Cover image for DIY circus lab for kids : a family-friendly guide for juggling, balancing, clowning and show-making / Jackie Leigh Davis.
DIY circus lab for kids : a family-friendly guide for juggling, balancing, clowning and show-making / Jackie Leigh Davis.
Title Variants:
Do it yourself circus lab for kids :

a family-friendly guide for juggling, balancing, clowning and show-making
Publication Information:
Beverly, MA : Quarry Books, an imprint of The Quarto Group, 2018.

Physical Description:
151 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes resources and bibliographic references (pages 140-145) and index.
UNIT 1: Spinning and Flowing -- Introduction: About Spinning and Flowing, Circademics, and CircusSecrets -- Make Your Own Juggling Stick -- ABCs of Juggling Sticks -- Make Your Own Diabolo -- ABCs of Diabolo -- Make Your Own Hoop -- ABCs of Hooping -- Make Your Own Poi -- ABCs of Poi -- UNIT 2: Toss Juggling -- Introduction: About Juggling, Circademics, and CircusSecrets -- ABCs of Scarf Juggling -- Make Your Own Juggling Balls -- ABCs of Three-Ball Juggling -- ABCs of Armpit Juggling -- UNIT 3: Balance -- Introduction: About Balance, Circademics, and CircusSecrets -- Make Your Own Rola Bola -- ABCs of Rola Bola -- Make Your Own tie-on Stilts -- ABCs of Stilt Walking -- Make Your Own Tightrope -- ABCs of Tightrope Walking -- UNIT 4: Partner Acrobatics and Human Pyramids -- Introduction: About Pyramids, Circademics, and CircusSecrets -- Make Your Own Circus T-Shirt -- The Secret Language of Pyramids -- ABCs of Partner Acrobatics -- ABCs of Human Pyramids -- UNIT 5: Clowning -- Introduction: About Clowning, Circademics, and CircusSecrets -- Make Your Own Clown Nose -- Make Your Own Clown Hat -- ABCs of Clowning -- ABCs of Fun with Your Hat -- ABCs of a Running Gag -- UNIT 6: Making a Show -- Introduction: About the Toolbox for Working Together and CircusSecrets -- ABCs of Building an Act -- ABCs of Building a Show -- Growing Circus in Your Community -- Appendix A: Circus as a serious tool for learning ; CircusSecrets and social and emotional learning -- Appendix B: The origins of youth circus ; Social circus -- Appendix C: Youth and social circus worldwide.
DIY Circus Lab for Kids gives families everything they need to produce their own circus! Author Jackie Leigh Davis invites the you into the international youth circus community, then dives into the circus skill families: juggling, acrobatics, manipulation, balance, and clowning. The book opens with a do-it-yourself prop-making class, and provides enough homemade circus equipment to get you started on some fun circus basics. Rising circus stars will then move on to lessons in toss juggling, flower sticks, poi, human pyramids, and how to move on to even more tricks and skills. And best yet, kids.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
791.3 DAV Book Junior Collection

On Order



Produce your own circus! Make your own stilts, juggling sticks, and tightrope, then learn to use them; master the human pyramid; discover how to create your own circus acts and shows; and much more with DIY Circus Lab for Kids . Companion online video tutorials for every prop and skill make learning easy.

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 Clowning Gyroscopic and toss juggling You'll learn how to make juggling balls , a hoola hoop , a rola bola , a clown nose and hat , and a pair of poi , among other circus essentials. With these props, you'll learn how to juggle, hoop, balance, perfom clown gags, and more. Photo demonstrations , numbered steps , and online tutorials ensure you'll understand exactly how to make the props and perform the skills.

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? DIY Circus 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.

Author Notes

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.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Davis, a former mime and founder of several circuses, offers a playful primer. Chapters focus on acrobatics, acrobalance, and pyramids; balance arts; clowning; gyroscopic juggling; and toss juggling; among other topics (aerial skills are mentioned but not included, for safety reasons). Readers are invited to make circus props and supplies, including juggling sticks, hoops, clown hats, and stilts. Through bright photographs of kids and detailed instructions, Davis demonstrates how each tool plays a role within the larger circus context, and a section titled "Making a Show" advises readers on how to integrate the pieces into a cohesive performance. Davis notes that the "circus is for everyone"-an inclusive message echoed by the activities, which align with different ability levels and interests, from tight rope walking to designing T-shirts. Ages 9-14. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.