Christmas dance activities that actually teach something!

dancing in primary classroomsThis time of year, everyone is winding down or revving up for Christmas.  But why should the learning stop?  The primary classroom can still be a fun place to engage in rewarding learning experiences.  Dance activities are a fantastic way to enthuse tired students and teachers alike.  Here is one primary dance education lesson plan idea that covers feelings and looks at the use of the dance elements in creating choreography.

Using the dance elements as scaffolding for the choreographic activity ensures an inventive and creative approach to making dance.  When asking students to create choreography, provide support through new dance learning and engaging stimulus.  This encourages them to move like themselves rather than failing at trying to move like someone else.

Personal growth happens through students’ view of themselves as unique and individual.

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer Dance Activity

  • Use the Jack Johnson version of Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer which has an extra verse that deals with Rudolph’s feelings and how he responds to being excluded. Here is Jack singing his version of the song. 
  • It’s a good idea to involve some movement exploration as a part of the warmup to prepare them for the choreographic task.  Try using some of the emotions that will be occurring in the story and how they might interpret them – experiment with both locomotor and non-locomotor movement and have them decide which showed the emotion best.
  • You might like to create a Word Wall to support students during their choreography.  Who are the main characters in the song?  How are each of them feeling in your verse?  How will you show this?  What dance element will you select?  For more ideas on using a Word Wall to teach dance in primary school have a look at this page. 
  • Divide the class into three groups and with each group taking a verse to interpret.  This follows the before, during and after scenario.  Each group is given a different Element of Dance to focus on; Space, Time, Dynamics or Relationship.

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
australian curriculum dance
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glows
All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games

Then one foggy Christmas eve
Santa came to say:
“Rudolph with your nose so bright
Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight? “
Then how the reindeer loved him
As they shouted out with glee (yippee)
“Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
You’ll go down in history. “

Well Rudolph he didn’t go for that
He said “I see through your silly games”
How could you look me in the face
When only yesterday you called me names?
Well, all of the other reindeers man,
Well they sure did feel ashamed,
“Rudolph you know we’re sorry,
We’re truly going to try to change”

Before they perform have them do a responding reflection explaining how they used the element to show the meaning and emotion of their verse.

I hope you have as much fun with this dance lesson plan as I do with my young dancers!  For more ideas see the  page on Warmup ideas for the Primary classroom. Also there are many dance education activities you can do without moving desks that are great for this time of year.  Take a look at this page for something to get you moving. 

Merry Christmas to all the teachers and I hope you visit us again for more exciting new dance lesson plans and resources next year.  There are some amazing resources coming your way that will save you time when planning your primary dance curriculum lesson!

More dance activities, teaching ideas and eBooks coming soon on

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