Want to try something new in your child’s practice? Here’s a suggestion from Julie, whose daughter and son are ESMA violin students:
In our family, stuffed animals are called cozy friends. In this practice game, 8 cozy friends “compete” against each other to see who is the best at guessing which of 2 practice spots the child will play.
The child gives each of the practice spots a color, such as green and pink. The cozy friends line up in 4 pairs. The first pair chooses colors and whispers them to the child’s parent. The child does not know which color each one chose. (In our family, cozy friends have personalities, and it isn’t always difficult to guess.) Sometimes the cozy friends even fight over which one gets to be pink! (As parent, I step in and tell them sternly that one of them must be green).
The child plays one of the practice spots. The cozy friend who chose the right color wins and goes into a “winners line.” Losers get to snuggle with the parent.
When all the pairs have had a turn, the 4 winners line up in pairs and do it again. Now 2 finalists are left. Which one will win? The child plays a spot one last time, and the winner gets some kind of prize, such as sitting in a seat of honor or wearing a crown.
This game can be varied almost endlessly. Usually we choose colors, but sometimes the colors are modified by polka dots or stripes. Instead of colors, sometimes we choose ice cream flavors or flowers, whatever the child wants. Have fun!