Music and Movement Activities

Music and Movement Activities
For Your Classroom

Art/Music-Movement: Using adding machine paper, combine a few strips together (taped or stapled together at one end). The children can color or paint the strips of paper and afterward dance around to music with them or even dip them in the paint and create a floor or wall painting.

As a dance teacher, I love to create various ways in which children can delight in their own movements from head to toe.

Jack and the Bean Stalk

This is a great creative movement play for using various parts of the body. Concepts: forward and backward walking light and heavy feet stretching and lifting

Twist paper bags, and staple them together to form a beanstalk. Staple green leaves onto the stalk and hang it from a high place at one end of the room. Make a magic line with some masking tape and have children sit on the line. Have the children individually pretend they are Jack tiptoeing quietly towards the beanstalk. At the beanstalk, the child then pretends to climb up. Encourage the child to lift their knees and use their arms while climbing. Then you and the other children say, “The Giant is Coming!” The child now becomes the giant, walking backward, with large heavy giant steps until they are safely back on their magic line.

Buzzing Bees:

Have children buzz around with elbows flapping searching for flowers and nectar. When they’ve gathered all their nectar have them fly back to the hive to feed the queen bee which can be the adult.

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This works really well for rainy days when the kids need to get the jitters out, and it also helps them to calm down a bit.

Have all the kids crouch down and lay their heads on the floor. Then sing: “Sleeping, Sleeping, all of the children are sleeping” “But when they woke up, they were (an animal, a dog for instance)!” Then all the children get up and pretend to be dogs. As soon as they are getting a little out of control, start over and change the animal. They go from pretending to be the animal to a resting position. It works great!

For a variation, after you say “and when they woke up,…..” you can pick a child to pick the next animal.

This is a “variation on a theme” musical game called Musical Squares. Go to a local carpet store and collect enough small remnants or sample squares for each child to have his/her own carpet square. (these also come in useful for circle times.) Lay carpet squares out on the floor in a circle, allowing each child to sit on it as it is laid out. Put some music on a tape player with a “pause” button. Explain before starting that the children should walk around the circle of squares when the music starts, but that when the music stops, the should find a square to sit on and sit down, quick! Also, let them know that each time the music restarts, you will remove one carpet square, so they need to be ready to share their space. By the end of the game, all but one square should be removed. See how many kids can fit on one carpet square! This is fun and good practice for sharing space.

When playing a game or singing a song that deals with left/right recognition (such as Hokey Pokey or Looby Loo) I will put a sticker that deals with the theme that we have been studying on each child’s right hand. This encourages each child to look and remember which side is their right side and which side is their left side. By the end of the school year, it’s amazing how many children are able to distinguish between their right and their left hands!

A game that the children at our preschool like to play is statues. I play music like Barney or Raffi and the children can dance and sing. Every couple minutes I stop the music and the children have to stay still in whatever pose they are in when I stop the music. If they move they are out but I let them join back in after a few of them are out. This is a great exercise for them and they are cute to watch when they get dancing and singing. I use this activity when it is raining out and they can’t play outside.

Ever wonder what to do with the bridge in the Chicken Dance? We walk in a circle and sing: “Let’s walk around the circle. Everybody’s walking now. Oh, let’s walk around the circle, keep on walking don’t fall down.

Pass out two rhythm sticks to each child and sit in a circle. Next, have each child tap out their own name. Then the rest of the group could do it w/them. This way they start getting basic syllable concepts w/o even knowing it. For instance, mine would be, “Miss-(tap)-Kris-(tap)-ti-(tap).”

This is a new idea we tried, and the kids loved it, plus it tired them out. We took a bag of colored feathers to the gym with us. We gave each child one to “feather dance” with. While the music played, they had to keep the feather in the air by blowing it. After a while, we threw the whole bag of feathers in the air, and the kids ran around gathering up their own little bunches. For clean up, we just gave each child a color to pick up, and there was not one feather left on the floor!