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Even Preschoolers Need Fitness Activities
Preschool is the perfect time to show children how important it is to get active to stay fit and healthy. One way that will really get them interested is by practicing some simple dances preschool teachers and students can do together. Here is a look at a few different dance moves that are safe and fun to do in the classroom. You will find steps and directions that both teachers and students can do in just about any preschool classroom.
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Preparing the Classroom
The first step is to prepare the classroom. Teachers should move tables, desks, chairs or anything else that poses a risk to being in the way of the preschoolers as they dance, anything that may cause them to trip or fall. If there is a wide open space available to be used in the school that is always a much better environment, but many teachers use their classrooms and simply move things out of the way.
Once teachers have cleared the appropriate amount of space they should look into adding some fun, kid-friendly music. There are many different CDs that have kid-friendly music on them or even CDs that are specific to preschool dance moves. Using music is a great way to get the kids into the dance moves and really turn up the fun.
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Steps and Instructions
Mexican Hat Dance
After the classroom has been prepared teachers should then get the kids ready for their dancing! Doing some simple stretches is a great way to get the kids warmed up. First teachers should have them stretch their arms up to the ceilings and down to their toes. Next, have them rotate around the middle with their arms stretched out. After doing this for a few minutes then students and teachers can move on to the fun moves.
The first dance step is fun and also adds a little cultural lesson into the mix. It is the Mexican Hat Dance song. Here are the steps:
- Have students stand up with their feet pressed together.
- As the music is playing, have the students kick their heels out for a total of three times while in between clapping.
- Once the chorus comes on, students should link arms with their classmates and skip around the room and then switch to circling in the opposite direction
Teachers can find the song "Jarabe Tapatio" that is usually played along with this dance move on several different CDs.
Unnamed Circle Dance
The next dance move is actually very popular around the world and is perfect for helping preschoolers learn about the circular shape as well as following directions and it is a simple circle dance. Here are the instructions:
- The whole classroom should come together to make a circular shape and then hold hands together.
- Once there is a circle, teachers should instruct the students on walking forward to the middle of the room and then walking backward to their original spot and then moving forward again and then backward again doing this several times.
- After moving backward again teachers should then instruct on everyone moving to the side on the left and to the center and then moving back to place and then moving to the right and to the center and then again, back to place.
- Once teachers and students have done this several times they should then let go of each other's hands and move toward the center of the room and sit down on the floor similar to the famous childhood dance "ring around the rosey."
Our next dance move involves an old song that is a favorite among many called "The Hokey Pokey." While generally known as a party game and even popular at weddings, the Hokey Pokey is actually an excellent dance to teach to preschoolers as it demonstrates coordination and gets them stretching out several different areas of the body. While the instructions are pretty clear on the song here is a basic walk-through.
- Have students stand next to each other but not too close so they do not bump into each other; they form a circle.
- As the song is playing instruct them on each different part of the song such as putting their left leg in and then their left leg out, etc.
- When it comes to the part of the song that says "and you shake it all around" encourage students to really shake and get moving.
Students this young may get confused when it comes to their left or right in this song but the important thing is that they are moving and staying active all while having fun!
Source Cited: Susan Kramer.com. Rhythmic Movement for Toddlers, at http://www.susankramer.com/Toddlers.html