Please check out this week’s giveaway for Green Golly and Her Golden Flute.
I’ve asked readers several different questions that have been answered in the same way. I found it pretty interesting that a favorite rainy day activity, a favorite pre-dinner activity, and a favorite boredom-buster activity is cranking up the music and dancing!
Dance for little ones, basically, is moving to music.
Just about every young child I have watched listen to music instinctively moves to the beat. Moving to music seems to come naturally to little ones. But somewhere along the growing up path, dance becomes an anxiety-inducing word. Somewhere most of us develop a complex about how well we can move to a rhythm.
Over the last year I’ve posted about various ways to encourage dance through different movements. We’ve used rhythm ribbons. We’ve chosen songs with lyrics that guide movement and dance. I even put together the ebook Laptime Songs for Mommies to help you share music and action with your little ones.
You’d think maybe I’d be done with this topic, but I’m not! Last year I attended a training for laptime and storytime tellers at the Orem Library. One of the presenters focused on helping young children develop confidence in dancing. She gave me a new perspective on dance as well as some great tools for helping little ones move to music.
It’s not Dance; It’s Movement!
Her first piece of advice was to never call it “dance” because it affects children so immediately and often turns them off. She was talking specifically about elementary school age boys, so decided if that’s good advice for you and your little ones. Second she talked about focusing on movement. She guided children to move all the parts of their bodies and to move them through three sections of space around the body: high, middle, and low.
While the music was playing she gave suggestions of how children could move, e.g., sway arms high above your head. Then prepared them to make a choice when she said freeze. She’d give a rule like one arm and one leg need to be in the middle. Then when she said freeze the children would choose a pose that followed the rule. After hearing her presentation I was able to watch her program in action. It was fun to see how engaged the children were in trying to move their bodies following the rules and suggestions she gave.
Helping little ones have a positive experience with dance is another way to help them appreciate the performing arts. I love watching Sammi and Elli and envisioning them as ballerinas or contemporary dancers or ballroom professionals. At this young age the possibilities are endless and they have so much joy feeling the music and moving in response to it.