We are nearing the end of another successful Music & Movement session! If you are thinking of just starting something similar check out my first post about the logistics of it, as well as helpful tips (aka: bring deodorant).
Music & Movement is an energetic, crazy, and fun program and is honestly my favorite part about my week while we are in session. It is open to kids 5 and under, but I see a lot of 2-4 year olds for the most part. I wear crazy leggings and I get to dance around with a bunch of small children. Perfect. This program can be lead with just one person but I find it invaluable to have another person with me to help change the songs on the iPod and handout props.
As they come in I have parents sign in their child as well as make a quick name-tag. The kids come in and sit on an X. These are just duct tape X’s that I have around the room. I seriously think these X’s are what make M&M so successful: it helps kids stay in their area, it is easy to center their attention after an crazy activity (“Okay, let’s all find our X again!”) and it helps what I like to call “outer room syndrome” where everyone is too scared to sit right up front.
After we have all found our X’s, I begin by talking to the parents:
Music and movement is supposed to be noisy and a little bit crazy! If you have a little one who is shy then feel free to join in yourself! You are your child’s best role model and I can guarantee no one in this room will look sillier than me! If you aren’t comfortable joining in that is completely fine I just ask that you keep outside conversations to a minimum so as not to distract the kids. We hope to learn some new concepts including following directions, rhyme and rhythm, and creative play as well as fine tuning our motor skills and coordination.
After this we all sing our ABC’s! If the group is doing a really awesome job, or we still have some stragglers coming in we may sing it a couple times.
We then go into some simple stretches and coordination/balance exercises– this part usually lasts around 15 or so minutes. I want to make sure they are warmed up before we start dancing and jumping! We also focus a lot on our breathing while doing the stretches. Through the program I am also having the kids do big deep breaths (and sometimes this is just so I can catch my breath)
Toe touches, together and each side
Lay on our bellies and fly
Lift up with our arms
Lay on our backs, leg lift
Stand completely still
Stand on one foot, then the other foot
Keep a Beat:
This is just a couple short exercises to help us practice keeping a beat. (sidenote: I have the worst rhythm ever. But I try)
March in place
March while counting
Clap while counting, forwards and backwards
I begin each program with stretching, coordination and keeping a beat and then we alternate between different dancing songs and props…Here are some things that have worked for me:
I primarily use recorded songs although once in awhile I will just sing or use a song on youtube. Here are some good options you could look for:
Icky Sticky Bubbly Gum by David Landau (album: Kids & Kitties)
Jump Up, Turn Around by Jim Gill (album: Moving Rhymes for Modern Times)
Wiggle It by Koo Koo Kanga Roo (album: Rad-Trospective)
Hip Hop Body Rock by Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael (album: Rockin Red from the Learning Groove)
Walking, Walking by Anne-Marie Akin (album: Songs for Wiggleworms)
Twist and Shout by the Beatles
The Goldfish by Laurie Berkner (album: Victor Vito)
Shake Your Sillies Out by the Wiggles (album: Yummy Yummy)
The Number Dance (Disco) by Mr. Eric (album: The Big Silly with Mr. Eric)
The Hands are for Clapping by Jim Gill (album: Jim Gill Sings the Sneezing Song)
Freeze, The by Greg & Steve (album: Kids in Motion)
we also do a lot of Kidz Bop songs:
Uptown Funk, Shake it Off, Party Rock Anthem, Who Let the Dogs Out
Depending on what props we use I do about 5 recorded songs each session. I don’t do them all necessarily in a row but may alternate with prop activities.
The Ants Go Marching
The Hokey Pokey
Dance Any Way You Want To:
source: Jim Gill Song
Dance any way you want to,
Dance any way you please
Dance any way you want to,
But stop when I say FREEZE
(alternate verses: jump, hop, skip, wiggle, etc)
Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes
If You’re Happy and You Know It
The Wheels on the Bus
Egg shakers. Right after Easter I bought some clearance plastic eggs and made a bunch of egg shakers for the kids to take home. We have some official ones as well but I thought this would be a fun incentive. It also gave parents some ideas on what to do with all of those extra eggs they may have! I usually just put on a song in the background and we shake our shakers fast, slow, on our heads, etc… but Jbrary has some great shaker song ideas on their pinterest page!
The egg shakers I use in M&M don’t have any markings on them and I am unsure where they originally came from but I recently bought some of these and they seem very sturdy and would work well:
Parachute. I always feel SO AWKWARD when I use the parachute but it is always a huge hit so I continue on. We do Ring Around the Rosie and then just simple up, down, fast, slow stuff. There are actual songs you can do but again, I’m awkward so it doesn’t happen.
Regardless, here we are using the parachute this past week:
Wrist Streamers. Awesome! Especially with Shake It Off! We have some store bought ones but it was also super simple to make them with ribbon and elastics for the wrist part.
Scarves. Another favorite of mine. I usually do the same thing I do with the egg shakers instead of using a scarf specific song but again Jbrary has some choices if you want to do a specific song!
You Do You
I’ve done Music & Movement for two 6 week sessions now and am obviously still learning about failure/successes every week. If you are already well versed in doing storytime’s then you know it is important to gauge your group. If you have a younger group than scrap the more complicated songs. If they are especially crazy one week but seem to be really receptive to one song then don’t hesitate to repeat that one again (seriously, we do Jump Up, Turn Around at least twice each week).
For this type of program I think it is also important to be having fun yourself. In such a high energy program the kids will feed off of you. Do what you enjoy doing. If you aren’t comfortable jumping around a bunch then don’t do it. If you feel awkward doing the parachute then it’s okay to not use it. Honestly, I am still learning how to use props really well so I think the strongest parts of my program is dancing and stretching. But you might be a pro at using props and do way more than I do. That’s great. You do you.
**we also made some pretty cool tshirts with the graphics used in our marketing (all from openclipart.org I believe) and iron on paper!**