Safe Music and Movement Activities for Groups
We ALL Need to Move!
Ohhh, as I sit here I’m kind of freezing and feeling a bit cooped up. And I’m thinking about all of the kids in our classrooms (and their teachers.) Really at this time of year music and movement activities are more needed than any other. If the skies are sunny where you live and everyone is still getting out regularly you may not be feeling this as much. But here in the midwest, every time it freezes I’m looking at the 10-day forecast for a chance to take my gang out for a non-frigid hike. Why? Because we were made to move and our bodies just don't do well when we are cooped up for long moments of time.
Cooped up kids are a challenge for teachers passionate to help children learn concepts and skills that they’ll need in the next year and into adulthood. As referenced here we really need to be active to be healthy and learn: Exercise and the Brain: How Fitness Impacts Learning
Music and Movement Activities to the Rescue!!!
Wait!!! Is that safe? Can that fit in with distancing and special care taken to keep from spreading sickness? Well, yes! I believe so, and many experts agree that mental and physical health can’t be maintained in isolation of movement, fun, and social activity!!!
How to Manage Music and Movement Activities Safely
Over the past year, I've heard so many teacher's frustrations over the dual pressures of trying to be conscientious over spreading germs while at the same time providing stimulating (uninterrupted) educational instruction. Also, I hear their concern to provide an atmosphere that is low in stress for their students. I hear that. I have some suggestions on how to pull both of those goals together in these group activities for your classroom (or for your remote students, you'll have to figure out what movement/dance props to have them use.)
How to manage safe music and movement activities in class. Click To Tweet
Here are 3 Questions I Think We Need to Address
I. How can we social distance enough within group activities?
You can use the amazing Connect-a-Stretchy Band to help students maintain a good distance from each other by instructing them about which section of the band to hold on to as you sing, count out beats, work on memory words (or math facts.) Having a specific place to hold on to helps children not crowd around close to each other. You could lay the stretchy band on the floor in a circle and have the students come one at a time to the place you assign. Connect-a-Stretchy Bands are endlessly expandable, so you can make your circle as large as you need it to be to accommodate distance.
Or, you could use individual Movement Props which students can keep in their own desks. Check out these options below that you can give each student or send home with students who study remotely. Imagine being able to take a break before and after times of focused concentration to sing learning songs or just silly songs to get your students moving and giggling! Trust me, this doesn't actually come naturally to me once kids are past about 3 or 4 years of age, but I can tell you from experience if you learn to pull this off, it pays off in students ready to sit down and get ready to work again.
II. How can we keep the dance and movement props as germ-free as possible?
Have students sanitize or wash their hands before and after participating in the group activity. That's really one of the best strategies. You'll prevent more germs from making it onto the movement props and less germs will come away with any of the students.
Wash the movement props in your clothes washing machine with the recommended amount of bleach to sanitize them. Also, remember, detergent breaks down the fatty bonds which protect most germs. Soft materials can be machine washed in a laundry bag. We recommend air drying in the sun, but they can be dried on low heat as well. If you're interested, here's an interesting article about the disinfecting power of the sun: Sanitizing with Sunlight
III. Are there any easy resources for me to learn how to incorporate these music and movement props?
You bet there are! Let me share some with you!
First of all, I'd love to share these videos from Beat It Music and movement! These videos are created by a therapist who works with elderly people so most of them take place from a seated chair (that makes it easy if you're having your students join you remotely, from your computer,) however, these would work great standing up as well, and they're so fun! For these, you'll need Egg Shakers or other hand instruments.
Next, take a look at these examples from Bear Paw Creek.
Note that you'll need to adjust the distance you use between the students in your classroom. Also, as you can see, these work great for parents to do with their kids at home (maybe a good special time before bedtime reading,) and for homeschooling families.
The first video below uses the Connect-a-Stretchy Band. And oh, I really love the second song (Miss Carole of Macaroni Soup's song "Rainbow 'Round Me" from her Polka Dot cd.) In it, they're using Bear Paw Creek's ribbon wrist streamers in primary colors
Lastly, from Tiffany Kaplan, PE instructor, here are two really fun scarf dances that can be done with students in class or remotely with your students from home.
These are just a start! Here is a roundup of links to all of these videos and more.
- Egg Shaker Music Activity
- Moving to Music
- Wheels on the Tractor w/Stretchy Band
- Rainbow Round Me
- Scarf Movement Song
- Scarf Acivity
- Stretchy Band Music and Movement Activities with Sing Play Create
- Five Best Activities Props for Groups
- Streamers and Scarves Movement Songs
- Macaroni Soup Music Resource from Miss Carole
Give your class and yourself a boost!
Incorporate music and movement activities back into your classroom (if you haven't already,) because there are definitely some ways to distance and keep it safe. Do you need it to be easy?
Bear Paw Creek has been collaborating with educators and has come up with this for you: Personal Student Kits! These will work great within a classroom environment, or with your remote students.
Grab some of these kits today by clicking the link below (it will lead you to the product page so you can browse the kits!)