Creative Dance Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Creative dance helps develop language, math and science skills through exploring sizes, shapes, colours, and words.

Dance is activity that explores patterns and sequences both recognising them and practicing remembering them. Counting and manipulating shapes are the basis for dance and movement.

There are many dance activities that you can do that use number, pattern and other Mathematics concepts.   Have a look at the Free Dance Lesson on coding for Toddlers and Preschoolers.

How to Create a Dance Treasure Hunt

Creative Dance Activities for Toddlers and PreschoolersThese patterns and sequences are also applicable to literacy.  Through reading stories and drawing pictures, children’s imaginations are stimulated to create movement that makes meaning.

They then tell stories through their bodies and strengthen emerging language skills while preparing for independent reading.

Toddlers and Preschoolers thrive on experimenting and finding out for themselves.  And going on a treasure hunt is a great way to encourage curiosity and problem solving.


As teachers and parents, our job is not to always ‘teach’ but to provide opportunities for children to learn from doing.

What skills will this dance activity develop in your toddler or preschooler?

Cognitive and development skills are developed through sensory play and physical activity helps to promote reasoning skills.  The structure of creative dance activities become more complex overtime as your children develop, improving their attention span and sharpening memory.

Language and Literacy skills are honed through engaging in conversations, asking questions and following directions, as children begin to use more complex vocabulary.  Telling stories and explaining their creative ideas builds a solid foundation for communication and collaborative abilities.

Children require a range of stimulating activities at this age to support auditory and physical skills and to build the neural pathways for essential brain development.  Singing songs that use new language and reading a variety of stimulating books to accompany creative dance activities will promote a language-rich learning environment.

 The Dancing Treasure Hunt

The Treasure Hunt theme is a popular one for this age group.  The children feel like they are solving a mystery and coming up with solutions to the problem of uncovering something.  You can really develop children’s understanding of the natural world by presenting them with new things to discover.

These activities can be done indoors or outside and you are only limited by your imagination as to what you are asking the children to uncover.  Try to base the treasure hunt around what you would like them to learn.  Is it about the natural world or about colours or numbers?

These different creative dance activities that are based on the treasure hunt theme and are fun for the teachers and the children.

Nature Adventure Treasure Hunt

You need to explain that when you are going on a treasure hunt in nature you have to look with your eyes, listen with your ears, smell with your nose and touch with your fingers to find the treasure.

Place various objects around the room for the children to find that will match the clues you are going to give.  Here are some examples of what they could identify or find.

  • Hear a clock ticking and clap in time with it.
  • Find something the same colour as your top.
  • Find something that smells like lemons. Try placing lemon candles (unlit), lemon dishwashing liquid, lemon scented playdough as well as actual lemons throughout the room.
  • Find something that is fluffy.

Now move the activity outside.

Take a sheet of paper with the objects listed so everyone can tick them off as they find them.  Make sure they engage with all five senses to find the objects.

Each time they find something listed they must move like that object.  As they move use language that describes how they are moving or the shapes they are making.

For example, when they find a feather you might say, “Float lightly from up high as you are blown by the wind and gradually settle on the ground”.  This teacher dialogue builds descriptive language and helps to encourage children’s physical control and balance.

What will you be looking for?

Here is a list of objects you might be looking for that will promote a range of dynamics and shapes within the movements.

  • A footprint
  • A spider’s web
  • A jagged rock
  • A seedling
  • A bird
  • A feather

Pirate Adventure Dancing Treasure Hunt

Creative Dance Activities for Toddlers and PreschoolersIn this version of the dancing treasure hunt, the children role play as pirates.  They can dress up and describe what their ship might look like.

A good book to read that supports this activity is We’re Going on a Treasure Hunt by Kelly DiPucchio and Jay Fleck.  In this story there are many obstacles that try to stop the pirates form getting to the treasure.

Whales, skeletons and thunderstorms all have great movement and sound potential for this activity.

While you are dancing and looking for the treasure the” If You’re a Pirate and You Know It” song, to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, is fun to sing.  Start with the accompanying actions to the song and extend to whatever your story will be about.

If You’re a Pirate and You Know It
If you’re a pirate and you know it, swab the deck (swish, swish arms to the right and the left)
If you’re a pirate and you know it, swab the deck (swish, swish arms to the right and the left)
If you’re a pirate and you know it, then you’ll hear the sea winds blowin’.
If you’re a pirate and you know it, swab the deck (swish, swish arms to the right and the left)

If you’re a pirate and you know it, walk the plank (stomp, stomp)

If you’re a pirate and you know it, look for treasures (look through spyglass)

If you’re a pirate and you know it, say ahoy Ahoy! (throw your arms in the air)

You can base your story on the book your have read, The Pirate Song or make up your own.  The movement focus is to keep using a range of locomotor and non-locomotor movements to look for the treasure.

Creative Dance ActivitiesPlay some Pirate music and tell the story as the children move around the room.

  • Try diving up and down with your body as you go through big seas or rocking backward and forwards as the ship rocks and rolls.
  • Digging in soft sand or hard rock to find the treasure chest.
  • Heavy dragging movements as you haul the treasure chest back to the ship.
  • A celebration dance when you have found the treasure.

Dance activities for almost anywhere

These creative dance activities are appropriate for the home or school and are easily adapted to a single child or many children.

Children will enjoy the creativity of dance, drama and music in these activities and will learn more about simple storytelling while developing language.

For teachers, these kinds of activities are good for observing children development over time and is a great activity for observation sheets for reporting.

For more creative dance ideas to use in your home or classroom look at the ready made lesson plans and teaching resources available on Dance Teaching Ideas.

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