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DIY Circus Lab for Kids: A Family- Friendly Guide for Juggling, Balancing, Clowning and Show-Making (Paperback)
Veteran circus educator Jackie Leigh Davis takes you, step by step, through the props and skills you need to perform all the major circus arts:
- Acrobatics, acrobalance, and human pyramids
- Balance arts
- Gyroscopic and toss juggling
Did you know that a tight rope walker in Ancient Greece was called a funambulus? Or that female jugglers can be found pictured in 4,000-year-old hieroglyphs on the wall of an Egyptian tomb? DIYCircus Lab for Kids includes the history of each family of circus skills. “Circademics” sidebars explore the science and academics behind the circus activities, like how the brain changes when you learn how to juggle.
“Circussecrets” sidebars throughout connect circus arts to social and emotional skills, like listening, persistence, and asking for and giving help. Many of the skills in this book are safe enough for kids to do themselves, with a few requiring an adult “spotter” so families or classes can enjoy them together.
Once you’ve learned how to create your own circus with DIY Circus Lab for Kids, you can also: host a circus prop–making party, start a juggling club at school, clown at a senior center or daycare, start a community circus meet-up in a park, or integrate circus themes into your school's curriculum—the opportunities for circus fun are endless.
The popular Lab for Kids series features a growing list of books that share hands-on activities and projects on a wide host of topics, including art, astronomy, clay, geology, math, and even bugs—all authored by established experts in their fields. Each lab contains a complete materials list, clear step-by-step photographs of the process, as well as finished samples. The labs can be used as singular projects or as part of a yearlong curriculum of experiential learning. The activities are open-ended, designed to be explored over and over, often with different results. Geared toward being taught or guided by adults, they are enriching for a range of ages and skill levels. Gain firsthand knowledge on your favorite topic with Lab for Kids.
About the Author
Jackie Leigh Davis, EdM., is a circus education pioneer, teacher, and advocate. She was a founding member of the American Youth Circus Organization (AYCO), the first national youth circus advocacy organization in the country. Founded in 1999, AYCO hosts biennial national festivals and educator conferences to promote the participation of youth in circus arts.
In 1995, Jackie established the circus arts curriculum for grades 1-8 at the Pine Hill Waldorf School in Wilton, NH. The program culminates in the annual Hilltop Circus, created and performed in collaboration with Pine Hill’s middle school students. Jackie also founded the Silver Lining Circus Camp (1997), a summer day camp for children ages 7-14, and the Flying Gravity Circus (1999), a teen troupe that brought performances and workshops to school communities from Pennsylvania to Toronto. Jackie has coached juggling, balance skills, and performance/clowning at the Circus Smirkus summer camp in Vermont.
She merged her interests in circus arts and academics to become a circademic, earning a Master of Education degree in Human Development & Psychology in 2009 from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. At Harvard she identified circus as a vehicle for physical, social-emotional, and cognitive development and constructed her theory of developmental circus arts (DCA).
Prior to her teaching and writing careers, Jackie was a professional mime who studied with Marcel Marceau, performed for nearly 4 years at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center, and taught at New York University. She currently resides and writes in New Hampshire. Her adult daughters, Erin and Ellie, live nearby.
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