Music and Movement Activities

I purchased a yard of every color of nylon tulle and cut it into long strips, tied off the end in a knot. I keep them all together with a ponytail holder that can be slipped over the doorknob. We used the music “Can you paint with all the colors of the Wind”. Each child took two strips and danced to the music, afterward we painted with watercolors our own version of the music. The children have come up with all their own variations to the tulle, just as children will do once you have given them an idea to start with.

Want to make a rainy day brighter? Have parents donate different colors of chiffon for the children to dance with. Use different types of music ask the children how the music makes them feel, let them show you by dancing with their chiffon. All the colors flowing through the air will brighten any class!!

This is an activity we do while waiting for the bus to come. The children sit in a circle which we pretend is a boat. We sing “Row, row, row your boat”. Then, since I’m the captain, I shout out a child’s name and say, “Kelly, overboard!” Then that child jumps in the middle of the circle and pretends to swim. All of the rest of us throw in a pretend line and begin pulling. As we are “pulling we say ” 1-2-3-4-5 she’s/he’s alive!! The child in the middle then takes his seat. We repeat this until everyone has had a turn to jump overboard.

Play the recording Ride of the Valkyries from “Die Walkure” by Wagner. Give each child a “spaceship” made from a paper towel tube. Attach strips of crepe paper at the end of the tube. When the music begins the spaceship is on the ground in a vertical position. The children listen to the music and move their spaceship up, down, in circles etc. The music will give the children hints as to the type of movement they will use. The teacher should help the class listen for high and low pitches as well as soft and loud.

In my classroom, we keep a variety of homemade equipment for the children to use. We have ladders, saw horses of various sizes, ramps, trampolines, tires, mats, and balance beams. All are brightly colored. We use the sawhorses to climb over, walk on, crawl under, make a mountain to climb, etc. Ramps are used for running and jumping on the tramp (incorporate half-turns, knee slaps, full turns, jump off and forward roll, etc. We also use it to crawl up and forward roll over (great way to teach a roll!) We use the ladder for cross crawling (feet and hands alternate on rungs). Once the children have mastered the concept, place the ladder on two tires, one tire for a ramp, then place it on the sawhorses. Please make sure you have someone spotting this area at all times. Mats are for tumbling, pencil rolls, etc. It is great to see the children gain confidence in their motor skills. You may also add cones or chairs for the children to weave in and out while crawling, skipping, walking, jumping, etc. You can make this as difficult or easy as the children you teach. We also play a variety of music during this time. Create an obstacle course with this equipment and watch your students shine!

The Old Grey Cat

Choose 1 child to be the cat and have them “sleep” in a corner of the room not too far away.

The remaining children pretend to be the mice. I remind the children before starting that the mice always stay on the rug. (or within your defined space)

You are then able to start the game. As the mice crouch on their spots you sing:

“The old grey cat is sleeping, sleeping, sleeping

the old grey cat is sleeping in the house.”

The cat stays sleeping and you continue

“The little mice are dancing, dancing, dancing (children dance on their spot)

the little mice are dancing in the house!”

“The little mice are nibbling, nibbling, nibbling (children nibble) the little mice are nibbling in the house!

The little mice are resting, resting, resting (children get back into a resting crouch position) the little mice are resting in the house!”

Mice stay resting and attention goes back to the cat.

“The old grey cat comes creeping, creeping, creeping, the old grey cat comes creeping in the house! The little mice go scampering, scampering, scampering, the little mice go scampering in the house!

You or the “cat” pick the next child to be the cat.

This is a very popular game but be warned the scampering mice can get out of control if limits aren’t set.

Record: Learning Basic Skills Through Music vol.1

This Hap Palmer served as the main part of our “circle time.” The songs utilized listening, perceptual, and cognitive skills. It actively involved listeners to move around, jump, and play games using these skills. The songs helped children with color recognition and get them physically involved. The songs talk about and involve them with numbers, the alphabet, and body parts. These concepts are all presented in a happy rhythmic learning and teaching program. My favorite song on this record is Sammy. Many of the songs will help you and further enhance lessons you have already presented to the students.

The teacher is in the middle of the room with a closed umbrella. Have the children march, hop or skip etc. until the umbrella goes up signaling that the rain has started and the children have to run to a spot under the umbrella to keep dry until the sun comes out again and they can play.

Children sit down on floor legs in a straddle position. Their fingers on both hands represent two swimmers who want to jump off the diving board. They take their fingers on each hand and walk them down their legs to their toes and when they reach their toes they bounce their fingers on the tips of their toes and they jump in the water. They swim using their arms and then climb out of the water and start over again until they are stretched out and then they can grab a towel and dry off.


Hot glue or tape a large paper plate to the end of a wooden paint stirrer. Give one to each child with a blown up balloon. They throw the balloons up in the air, but then have to catch them on the plates. I usually start them out slowly, making them follow me as we throw and catch one time, then two times, etc., until they get the idea. Then turn on some music and let them throw and catch. This is great for eye-hand coordination, and they love it!

Editor’s Note: Make sure you do this with older preschool children who are not apt to bite into the balloons 🙂