Sadness at hearing bad news, shock, horror, love etc..,


Place a chair in the center of the circle and participants take turns to mime what they imagine it to be, for example: a post box, a kitchen sink, a dog, a new car.

The person who guesses correctly takes their place in the middle.

Take over

• in a circle, walking on the spot

• leader makes a gesture, in time, that the everyone else imitates

• continue for 8 beats or so, then shout the name of a participant and they must change or add to the action

• this can continue until the group has warmed up


All sit in a circle. Give everyone an occupation (e.g. policeman, astronaut, postman, teacher). Use each occupation twice, and make sure the occupations are kept secret.

Students use the space to mime their own occupation. Their task is to spot the person with the same occupation as them. When they have done this they should approach their partner, and without speaking, check that they are both miming the same job.

They should sit down in their pair when they think they have found them.

The game continues until everybody is sitting down. The teacher should check they are all correct at the end of the game!


This game was originally named Change 3 Things, but I simplified it for my preschoolers to just 1 thing. They absolutely love playing this game and it will absolutely get giggles out them. Divide your students up into two lines of equal number facing each other. The persons directly across from each other are partners. They quietly study each other closely for one full minute. One line turns around and hides their eyes. The other line changes one thing about their appearance. They may take off one shoe or un-tuck their shirt or roll up a pant leg. After all have changed one thing the other line turns around and guesses what they changed. This game is all about being observant. After the changed item has been identified, the lines switch parts and continue to play. This is fun to do as duos with the rest of the students as the audience too!

Pair students up and tell them to pick an A and B.
Tell A’s that they are looking in the mirror. (Optional: Tell them it is morning and they are getting ready for the day.)
Tell them to move VERY slowly. B’s are the mirror and must follow A so closely that an observer would not be able to tell who is leading and who is following. Encourage them to mirror not only body movement but also facial expression.
Have them switch after a minute or so. Then tell them that neither is the leader or follower. You will probably have tell them to go slower a few times.
Start again with A’s but this time tell them that they are talking to themselves in the mirror as B’s follow. Again let them switch and then try it with no leader and no follower.

Purpose: A simple way to get even the most shy child acting bold in front of the group.
1. Players stand in a circle.
2. One player starts a small gesture.
3. The next player takes it over and makes it even bigger.
4. This continues all the way around until the last person takes it to the EXTREME.
5. After a couple times with just movement, tell the players they can add a sound as well.
– Encourage the kids to never lose a sense of the original gesture in their exaggerations.
– This can be a great lead in to character development, taking small traits and enhancing them to extremes.