Rhythm, movement and dance games inspire children’s creativity, build stamina and improve agility. Dance games typically have the capacity to involve small to large groups of children of varied ages and abilities. Before planning children’s dance activities, put together an excellent play list of classic dance tunes or preschool movement songs that will get children moving.
Most dance games feature a silly element. For example, in the Hat Game, the leader has a hat. As everyone dances, the leader puts the hat on one person’s head, freezing that person. The leader takes the dancer’s place on the dance floor, while the new leader must find another dancer to wear the hat. Some dance games, like the Hokey Pokey and the Farmer in the Dell, also feature singing.
Most dance games have no real beginning or end, just ongoing dancing until exhaustion hits. For example, in Freeze Dance, everyone dances until the music stops, and then they must freeze. A leader scans the floor, looking for someone unable to hold the frozen position. Whoever breaks from the frozen position assumes the role of leader for the next round. Dance contests, however, often have clear endings, and winners are given prizes. You might award a variety of prizes, such as silliest dance, most energetic dance, most creative dance and happiest dance.
Many games only require music to have a more danceable element. Children can dance as they play musical chairs or Hot Potato. Games like Mother May I and Hot Lava, in which players jump from base to base without touching the floor, are more interesting with dance added.
Children do not need to know actual dance steps to dance, though it’s fun to teach a quick Electric Slide or robot move to children. Show them how to turn miming daily activities or objects into dances, such as pushing a shopping cart, pretending to be a lawn sprinkler, catching soap bubbles or pulling weeds.
Energetic preschool and primary school children may play dance games for 20 or 30 minutes, though you will need to change the games to keep them interested. Try a quick movement game, such as Head Shoulders Knees and Toes to get them started, and then teach them how to hand jive. Then they can try longer dance games like Dance Dance Revolution or doing the limbo.
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