Circus At Home
Balance + Acrobatics Bootcamp
Today at Camp Kinda, things are about to get wobbly. You'll be testing your balance with stilts made from items from around the house or the Dollar Store. You'll walk the “tightrope” and engage in exercises that focus on control, core strength, and balance. You'll even try leaping over an "invisible box"—a trick of athleticism and focus that you’ll work on for hours. (Trust us, it’s harder than it looks.) Get ready for balance and acrobatics bootcamp!
what you’ll need
- A computer, tablet, or mobile phone and access to the internet
- Plastic sandcastle buckets (make sure they are a sturdy plastic!)
- String, rope, or twine
Ask About Today
If the Cirque du Soleil auditions come to town, which part would you like most to try out for? What do you think the hardest part might be?
What would it be like if our family joined the circus? What would each of our circus acts be? What would be fun about traveling the world together to perform—and what would be challenging?
Skip the Ads
Unfortunately, online videos often start with short advertisements. Remind your campers to click the "Skip" button as soon as they can to move ahead to the video.
If you’re planning on running away with the circus, you might want to start here—with circus school.
Join the Circus School
See what it takes to get into circus school by watching this preview of "Big Top Academy." What would you want to learn if you were a circus school student?
Remember: Online videos often start with advertisements. (Annoying, we agree!) Click the "Skip" button as soon as you can to move ahead to the video.
China's Future Circus Stars
Next, watch this longer documentary about the young students of China's Wugiao School of Acrobatic Arts. You won't believe what these kids can do...but it's all true! Will they nail the human pyramid competition in the end?
For younger explorers
Check out these skills from young circus stars from Beijing, China. Many of these kids have been practicing the circus arts for most of their lives!
Stay Safe: Remember, these performers learned in a safe environment with cushioned mats and spotters. Do not attempt these tricks at home!
For younger explorers
Mime Your Own Business
Ever wanted to become a mime? Mimes are circus performers who use their bodies and expressions to communicate and entertain without words. Watch this video to learn more about how it's done. Then, without talking or making a sound, start practicing your miming. Quietly entertain your entire family with your mime skills.
Today, you'll be growing by a few inches...you're going up on stilts! But before you can learn to walk (or dance) on them, you'll need to make your own.
UniverSoul Stilt Walkers
Have you ever seen a person dance on stilts? The UniverSoul Circus stilt walkers are pros at it. Watch this quick clip to get pumped for what you’re about to create today: Your very own stilts!
Make Your Own Stilts
The stilts you see in the circus are usually very tall, but beginners start with lower ones to build their skills. Follow these step-by-step instructions for how to make your own stilts out of sandcastle buckets and rope.
For younger explorers
Draw Your Stilt Walking Scene
If you could make yourself super tall by standing on stilts, what would you want to do? Munch the leaves off a tree like a giraffe? Poke your head into a 10th floor apartment to say hello? Touch the clouds?? Draw a picture of what you'd do if your legs were much, much longer.
Tightrope walking is an incredible feat of body and mind. Read on to learn more.
A Historic High-Wire Walk
In 1974, French aerialist Philippe Petit walked across a wire 110 stories above ground. He planned this illegal undertaking for months before shocking the world.
Your Body on a Wire
What happens to your body when you walk on a tightrope? This article from Smithsonian Magazine explains the science of tightrope walking.
For younger explorers
The Fabulous Flying Fandinis
Read along with The Fabulous Flying Fandinis by Ingrid Slyder, a story about a circus family. Don't you wish the Fandinis lived in your neighborhood?
These games will have your whole family cracking up.
The Water Bottle Challenge
Your goal is simple: Flip a plastic bottle so it lands in perfect balance. All you need is a plastic bottle filled about a quarter of the way up with water. This video shows you how to do it, and includes harder challenges and games you can play solo or with your family.
The Floor Is Lava
Here's how it works: If someone says “the floor is lava,” everyone else has 5 seconds to get off the floor—or you're out. Hop on the sofa, stand on a chair; do anything before the lava swallows you up. This game is a great way to practice balance and equilibristics (those are circus skills involving balance or equilibrium).
Need a Team? You don't necessarily have to play this with other people in your house (although you could). Invite some friends or relatives to a Zoom or FaceTime version. And as always, please be careful!
You're ready to take the tightrope challenge! Okay, it's nothing like walking between two skyscrapers, but staying on the “rope” is harder than it looks
To start, tape a straight line on your floor (about 5 feet long) to create a "tightrope." You could also use a jump rope, a long piece of string or yarn, or anything long and straight that you can lay flat on the floor.
Start by walking sideways across the line. Can you keep your feet on the line the whole way? If that's too easy, try walking forward on the line, placing the heel of one foot in front of the toes of the other foot.
Still too easy? Add new ways to walk across your tightrope: slow, quick, backward, on tiptoe, whatever you want to try. You can also place obstacles—like a toy or a pillow—on your tightrope. Can you hop over them and land perfectly on the line? If you know how to do a cartwheel or somersault, try doing one while staying on your line. Now imagine you're hundreds of feet in the air. Would you have stayed balanced? Or plummeted to the ground?
The Invisible Box
For some fun that is surprisingly athletic, try the Invisible Box Challenge. Texas high school cheerleader Ariel Olivar was considered the #1 Invisible Box Challenger back in 2017 and teaches us how to do it. Now it's your turn.
more to explore
All about balance? Explore some more!
Watch these incredible contortionists from West Africa in the UniverSoul Circus.
Life Before Cirque
Before they were Cirque du Soleil stars, these performers had other lives.
Day In the Life of an Aerialist
Meet Silvia Dopazo. She's an aerialist, or a person who performs acrobatics high above the ground, with Cirque du Soleil. This is a day in her life.