Painting with toddlers and preschoolers is really, really hard, even in the good times, but they love nothing more than seeing how the streak of a brush changes a piece of paper. This is a pretty simple way to bring paint into your artful home.
Transition activities are key to a successful dance class or early childhood program. Not only will they help you move from one activity to another seamlessly, transition activities can be your most powerful classroom management tool as they keep the momentum of the class moving forward and ensure that young children remain focused and engaged. Remember, idle time opens the door for distractions and off task behaviors.
Clean up time can be very difficult for some young children. They may not want to give up the prop or toy they have been exploring which can cause distress. By establishing a positive routine, clean up time becomes a fun activity within itself.
During clean up time try to sing the song below until all props/toys have been put away. Some children can be very enthusiastic and want to clean up all the props leaving others without any which can lead to hurt feelings. Be sure to indicate how many of each item you want each child to clean up before singing the song. For example, “Can all my dancing friends pick up one hula-hoop from our obstacle course? That way we all get a turn!” By giving the tots and kids control over the situation you are empowering them.
Size is a favorite concept in our Intellidance Tots and Kids classes. I use various images to explore big and small movements with young dancers but one favorite dance game I come back to frequently is the Land of Giants and Elves. Using Eric Chappelle's song A Tale of Two Villages from Contrast and Contiuum: Music for Creative Dance Vol 1 (available on iTunes) I lead students through magical land where Giants and Elves dance together. When the soft, twinkley music plays we explore the small movement of elves. When the louder, heavy music plays we explore the big movement of giants. I provide cueing throughout to encourage the young dancer to try a variety of movements.
This simple activity is a fun addition to early childhood creative dance or ballet classes. Teachers could easily be integrated into preschool and kindergarten classrooms. Parents could do this dance game at home as another way to stay active inside during the long winter months.
Here is a video of me teaching this activity to an Intellidance Tots class at a Intellidance Instructor Certification.