Wednesday, February 11, 2009


All of us have enjoyed dancing around the living room to music when no was looking. These are uninhibited moments in response to music. In fact, moving to the beat of the music is an innate quality found in all human beings. Infants and toddlers bounce to the music without any instruction at all. We need to provide children with a safe environment to explore and learn all they can about how their bodies can move to music.


Improvising movement to music is a natural way for children to express themselves. This release of emotional tension can help to calm children and improve their mood. Depending on the music, it can invigorate or soothe the emotions. Exposing children to a wide variety of music at an early age will increase their appreciation of music.

Because classical music generally evokes strong emotions you could use Beethoven’s “5th Symphony” to inspire anger, or Rimsky-Korsakov’s, “The Flight of the Bubble Bee” to inspire excitement.

Making and using simple instruments in exploration of various musical styles will add to the experience. For instance, a homemade drum will add to the fun when moving to Native American music.


Giving children the opportunity to explore and expand their movement vocabulary will increase their creativity. These activities will bring out quick and slow, heavy and light, strong and gentle, as well as tense and relaxed movements. As kids experience different combinations of movement and a variety of themes, their own movement ideas will emerge.

In the “Fastland/Slowland” activity one side of the room is for quick movements and the other side of the room is for slow movements. Children cross over to the other side when they hear a signal like a drum beat or a whistle.

“Abracadabra” is an activity that teaches the difference between heavy and light movements. Kids push an imaginary refrigerator. When you say, “Abracadabra” the refrigerator is suddenly on wheels, or the children stomp through the woods like Tyrannosaurus Rex then turn into a ballet dancer.


Movement exploration helps develop both fine and gross motor skills. “Move this Way” is an activity that inspires practice in locomotor skills. Prepare a set of large word cards with one action word on each card like walk, skip, gallop, slide, crawl, roll, tiptoe, hop, jump and stomp. Kids move around the room doing the skill on the card in front of them. When they hear a signal they stop at a different card and when signaled again they do the new skill.

In “Paper Plate Balancing” each child balances a plate on part of the body as they move around the room. When it falls off, they balance it on another part of the body.

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This article can only serve as an introduction to this enormous topic. Sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter on the right sidebar for more in-depth analysis of movement and music activities. It is my hope that after experiencing some of these activities with your children you will be inspired to create your own activities. The possibilities are endless, so have fun.
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Joy said...

I agree Kathy. Movement to music is a great way to express yourself. I remember when my now 24 year old son was little, we went to Disneyland and he really got into dancing to the Big Band they had there. Everyone around came over to watch this little (I think 3) dancing away to Chatanooga Choochoo!

BTW hop over to my blog and see what your next assignment is. I can't wait to see yours and hope you'll comment on mine.
Have fun!

Joy Delgado
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kathy stemke said...

Thanks for visiting Joy.