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Tree Movement Activities for Early Childhood

Need a seed to spark your imagination for lesson planning? In this blog, I share some simple ideas for movement exploration through story, song, and a bit of magic!

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson is an interactive picture book about changing seasons. The story invites students to actively participate and predict what will happen with each page turn.

  • Read the story. “There’s magic in this bare brown tree. Tap it once. Turn the page to see. Tap again. One, two, three, four….”

  • Invite students to physically tap anywhere on their body.

  • Continue exploring vocal sounds (i.e. swish, whoosh, plop) and movements (i.e. .tapping, brushing, shaking, clapping).

Matheson, C. (2013). Tap the Magic Tree. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books.

The Magic Seed

  • What do we need to grow our own tree? Seeds!

  • Pass out imaginary seeds to create a magic tree.

  • Discuss what seeds need to grow (water, sun, soil, air, etc.) and act out with movement and sounds.

  • Try with the whole body.

“Can you curl your body as small as a seed on the ground? We need some magic (music) to make our trees grow. When you hear the music, we'll grow into tall trees.”

  • Play an ascending and descending pattern on the glockenspiel to guide growing into a tree shape and sinking back down to a seed shape.

  • Pause and notice the tree shapes made each time - straight, curved, and angular.

  • Use can also use pictures for inspiration. Ooh, I see a new shape - twisted!

Try to draw inspiration from your surroundings to connect with student's everyday life. Look (or go) outside or use free stock images found online. The pictures below show the olive trees from our school's playground. There could be interesting shapes right in your own backyard!

“The Tree Song” written by Lorriane Hammond is one of my “go to” songs for early childhood. The version I use can be found on Down In The Valley: More Great Singing Games for Children. You can perform it any time of year or focus on a particular season. Students simply imitate the movement to the song. Its calm and peaceful sound can work as a beautiful transition to a story or end of a lesson. Below are Peter and Mary Alice Amidon performing.

Amidon, M.A. & Davis A. (Eds.). (2000). Down In The Valley: More Great Singing Games for Children. Brattleboro, VT: New England Dancing Masters Productions.

Have a great week!


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