Children will match body part names with actions to create imaginative dances.
Follow simple two-step instructions.
Materials and Preparation
- We provide: ‘Body parts die’ (optional). Click HERE to download.
- You find: Music with a clear beat; Device to play music
- Print, cut out, and assemble the ‘body parts die’ if you would like to use it for the activity (alternatively, you can just call out the body part names).
- Select a piece of music children can dance to easily.
- Locate a device that allows you to easily start and stop the music.
- Find a large open space.
What will we learn?
“Today we are going to think of some dance moves using different body parts. Then we’ll combine two dance moves for each dance.”
What do we know?
“Let’s think of different ways we can move our bodies! How can we move our _____ (hands, feet, legs, arms, head)?” Examples: Hands – clap, wave, rotate; Feet – stomp, tip-toe, walk on heels; Legs – hop, jump; Arms – make big circles, wave in the air; Head – nod, shake.
Watch me first!
- “Let’s play a dance game! First, watch carefully as I do two movements in order.”
- If using the ‘body parts die’, roll it twice to determine the body parts and then choose two actions that correspond. For example: “First, I will ‘nod my head’ and then I will ‘wave my hands’.” NOTE: If you roll ‘free choice’, you get to choose the body part!
- Turn the music on and model the dance: nod, wave, nod, wave, nod, wave.
Let's try it!
- “Now it’s your turn to dance! Listen carefully as I tell you two movements to follow.” Roll the die, or choose two movements for the children to follow (e.g., “‘stomp your foot’ and then ‘make arm circles’”). Turn the music on for up to ten seconds as the children perform the two directions.
- Eventually, only roll or say two body parts (e.g., "head and then legs") and the children can choose which actions they would like to do with those body parts (e.g., shake head, hop on one foot). Have fun with this so all children enjoy it, even if they are not able to coordinate the actions easily or they make mistakes.
What did we learn?
- “What dance moves did you like doing the best?”
- “Which two movements made the best dance?”
- “What dance moves did you see your friends do that you would like to try?”
- “Did you find any of the dance moves or instructions difficult?” Talk about how it is sometimes difficult to combine movements. “Some of us might find it easy. Others might find it really difficult. The most important thing is to try and to have fun.”
To make this activity MORE challenging:
- Ask the children to perform the two movements at the same time (e.g., “nod and wave” instead of “nod and then wave”).
- Ask the children to follow three- or even four-step instructions (e.g., “wave, then tip-toe, then nod”).
- Add more body parts and actions (e.g., knee: bend) and/or new actions for hands, feet, legs, arms, and head (e.g., head: rotate in circular motion).
To make this activity LESS challenging:
- Show the provided ‘body parts cards’ for children who need to see larger images of the body parts.
- Use the provided ‘visual cues’ for the actions (e.g., clapping hands, jumping) rather than calling them out or showing the ‘body parts cards’. Alternatively, you can model the movements.
- Gradually fade the ‘visual cues’, so the children begin to follow the oral instruction(s) alone.
- Some children may need to practice a single movement many times. Spend time doing only one movement (i.e., a one-step instruction) until it is automatic (e.g., “nod, nod, nod, nod, nod”).