A Nutcracker Study
Dec 12, 2020
So your toddler/preschooler is too young to attend a live performance of the Nutcracker ballet, but you still want to share some Nutcracker magic with him or her. Where do you start?? Clap for Classics! has got you covered!
First, we’ve created a lovely online music course that takes you and your little one on a Nutcracker adventure with music, movement, and games, and requires no prep or planning on your part! Subscribe to our monthly music program anytime this month, and you’ll get access to it right away (first month is just $7!). We shared a sneak peek into the course last week with our “Magic Sleigh” video.
And, here are some more resources and ideas that will supplement our Nutcracker music course beautifully, or stand alone for an at-home Nutcracker study.
Start by listening to Tchaikovsky’s music.
- Here’s one of our favorite Nutcracker recordings on Spotify
- Here’s a tip -- we find that the most compelling music for kids happens during the second act. These movements are short, and represent dancers from all around the world. Start there! (But don’t miss out on the Overture and March from Act 1 - also fabulous, and accessible)
- Grab our “Musical Play with Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker” pdf with specific ideas to get you and your child moving and playing to this great music.
Then dive into the storyline.
- Read a few of the 7 Nutcracker books from this list, compiled by Feminist Books for Kids
- Watch the Classics for Kids Nutcracker video (15 minutes). It includes storybook illustrations and clips from the original Nutcracker music.
- The story is pretty simple -- a young girl named Clara receives a very special Nutcracker toy at her family’s holiday party. In the middle of the night, her toys come alive (including the Nutcracker), and she witnesses a battle between the Nutcracker and a Mouse King. Clara saves the day by throwing her slipper at the Mouse King, and the Nutcracker then turns into a prince. The prince takes Clara on a sleigh ride through a beautiful forest, ending up in the Kingdom of Sweets, where he invites her to his castle. There, they watch stunning performances by dancers from all around the world, concluded by the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Clara drifts off to sleep, and when she wakes up she is back in her bed with her Nutcracker toy nearby.
- The original tale of the Nutcracker was written by ETA Hoffman, but the ballet is based on Alexander Dumas’ adaptation of that story.
Experience the magic of ballet.
- Watch these stunning ballet performances on YouTube. Observe the details of the costumes and the sets, and encourage your little one to dance and twirl along with them!
Extend the learning.
- Download this Nutcracker-themed Preschool Learning Pack from Homeschool Preschool. (And check out her craft ideas, too)
Go all the way!