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CONNIE'S BLOG:  

Moving Is Learning!

 

Connie has been blogging since 2011. Her posts range from tips for teachers, the benefits of dance, playful class plans, to how to choose a creative dance class for your child, and much, much more! All of her posts are below, starting with the most recently-published ones.

 
 
 
 

THREE LIVELY BRAIN BREAKS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN

Reach your hands to the sky!

 

 

An energetic brain break is always a welcome activity in the middle of a busy day.  These playful, active, and enriching brain break ideas will be fun for a small or large group of children.

 


1. Category Caper

 


Time: 10 minutes

Directions:

 

This activity can be done in a small space. All of the movements can be performed in place.

 

Identify 3 categories:  i.e., colors, fruits, vegetables.
Then, match an action to each category, i.e. color = jump, fruit = sit, vegetable = run in place.
Name, show a picture, or hold up an object and the children will categorize it.  
The children then perform the corresponding action.

 

*This game should progress quickly, to keep the children moving constantly from sitting to jumping, to running. 

 

 

 

2. Time to Rhyme

 

 

 

Time:  10-15 minutes

Directions:

 


This activity can be done in a small space.  All of the movements can be performed in place.

 


1.  Say the following poem line by line, allowing the children to respond in movement to each movement prompt.

 

 

 

I like to march right under the arch.

 


I like to jump and land with a thump.

 


I like to learn how to turn.

 


I like to run – it's so much fun.

 


I like to hop then quickly stop.

 


I like to freeze and bend my knees.

 

 


2.  Repeat the activity, and instead of saying the action word, give the rhyming word and encourage the children to fill in the blank with the appropriate motor skill.  For example, say, " I like to _______, and land with a thump."  Once the children guess the action word, they respond in movement.

 


3.  Vary this activity for a larger space.  Ask the children to think of rhyming words for the following additional motor skills: walk, crawl, slide, gallop, prance

 


3. My Turn!

 

 

 

Time:  10-15 minutes, depending on the number of children

Materials:  Movements written on file cards, one movement per card (enough for one per child, or several per child for a small group).

 


With the children standing evenly spaced in a circle, say to them:  We will go around the circle and each child will have a turn. I am going to choose a card from this stack.  When it is your turn, you will do the movement on the card.

 

Movement suggestions: 

  • Touch your toes
  • Jump as high as you can
  • Turn around on your tiptoes
  • Balance on one foot
  • Shake your whole body
  • Make a silly shape and a silly face
  • Touch your nose to the floor
  • Make an upside down shape
  • Imagine you are very sad, and then very happy
  • Hop on one foot
  • Play air guitar
  • Go down to the floor very slowly, then come back up quickly
  • Balance on your tiptoes as long as you can
  • Make a narrow shape and then a wide one
  • Make a twisty shape like a pretzel
  • Sit on the floor, then stand up and reach your arms high 
  • Stomp your feet without making any noise
  • Take baby steps and make a circle around yourself
  • Jump with your feet wide apart, and then with your feet together
  • Make a shape with two hands and one foot touching the floor

 


Once you have gone around the circle, shuffle the cards and go around again, if the children are still engaged in the activity.

 

Other suggestions for continuing the activity:

 

*Ask the children to think of their own movements as you go around again

 


*Ask the children which one was their favorite movement, and have them all do their favorite movements at the same time

 


*Continuing with the favorite movement idea, ask them to repeat their favorite movements five times in a row

 


*Play a lively musical selection, and allow the children to move about in the shared space, trying out many of the movement ideas from the circle.

 

 

 

Keep on Dancing,

 

Connie

                                                   MOVING IS LEARNING!

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Guest Blog Post for Free Spirit Publishing: 9 Tips for Creating Inclusive Movement Activities

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Guest Blog Post for Free Spirit Publishing: Make Physical Distancing Fun with this SEL and Movement Activity!

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Halloween Poem and Dance Activity

 

 

 Hello, Halloween!

 

 

Here is a lively poem, SHAKE, RATTLE, AND ROLL, that I wrote in honor of Halloween. It accompanies the dance activity below. Have fun grooving at the

     

Skeleton Jamboree and Monster Ball!                

                          

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Shake, Rattle and Roll

 

 

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Here I go, clackety, clop,

I'm gettin' ready for the skeleton hop.

.


I'll be gleaming from head to toe.

Shining my bones 'til they sparkle and glow.

 


Cranium, maxillae, mandible bones, 

Humerus, radius, trapezoid bones,

 


Pectoral girdle, scapula bones,

Tarsus, talus, cuneiform bones.

 


Waxing my skull to shine like new,

Wearing my mask and top hat too.

 

 

Look at my pale, unearthly gleam,

Under the moon, I grin and beam.

 


Shake those sacrums and ischiums now,

Rattle and roll, curtsy and bow.

 


Clavicle, vomer, and palatine bones.

Pelvis, ribs and ischium bones,

 

 

Femur, patella, tibia bones.

Phalanges, ulna, cuboid bones

 

 
Shake and shimmy and strut and swing,

Rock and rattle and do our thing.

 

 

Jam and jitterbug, jive and jig.

Move and groove at our jamboree gig!

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween Dance Activity
 

 

 Here is your invitation to dance like a monster, a skeleton, or a witch with a broomstick!

 


Imagine you are invited to a monster ball. What monster would you want to be? What would you look like?  What would you be wearing?  Show how you would walk, how you would run, and how you would dance.

 


Now think about all of the other characters at the ball. Let's try moving and dancing like each one.  Here are some ideas, and you will have a chance to think of your own and explore those movements too.  

 

 

(Call out the Halloween characters on the list one by one, and give children plenty of time to explore their movement ideas before moving on to the next prompt. Play any of these musical selections while children dance about the different characters).

 

 

Witch with a broomstick

Zombie

Frankenstein

Skeleton

Ghost

Black cat

Bat

Jack O'Lantern

Spider 

Robot

 What else?  

 

Which was your favorite? Let's do one final dance, so everyone can dance about their very favorite Halloween character!

 


Music suggestions: 

 

 

 

Monster Mash, (Bobby Pickett, 1962)

 

Monster Boogie (Laurie Berkner Band, from the 1998 Album Buzz Buzz)

 

Night on Bald Mountain, Mussorgsky, from Pictures at an Exhibition (any rendition)

 

For very young children: Halloween Shark (Pink Fong Halloween Special) Apple Music

 

 

Keep on Dancing!

 

Connie

 

 

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Connie Leads a Thirty-Minute Romp Through the Alphabet!

Hello!

 

 

I was invited by Kids & Company, of Toronto, Canada, to lead a thirty-minute video movement session for young children in May. Kids & Company requested a presentation that would get children up and moving while spending more time indoors during the Covid quarantine. 

 

I thought it would be fun to create a short activity for each letter of the alphabet. I devised 26 movement prompts that children and families can do together. This creative movement session will definitely use a lot of that great kid energy!

 

 

Watch the Video Here: DANCE THE ALPHABET! 

 

 

For more ideas about movement, the alphabet, and early literacy, check out my picture book

 

From A to Z with Energy! 26 Ways to Move and Play

 

Keep on Dancing, Everyone!

 

Connie

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An Alphabet of Learning, Movement and Fun! Picture Book Review by Kerry Aradhya

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Justin Colón Books Interviews Connie Dow

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Author School Visits -- Dancing Through the Alphabet!

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A Winter Dance Story: The Most Perfect Snowman

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Halloween movement ideas, a dance story, and a short Halloween story!

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