Movement Exploration Ideas for Early Childhood
Need some ideas for movement exploration while practicing self-regulation and active listening in kindergarten music? You’ve stopped at the right place!
Ella Jenkins, known as “The First Lady of Children’s Music,” is a pioneer in the field of children’s music and has inspired generations of children’s musicians and music educators with her original compositions and folk music recordings. Her song, “Stop & Go” has been a favorite of my students for many years. This magical gem allows students to explore non-locomotor movements (clap, twist, bend, reach) and locomotor movements (walk, tip-toe, hop, skate) with a surprise “stop” ending. You can also revisit the song when playing instruments and insert a different word for each action (play, shake, tap, scrape).
Games like “Stop & Go” help students learn how to self-regulate while keeping it fun and playful. Self-regulation skills help children control impulses, emotional responses, and motor actions. Playing Freeze Dance or Follow the Leader games are also a big hit, especially when students get to choose how to move!
Take a listen to Ella Jenkin's recording.
A couple of helpful tips when teaching Stop & Go:
Interactive modeling is a key. Model what is safe/not safe in shared space.
Use repetition and novelty. “Can you walk forward? Now try walking backwards.”
Allow for an intentional pause of silence on the word, “stop”.
Freeze like an ice cube or a statue. Imagery can help solidify conceptual understanding and helps keep the energy playful.
Use a stop & go visual cue.
Ask students for their movement ideas.
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