In the fourth instalment in our series of blogs focusing on early years dance, I wanted to share some of the activities we have been doing with young children. My colleague Tahnee Lawson delivers dance sessions in nurseries, to parent and toddler groups and foundation stage classes in primary schools. Here, she shares some of her favourite activities for early years children…
Hello, my name is Tahnee and I work with Jumpstart Dance. I’ve written down some of my ideas for creating movement for 3 different topics.
- The Cat in the Hat – books are great for providing a stimulus and themes for a dance session. When creating The Cat in the Hat lesson, I picked some of the main pieces of the book to create movement from:
- Balancing – The Cat in the Hat loves to balance objects – Use lots of different objects such as sponges, beanbags and balls and ask the children to try and balance as many as they can; this can then progress to moving around the room while balancing the objects.
- Making a mess – Ask the children to sit in a circle and hold a large piece of Lycra; fill the Lycra with the balancing objects from earlier in the lesson. The children then have to move the Lycra without letting any of the mess fall out; you can also count to three and let the children throw all the mess into the air! (Make sure you remove any heavy objects first though. Sponges, balls and pieces of insulation pipe are best for this part!)
2. Autumn – Using the seasons as a stimulus can provide lots of ideas for a dance lesson; I usually make a mind map of things that are associated with the season and then pick a few that I can make movement from.
- Conkers and Leaves – Take two boxes and fill one with dead leaves and one with conkers. Pass the leaves around in a circle and ask the children what they think is in the box without looking. Open the box and show the children; ask them what properties the leaves have. Discuss how they move and blow the leaves around then ask the children to travel across the room like the leaves. Try and incorporate movement such as spinning and floating and encourage children to be light on their feet. Repeat with the box of conkers and ask the children to try different types of rolling across the floor using a round shape with their bodies.
- Spongey, Shiny, Floaty – Children love to explore textures and this lesson uses different objects to provide movement.
- Spongey – Children can s-c-r-u-n-c-h and pop the sponges, they can then mimic this with different parts of their body. Sponges are also great for walking on and travelling with; they can be built up and knocked over, and also thrown in the air.
- Shiny – Emergency blankets are magical to unfold as they are very small to begin with but then become BIG; children can again mimic this with their bodies. Emergency blankets make a great noise when they are travelled across; younger children in particular will enjoy scrunching the blanket or running underneath them.
- Floaty – Emergency blankets can be ripped into tiny pieces and blown around the room using paper plates. Bubbles and feathers are also great floaty props.
We’d love to hear from you – what do your early years children like to do in their dance class? If you try out any of Tahnee’s activities, please let us know how you get on as we love hearing about what your children enjoy doing!