There is no limit to the variety of creative dance and movement activities you can do with you toddler. By the time your child is between 2 and 3 years old they will be able to explore a range of physical movement that requires them to balance, bend, stretch, jump and generally move through space.
At this age they are interested in the natural world and many things that are going on around them in everyday life. They will have their favourite books and children’s programs, songs and YouTube videos.
All this provides stimulus more play and learning through dance education.
Themed early childhood dances
These are some favourite activities that will appeal to this age group that involve short, loosely structured activities to entice your children to explore a range of movement, vocabulary and ideas.
These activities work with both boys and girls and are fun for the parents and teachers as well as the children!
The books by Ant Parker and Tony Mitton are great for these dance activities and provide a starting point for talking about all kinds of things with your pre-schooler/toddler. This dance activity is based on the first few pages of Roaring Rockets.
- Read the opening few pages up until the Blast Off page.
- Then make as low level shape as you can, making a pointy rocket shape with your arms. Encourage them to really reach their arms up over their heads.
- Counting down backwards from ‘5’. Try to make it sound exciting to build the anticipation and have your child count with you.
- On ‘Blast Off” shoot up into the air with a jump and then run in curved paths through the house, garden or classroom. Make sure you are making the wonderful sound effects from the book…’Whooosh’.
- Look at the page where the astronauts are floating in the cabin. This is an opportunity for you to talk about floating in slow motion. Start sitting on a chair or lounge chair and unbuckle your seat belt (‘Click’), then float in slow motion around the room. Don’t forget to return to your seat and buckle yourself back in! (‘Click’)
- Start by reading Flashing Fire Engines up to where the bell rings and they slide down the pole.
- Reaching up high slide down to a low level crouch. To encourage language development in younger children have them say ‘high’ and ‘low’.
- Driving actions through the house, garden or classroom. Make obstacles that they need to get around. Don’t forget to make the ‘wee-ooo’ sound effect!
- Climbing the ladder movements and turning the body as they hold the hose. ‘Whoosh’!
Join all these movements together and perform to this great music.
You can use the book Dazzling Diggers by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker for this activity but also the YouTube song about trucks is great!
In this activity the children are really improvising movement around the way the excavator bucket swings. Encourage them to twist through the waist, keeping their feet solidly on the ground.
You’ll also notice that the music for the chorus sounds quite heavy and machine-like. This gives the children the chance to improvise heavy, percussive movements that build strength through their muscles and provide contrast to the running, jumping and crouching used in the other activities.
In all these activities it is important to move and make sound effects with the children. It provides an example of the range of movements we can do, gives permission for the children to explore freely and shows that dance and movement is valued by adults.
It’s a great way to have fun and exercise with your child!