Simple creative movement ideas for Toddler Dance at home

fun dance ideasDancing with your child at home is fun!  You can do it inside or outside, in small or large spaces.  Dance helps your child develop meaning-making and expression and provides healthy and active ways of enhancing a toddler’s ability to follow direction. 

Here are some dance activity ideas that can be done at home or in a kindergarten classroom.

Setting up the dance space

If you are using a small space, ensure that you clear the room of any objects that may be dangerous.  The less there is to distract your toddler the more success you’ll have.  Put toys away and turn off the television.

If you are using a large outdoor space, you will need something to designate the space and where you want them to move.  A smaller space is often easier to negotiate with a toddler. Empty pots from plants turned upside are useful for this.  Have your toddler paint the pots in bright colours so they are included in this preparation process.

Using music is not essential but all toddlers like to improvise dance particularly if an adult is dancing as well.  So, get your dancing shoes on and model having a fun time being active. 

If you are going to use music for a dance, make sure you don’t have to spend time looking for the right piece while you are doing the activity. 

Children of this age will not wait…patience is not in their vocabulary!  Have your music cued and ready to go.

You might like to use music that they respond to in the car or try something different that inspires specific movement.  Try to think about contrasting rhythms, tempos and moods. 

Slow movement requires children to balance and control themselves.  Fast movement is about agility and energy.  Variety is essential to developing the toddlers gross motor movements.

Follow me dance activities

This type of creative dance activity helps children to learn how to follow directions while teaching them balance and coordination.

  • Pretend you’re are a train stopping at stations.  Start by being the lead train and have your toddlers ‘hook on’ holding you around the hips. 

Hint for parents/teachers

Don’t forget to use sound effects and put big hills in your journey that makes you struggle a bit.  Keep your dialogue going so you are telling a descriptive story of the train journey.  

  • Then swap places so that your toddler leads the way.  Mapping out the pathway with a length of string or unturned pots can help to encourage a range of shapes.  As you progress introduce a wider range of movements from arms doing circular movements and pulling a whistle to stamping in a rhythm that sounds like a train.

best toddler dance activities

  • Taking a journey using a range of action words.  Try march, roll, stamp, hop, slide, twirl or tiptoe.  You can set up obstacles in the space that are a part of a story.  Try using the wonderful books We’re going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury  or We’re going on a Croc Hunt by Laine Mitchell and Louis Shea


  • Use “On your marks get set go…” as a beginning for any kind of movement.  Try jump, clap, run or hop.  This can be developed into an Animal Action game that you can support with pictures.  For example, “On your mark get set… stand on one leg like a sleeping flamingo” or “On your marks get set… galop like a horse” or “On your marks get set…scuttle like a water dragon”.


  • The Body Game is lots of fun that is a bit more complex for a slightly older child.  Say the name of the body part you are moving, and the child does the movement and says how you are moving it.  For example, “Moving your hands in circles”, “Nodding your head”.

Hint for parents/teachers

Avoid being too prescriptive about what words they use to describe.  You are trying to get them to extend their use of adjectives as a part of everyday speech so clichés are not useful.

  • The Melting Dance, where the dancer must keep melting until the very end of the music, encourages them to really listen to the music and control their body.  Try several pieces of music from very slow to quite short and fast. 

Hint for parents/teachers

This then becomes a part of the game and they are really listening for what movement dynamic they need to use.  Avoid making the music go for too long as they will lose interest.  Try to have some cooking experiences in the kitchen that show how quickly and how so slowly different solids melt prior to the dance activity.  Talk about what solid they were and what was the heat source after they have played the game.

These are just a few ideas; however, your home can be a great stimulus for dance activities.  Keep your eye open for chances to introduce dance into everyday activities. 

 More dance teaching ideas…Toddler Dance Activity eBook COMING SOON