Children love balloons and they are great for bringing some fun into the dance classroom. In addition to being fun they also introduce a different movement dynamic into your dance classroom. Young children naturally move fast! They love fast music with a strong rhythm and it is often difficult to slow them down.
The movement of balloons, bubbles, soft fabric and feathers are ways to really encourage them to explore movement that is sustained and slow. It teaches them to control their movement and calm their bodies even when excited by the balloons.
The balloon dance activities are great for toddlers and pre-schoolers and may be adapted for older children as well. These dance activities are appropriate for the classroom but are also appropriate for play learning at home.
What you will need: a round balloon that is deflated for each participant (keep these to one side and start with one)
- What is it?
- What colour is it?
- What is it made of?
- Why is it this shape?
- What should I do to make it round?
Blow a balloon up a little and hold the shape.
- Is it round now?
- How did I do that?
- Is it big or small?
- How will it get bigger?
Blow the balloon up a little more and hold the shape.
- Is it bigger?
Repeat this several times then let some air out.
- Is it bigger or smaller?
- How does that happen?
Blow it up to a small shape and give one to each of the children.
- Can they balance it on their hand? On one finger? As you walk? On your stomach? Lying down? How else can you balance it?
- Pass the balloon from one part of your body to another without making a sound. Visit your legs, arms, neck. Move to sitting and include your feet. Lie on your back and roll it on your stomach. Do this to some music. I suggest Trust in Me – The Python Song from the Jungle Book as it is smooth and hypnotic for this movement.
- Sit in a circle or opposite your child and taking one balloon present it to each other as a beautiful gift. As you progress around the circle think of new ways of presenting it that make it even more special. This movement will become more elaborate as it goes on! Do this to some music. I suggest slow classical music for this activity so that the balloons don’t get out of control!
- Have the children throw the balloon high in the air and count how long it takes to get to the ground. Have the children show you how it looked floating to the ground. Was it hard or soft? Have them try to get the balloon to float down for as many counts as possible. Have the children dance their way down to the floor for as many counts as it took for the balloon to get down. Encourage them to find different pathways from the high level movement to the low level.
So what do children gain from this experience?
Children learn about balance and body control. They move in response to music with a specific movement quality and special awareness. They solve movement problems with an awareness of timing and verbal expression. The children also explore shape and relative size. There are also opportunities throughout the activity to use their imagination using focus, attentiveness and music interpretation.
Keep your eye on this website for more dance teaching ideas and a Pre schooler/Toddler Dance Activity eBook …COMING SOON