Music and Movement Activities

Music and Movement Activities
For Your Classroom

Since the parachute is too large for 1 and 2-year-olds, I bought a piece of tarp form my local home improvement store. All of the toddlers grab an end and shake it. They each take turns throwing different sized balls on it. ( well, maybe not take turns) ha, ha. I have never seen them laugh so hard. Try it it’s fun!

Freeze Dance I work with kids that are 2-4 and we love to play freeze dance. Pick any kind of music (the faster the better), have the kids dance to the music and freeze when it stops. The positions are great that the kids end up having.

All you need is a bell and a set of rhythm sticks for a fun movement activity on a rainy/snowy day! ( And it really fine tunes Listening Skills!) “Click” a slow beat on the sticks. Call this “walking music”. Then “click” out a faster beat with the sticks. Call this “jogging music”. Now, ask the children to listen to the sticks’ rhythm. When they hear the “walking music”, they should walk around the room. When they hear the “jogging music”, jog. Now ring the bell. This means “stop and drop”. Now, have fun with the slow and fast beats of the sticks (“walking music” and “jogging music” ) and ring the bell. Now you’ve got the power and your kids have a great physical and auditory workout!

I made some very inexpensive streamers for dancing. I took lids from yogurt containers, cut the centers out so I had plastic rings. Then I cut an old red plastic tablecloth into strips. I also used a white garbage bag cut into strips so I had 2 colors. I then looped then in a knot through the rings. They are easy for small hands to hold. The children love them. I put on disco music and we march and dance around the room waving our streamers up and down and all around. Fun!

On a rainy day, we took wooden paint stirrers and taped them to sturdy paper plates to make a racket. Then we blew up balloons and played balloon tennis. The children can sit spread out on the floor and try to keep the balloons from falling to the ground or each child can have a balloon and see how long he/she can hit the balloon before it touches the ground. It gets out a lot of energy and uses those muscles.

When I used music as a theme with my toddlers, every day we listened to different types of music. One day was country, so we wore cowboy hats, and at the end of the week we listened to rock and roll and had a sock hop and dressed fifties style. Have you ever seen a one-year-old with slicked-back hair and rolled up tee shirt sleeves?


This is a variation of musical chairs. The difference is that it is not a competitive game–no one is OUT.

Place several hula hoops around the area (I use large hula hoops and have one out for every 3-4 children).

Explain to the children that they will walk AROUND the hula hoops. When the music stops, they all need to be in a hula hoop and there can be more than one child in a hoop.

Each time you stop the music and the children are in the hoops, have them start walking around them again–but remove one hoop.

Continue until there is only one hoop left. The children will all work together to make sure all of their friends get in the hoop when the music stops.

Our day in class had started to become somewhat loud and the children were losing focus. I threw my original small group plan out the window and decided to do an activity I named “Drawing the Music of Yanni”. I had the children lay on the floor on their bellies spreading their arms and legs out for a moment to make sure they could not touch a friend. I gave them a piece of newsprint paper and a handful of crayons. I then explained that I wanted them to draw what the music sounded like. I told them we would play two or three songs without talking, and just draw what we hear. I got on the floor right along with them!! This went wonderfully!! The artwork the children drew was vibrant, colorful, and creative! After we were done we sat in a circle and I held up each child’s work one at a time for all to see. As I did, I would ask the child who’s’ picture I was holding to tell about what they heard in the music. They were each so proud, and our day went a lot smoother!! While this activity covers a few components, such as Good Mental Health, Music&Movement, and Art activities, I have chosen to place it in the Music area. We often use the music of Yanni, and Enya at various times in our classroom including quiet time. So, if you get the chance try them. The children seem to truly enjoy them.

Paper plate skate Give each child 2paper plates, 1 for each foot. Turn on some classical music (Nutcracker works great) Enjoy your skate around the room. Toddlers and preschoolers will love this activity.

1. Jumping stones – 2 to 6 little foot square carpet samples will be placed outside the door. (if you are putting them on a carpeted surface, stick hooked Velcro strips on the back to keep them in place). If 2 squares, they can jump from one to another, or stand on them to do tossing games. If 6 squares, they will be in a hopscotch pattern. 2. Scoops and bean bags – Make large scoops by holding an empty gallon plastic milk jug by the handle but turned upside down. Cut away the bottom and the part right above the handle and it makes a great scoop. Show the children how to gently toss a bean bag underhand to their partner who tries to catch it in their scoop. 3. Statues – Have cards available with stick figures posed in different body positions – arm up, arm down, feet apart or together, balancing on one foot. You can do the same with stick figures and a bean bag balanced on various body parts. The activity is for the children to select a card and copy what the figures are doing. 4. Various activities will be added such as those stompers (cups with handles that the children place their feet on and walk), those fuzzy mitts with Velcro balls, a quiet version of bowling with liter bottles as pins and a large foam ball as the bowling ball, punch balls from the local Walmart and others as I think of them. I hope this area works!!!