MUSIC AND MOVEMENT
Music and dancing are inside each child. All caregivers do is let them
out. That is good news for those of us who are not gifted in these areas.
It tells us that all we need to do is encourage, not "teach"
music and movement. Here are some ideas that may help you "let the
Sing as you work. Any and all songs are acceptable. Sing songs you
know or make up new ones. The easiest way to make up a new song is to sing
new words to familiar tunes. For example, to the tune of "Here We Go
Round the Mulberry Bush," you may sing:
This is the way we set the table, set the
table, set the table; This is the way we set the table, so we can all
Or you might sing the following to the tune
of "Farmer in the Dell":
Mary picks up toys, Mary picks up toys;
Heigh ho the derry oh, Mary picks up toys.
Mary gets some help...
John piles the blocks...
Add children's names or use different actions as you go along.
You can also sing along with records or
tapes. Children's artists (Raffi, Pete Seeger, Hap Palmer, Mr. Rogers, and
your own favorites) have recorded many songs that are especially appealing
to children. Many libraries have children's tapes and records. You may
also want to buy one or two. Or ask children to bring favorites from home.
Children often know popular songs on the radio. Encourage them to sing
along when they come on. Singing songs together also can be fun. If you
play an instrument, encourage children to sing along as you play.
Respond to music.
Play music that creates a mood (for example, a lullaby, a march, slow
and dreamy music, or Latin rhythms) or music that features one instrument
(such as the violin, trumpet, organ, or drums). Let children respond by
painting, finger painting, using markers or crayons, or shaping play
dough. Encourage participation by making comments such as, "Why don't
you paint how the music makes you feel?" or "That fast music
helped you make so many little lines." Commenting on the child's
activity ("You are moving slowly now") rather than praising the
art ("That's a pretty picture") is more likely to encourage
creativity in their responses.
Movement describes what young children do.
They are rarely still. As you plan movement activities for your children,
consider activity records such as those by Hap Palmer. Or try exercising.
It's fun and helps everyone stay flexible and feel fit! Think of ways to
let children create their own dance movements - to let the dancing out of
Hear and feel rhythms by clapping.
Try clapping together as a group. Start with one steady beat:
CLAP, CLAP, CLAP.
Then try two with the first beat accented:
And three: CLAP-CLAP-CLAP, CLAP-CLAP, CLAP.
And four: CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP, CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP.
After the children understand how to clap along, encourage them to move
their hands or dance around the room in response to the rhythm. You can
clap slow or fast. The beat may be even or uneven.
Creat a rythym band.
Try using body noises to create rhythms. Try claps (hand to hand, hand
to thigh, hand to head, hand to floor, or hand to table), stamping feet,
clicking tongues, or snapping fingers. Make rhythm instruments for the
children to use. Tap spoons on a wooden block or knock wooden blocks
together. Let children bang two pot lids together like cymbals. For
four-year-olds and over, staple or tape paper plates together with dried
beans in the middle, or use egg-shaped, plastic pantyhose containers taped
or glued together with pebbles or dried beans inside them. Be sure the
containers are securely fastened, and supervise their use. If the beans
escape, they may be discovered by younger children who may put them in
their mouths, ears, or noses.
Encourage moving to music.
Play a wide variety of music. Try marches, waltzes, Latin dances, current
hits, and classical tunes. The greater the variety, the better. Have
scarves or dress-ups that will encourage movement. You may want to join in
to get the activity started. But be careful about demonstrating too much.
The goal is for children to create their own movements.
Take advantage of young children's love for music and movement. The
activities will help them work off excess energy, develop a love of music,
and become more creative!
Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care - NNCC.
Morse, N.. (1995). Music and movement activities. In Todd, C.M. (Ed.), *Child
care connections*, 2(1), Urbana-Champaign, IL: University of Illinois
Cooperative Extension Service.