January 28, 2012

Music and Movement Games for Kids


We love to rock out. Some days when one (or more) of us is in a mood all I have to do is turn on some upbeat music, and suddenly the three of us are bopping, twirling, clapping and singing.  Music moves the soul, and it can be therapeutic.  We like to stay active even when the weather doesn't permit outdoor play.  Music games provide a great tool for building gross motor skills, and they are so much fun!


Another fun thing we do involving music is pull out some mats and play games to the music. I printed these color mats from Confessions of a Homeschooler. You can use anything as markers. Dish towels, stickers, pillows, solid paper, place mats, or anything else that is flat that you can stand on would do the trick. We use the mats mainly because I printed them and laminated them and haven't used them for anything else. Now anytime we start marching around JZ (4) insists that we go get our color mats.


The pictures aren't the best, because it's hard to take great shots while actively participating. 


There are many variations of this. The first is freeze dance. We march, walk, dance, hop, etc. around in a circle on the mats and freeze when the music stops. 


J-Bug (2) loves telling me what to do. "Mom, you need to go. Mom, you need to freeze. Mom, stand like this." LOL


The boys call out what they landed on when they freeze. "I'm on the green frog!"


Recently JZ took over this game. He likes to control the remote and press pause and play.


More suggestions for movement games with music:

While walking in a circle on our mats I call out (and demonstrate!) how to move:
  • walking
  • hopping
  • marching
  • jumping on one foot
  • switch feet
  • skipping (to teach a young child say "step-hop, step-hop")
  • twirling
  • side stepping
  • switch sides
  • crawling
  • crab walking
  • walking on tip toes
  • tiny steps
  • long strides
  • lunges
  • step-touch the ground, step-touch the ground
  • step clap, step clap
  • gallop
  • backwards walking
Any kind of movement you can think of. Be creative. We go around a few times before calling out a new movement. In our house the best place is around the couch and pack and play that are pushed together in the family room. You don't need a giant space for this. We make a path around the furniture and get on our feet! This is the perfect way to burn energy inside when the weather isn't ideal for outdoor play.

Another spin on this activity is to walk and call out hand motions:
  • clapping
  • reaching to the sky
  • reaching for your toes
  • spinning your outstretched arms
  • bicep curls
  • reach one arm, then the other
  • hands on your hips
  • hands on your shoulders
  • punching in front of you
  • hands on your knees then criss cross them

The possibilities go on and on. We do this for several songs until we are about to drop. It's a surprisingly good low impact workout, and best of all it's FUN. The more you get into it the more your kids will love it. When we "March!" I say it in a deep, booming voice. When we walk backwards I tell the boys to "Move like Mater!" (Tow Mater from Cars who is known for his backwards driving.)

Take turns calling out instructions. JZ has a tendency to take over games. I let him for a bit, but I also make sure J-Bug gets a turn. I also make sure he follows instructions when someone else gives them, so he learns he isn't always the boss. (He comes by it naturally. I did the same thing when I was a kid.)

For more ideas for getting kids moving visit my Motor Development board on Pinterest. 

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Other indoor movement games:
What are some fun ways you get up and move with your kids?

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