Early Movement Play
Intuitively parents and other adoring adults play movements games with infants and toddlers that involves body touch and tactile modeling. We touch noses and toes, tickle tummies and help hands claps together as we rhythmically chant the melodies. We gleefully bounce toddlers on our knee as we chant a nonsense verse. Music and movements are an instinctive, integral part of an adult- child interaction.
Body touch and bouncing Games
The following examples describe how infants respond to music with body touch and bouncing games.
- The father sings and rocks while gently tapping the baby’s bottom or gently touching her eyes or ears.
- The grandpa crosses his leg and gives Jenny a ride on his foot while chanting.
Young children learn through imitative play. They watch, copy what they see and practice until the ideas become their own. We model many ideas for moving in space both tactilely (touching) and visually (seeing). Tactile Modeling is an important technique for introducing to how a movement feels. Later, they become more able to imitate ideas that are only visually expressed.
- The adult claps the infants hand together and directs other gestures to accompany the chant
- The adult extends her index fingers for the toddlers to grip. And together they sway from side to side or make a falling down motion as the adult sings or chants these familiar nursery rhymes. The child is in control and can release her grip to move independently at any time.
Two and three years olds at first tends to be merely watchful during guided movement play but after much repetition of the play, they become excited, anticipating the predictable actions. The adults presents the story or music and guides the play. Children imitate what they see.
Children should have many opportunities to freely make up dances to music. These children will make jabbing, jerking and bobbing motions, with feet rarely leaving the security of the floor. Their arms are used more for balanced and gesturing. They swish a scarf about, but they would rather wrap themselves in it than use it for dancing prop. Freely moving to music is still wondrous play for these children, especially if a partner or other loved one is also participating in the play.
Why creative play is important for preschoolers
The preschool years can be one of the most creative times in a child’s life. While your child’s imagination is still developing, drama, music, dance and visual art:
- foster creativity
- help your child express her feelings
- help develop her motor skills
- give her a chance to try out her problem-solving and thinking skills
- shed new light on existing situations, and help her find new ways of looking at things
Preschoolers use songs, dress-ups, art materials, language and movement to express feelings, experiences and ideas. Sometimes your child might prefer to tell stories alone – at other times, he might enjoy it more if you join in.
Your preschooler will often use new songs and stories as the basis for her play. This might involve quickly switching roles – one moment she’s a queen eating bread and honey, and the next you've got a little cow jumping over the moon!
Preschoolers often get completely involved in stories. For example, when you read your preschooler a story, you might notice him moving his arms, legs or face, mimicking what’s happening in the story.
Preschoolers love to express themselves and their ideas using crayons, paints, play-dough, clay, scissors, glue and paper.
Your child will begin making basic shapes, and might enjoy experimenting with texture, space and colors in pieces of art. For example, preschoolers will often draw houses with shining suns above them – this is because this picture is made up of very basic shapes, including a square house, triangular roof and round sun.
As children develop, their artworks contain more and more detail. Drawings of people are usually basic figures to begin with. Realistic shape, scale and other characteristics come a little later.
As with art materials, preschoolers use musical instruments (including their own voices) to express feelings and ideas.
Your child will enjoy singing just for the sake of singing. She’ll love songs with repetition and simple melodies. She can make up her own words to familiar songs, and words often come from the events and people around her.
Your preschooler will usually be able to recognize and name favorite songs, and sing parts of them fairly accurately. You’ll quickly come to learn his favorite nursery rhymes off by heart! Singing along also helps children understand the differences between fast and slow, long and short, and loud and soft.
Preschoolers might also enjoy group singing games and finger plays – for example, ‘Open Shut Them’ or ‘Where is Thumb kin?’
Types of Plays and Musical
- These are solo pieces about ten minutes long. They are suitable for use in forensics (speech and debate) competitions, as part of an evening of shorts, or simply as a way to showcase a young actor's talent.
- These short plays are suitable for use in forensics (speech and debate) duo competitions, as part of an evening of shorts, or as classroom acting exercises
- For many drama programs, a one-act play is the perfect length to challenge young performers without overburdening them in their crowded schedules. One-acts are also perfect as competition plays. These short plays (ranging from about 35 minutes to just under an hour) have delighted audiences around the world.
Full-Length Plays and Musicals
- Looking for something bigger? These full-length plays and musicals are ideal for the "big" production in your season. While they lend themselves to fun, elaborate sets and lighting that will challenge your tech crew, they can also be performed very simply.
Your preschooler will show that she’s developing control of her body by moving spontaneously to music.
Your child might also express feelings of sadness, happiness, joy or excitement through movement – not to mention a temper tantrum now and then!
You might find your child flying like a butterfly, creeping like a caterpillar, hopping like a frog, or tiptoeing so as not to wake the baby. These play movements are helping him understand more about the world. Encourage this activity by giving him props – for example, your child could wave around a scarf to represent flight.