27 Music And Movement Activities For Preschoolers | Kidadl


27 Music And Movement Activities For Preschoolers

Music and movement activities for toddlers and preschoolers are not only great fun, but they help them to develop so many essential skills.

These ideas for music and movement activities will help their physical development, their creative and listening skills, they are vital for learning language and communication and are instrumental in social and emotional development as well. These activities can help them work off energy and it can encourage quiet children to come of their shell.

These fun music activities can be combined with some fun crafts, such as making a drum or some other simple musical instrument making.

Body part dancing 

Pop on some music and then tell your preschoolers they can only dance with the body part you shout out. So they might jiggle their right arm or wiggle their tongue!

March and play the drum

In this music and movement activity, march around the room, pretending to play a big bass drum. Choose some classical music, such as March of the Toy Soldiers from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, or go for a modern classic such as the theme from The Great Escape.

Dance with scarves

Put on some suitable music - classical ballet music is good - and get your toddler to move around with a floaty scarf in each hand, waving, wiggling and wrapping themselves in the material.

Do the plate dance

Take two plastic (unbreakable) plates (or paper plates) and you can bang them together like a pair of cymbals. Movements include banging them above your head, behind your back, and under your legs.

Musical squares

Use a paved area. Turn on the music and your preschooler has to jump into a square and dance and jiggle. Then they have to jump, hop or crawl from square to square.

Animal magic

A bit like Simon Says, but you shout out an animal's name, and the preschoolers have to move like that animal.

Cheesy songs

It doesn't always have to be preschool music. Have your own little disco at home with some fabulously cheesy songs that have set movements. Choose songs with great music and movements such as YMCA, Oops Upside Your Head, Agadoo, and  Cha Cha slide.

Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Sing the song, touching the correct body parts as you sing it.

Floor drawing

Get some huge pieces of paper or old cardboard boxes. Get the preschoolers to lie on the paper or cardboard with a crayon in their hand. Play music as they move their hand around, drawing patterns.

Musical art

Stick some big pieces of paper to the wall. Arm your toddler with a big paintbrush and some paints and stick on some music. Get them to run around, moving and painting 'how the music makes them feel'.

Musical chairs

No one likes being out in this game. So switch it around. Write the children's name on a piece of paper and put it one of the chairs. When the music stops they have to find their name. Great for learning how to recognise their name.

Listen to the beat

Children can clap hands or use a drum, a wooden spoon on a pan, a chopstick on a tin - whatever you have to hand. Play different short pieces of music and get your young children to clap or tap along to the beat.

Balance practice

Make it safe to practise balance without the risk of falling! Stick some tape to the floor and get your preschooler to 'balance' along it. They can practise the movement of using arms to balance without being in any danger. Make up a story or play some suitable music as they balance.

Feather dance

Use brightly coloured craft feathers. Pop on some music and encourage movement as they keep their feather in the air by blowing it.

Walk to the beat

Beat a drum or similar. Beat slowly for a walking beat, faster for a jogging beat and faster still for a running beat. Your child has to match the beat to the activity. If you are indoors, get them to the movement on the stop.

Shake it out!

Make a homemade shaker or use one you already have. Lead your child in shaking to the beat - holding the shaker above their head, to the side, shaking it in a circle, shaking it behind them, and so on.

Do the Hokey Cokey

A favourite party song for decades, the great thing about the Hokey Cokey is that it also helps children with learning their left and right, and body parts.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

The rhythm of this popular story builds musical appreciation and combines it with literacy and movement.

Peter and the Wolf

Introduce your little ones to classical music with this fairytale told with music. Tell them the story and then help them identify the different characters played by different instruments - Peter is played by the violin, the bird is the flute, the duck the oboe, the hunters the drums and so on.  Get them to do movements like the character when they hear their music and instruments.

Five Little Ducks

This action song has simple movements as it tells the tale of the ducklings that go missing. Introduces simple maths - and don't worry, there's a happy ending!

Sleeping bunnies

The children lie 'sleeping' on the floor while you sing the verse. Then you shout 'wake up little bunnies' and they hop up and hop around as you sing the chorus. The movement changes each time, so they have to skip, jump etc.

The Grand Old Duke of York

This preschool music favourite will get preschoolers marching and climbing in time to the song.

Quiet and loud

Play Bjork's song Oh So Quiet. When she sings quietly, they must tiptoe around the room quietly - once she gets loud, they can run around shouting, but must be ready to go quiet again!

Get bouncy

Get some different balls and get the toddlers and preschoolers to experiment how bouncy they are. Then get them to bounce in a different way - like a kangaroo, with big strong bounces and like a rabbit, with more gentle bounces.

Go for a listening walk

When you are out walking, listen for different sounds - birds singing, reversing lorries beeping. Try to imitate the sounds as you are walking.

Dance like...

After your walk, put on some music and let the toddlers and preschoolers dance around, moving like some of the things you have seen - a wiggly worm, a trotting horse, a flying bird, a swaying tree.

Baby Shark  

Sing the song and do the actions. Just try not to have it going round and round in your head all day!

Naomi MacKay
Written By
Naomi MacKay

<p>Raised in the Home Counties, Naomi is an enthusiastic explorer of London, Beds, Herts, and Bucks, frequently accompanied by her husband and son. In addition to this, she is an avid driver, often traveling to various skateparks around the UK. Naomi is always looking for new opportunities to explore or try new activities as a family.</p>

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?