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Dancing With Young Children


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Progressive Gymnastics - Dance Classes For Young Children

Recommendations for Dancing With Young Children


Dancing teaches children rhythm, timing, and coordination. It helps them learn about different parts of the body (e.g., legs, arms, hands), develop a sense of direction, follow instructions, and begin to develop cultural appreciation. Dancing also helps children learn about how their bodies work, and increases their dance and movement vocabulary.


As a childcare provider, you are an important role model. If you dance with children and show enthusiasm and enjoyment for dance, children will happily follow your example. To help young children begin to develop a range of dancing skills, include these elements:


• Non-locomotor movements—bending, twisting, and swinging limbs

• Locomotor movements—walking, hopping, jumping, marching, and leaping

• Musical accompaniment that features rhythm and a strong beat

• Activities that encourage children to move and follow straight and curved pathways and that promote balance

• Movements that increase in complexity as children demonstrate mastery

• Encouragement for children to develop their own dance movements and to dance independently


Enhancing Dance Activities


To add fun and creativity to dancing activities, integrate different types of music, ranging from classical to country to hip-hop. A variety of musical styles and beats will enrich your dancing sessions. Remember, you want to include music; avoid recordings with inappropriate words or lyrics.


Props also can make dancing more fun; include mini-flashlights, crepe paper, pinwheels, scarves, pom-poms, streamers, and costumes. Or, take dancing outdoors for a different experience, and draw inspiration from nature, such as a flower or snowflake dance.


Dancing activities can be easily adapted to different seasons or holidays. The hokey-pokey can become the bunny pokey, the scarecrow pokey, or the snowman pokey. Depending on the developmental levels of the children, you may plan individual dancing activities, group or partner dances, or a combination.


Dancing is a physical activity that all children can benefit from and enjoy. Look for ways you can bring dancing into the lives of children!


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