In our toddler and preschool classrooms we make sure to balance quiet and active times. Young children’s attention spans are shorter and their bodies just want to move. In addition to recess, we make sure to provide music and movement activities for our preschoolers. As I’ve shared in my preschool schedule post, our designated music and movement time is after snack. However, we’ve also used instruments in the gym during indoor recess and at other times in the day when we could see that the children just wanted to move.
The good thing about music and movement activities? You don’t need to be able to play an instrument or have a stunning voice. It can be as easy as popping in a CD and dancing! But there are some other fun and easy ideas, too, and that is what I am sharing today.
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Music and Movement Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Here are 10+ ideas that can work well during circle time or any time there is that extra level of energy that needs to be burned.
Play movement games using a parachute. We love our parachute to practice different movement activities while also learning new songs.
Dance with ribbon rings. Buggy and Buddy have a simple tutorial on how to make your own with ribbon and rings.
Play a harmonica. Your preschoolers can make their own! Housing a Forest created easy harmonicas using craft sticks and rubber bands.
Move egg shakers. This DIY version from Mama Smiles uses clear plastic eggs and colored sand for visual fun.
Wear bells while you dance. Play Learn Love found a fun way to tie bells on your choice of body part to stimulate the sense of sound.
Strengthen speech and language development. In the Playroom gives a variety of ways to make music shakers along with activities that build verbal skills.
Work on jumping skills. The Inspired Treehouse has created a movement game for kids called Jumping Animals.
Get up and move! Growing a Jeweled rose shares a fun homemade action game that works on action and direction.
Move like ocean animals. Toddler Approved created printables for you to download and use in this fun movement game.
Have fun doing the plate dance. Childhood 101 uses two paper plates as cymbal-like percussion instruments. This dance reinforces fast, slow, softly, loudly, behind our backs, under our legs, above our heads, and you can also rub them together to produce a totally different sound.
Watch your balance doing the tissue dance. True Aim shows how all you need is a piece of tissue to teach posture, body control, balance, and concentration.
Focus on following directions to music. This fun song by Nancy Kopman gets the body walking, bouncing, swaying, turning … to a fun beat!
Slowly move to classical music. Let’s Play Music shares how a different approach is needed when using softer, gentle music. This type of music is perfect for silk scarves, streamers and ribbons.
Have a collection of music on hand. We love action songs for those get up and move moments. Having a collection makes it easy to stop and move any time!
If you have younger children, check out our collection of songs for 2 year olds.
More ideas for young children: