Music & Movement - Full Resource

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Dancing emotion

Clear the space and play various music, sad music, angry music, sleepy music etc. (see music suggestions). Invite the children to move how the music makes them feel. 

Adapt for younger children:

If non-walkers maintain most of the movements on the floor, rolling, crawling, swaying, bopping etc


Invite the children to move how the music feels…explain when you touch a child on the shoulder and say FREEZE all the children stop and copy the child the adult touched.  Then repeat.

Mirror Mime

Demonstrate to children how to mime one another, (it may be easier to play a simplified version of Simon Says first).  Firstly sit children in front of a partner and one wears a hat or holds something to indicate they are leading…slow is key..start with touching nose, reaching high, wiggling fingers..progress to upper body movements; shoulders, heads etc.  Extend to standing incorporating lower limbs. 

Music Suggestion: Albinoni – Adagio in G Minor

Adapt for younger children:

Adults can start my playing an invitation game to copy the children and inviting children to copy them. Ie When a child claps, adult repeats…child waves arms, adult copies.


Initially isolate body parts, but gradually introduce combinations ie slow walks and slowly raising one arm.  Crossing the body movements, and lateral and bilateral.

Rhythmic movement

Repeat the above activity but this time use florist ribbon.  Give each child a length of ribbons, tie a knot in the end (as a handle) and invite them to tear the ribbon all the way to the handle.  Repeat the music choices and invite the children to move to the music.

Adapt for younger children:

Keep the ribbon lengths no longer than a child’s arm.  Adults may need to rip the ribbon for some children.

Adults can also model how to move and children can copy.


Invite the children to move how the music feels…explain when you touch a child on the shoulder and say FREEZE all the children stop and copy the child the adult touched.  Then repeat.  Also extend to two ribbons , one in each hand and introduce bilateral, lateral and cross lateral movements.


For this movement activity you will need to demonstrate the movements of a doll on a music box, robot and puppet.  See if children can identify how they move differently.  Using the first music suggestion, pretend to wind up the doll or robot and demonstrate moving in isolation with rigid limbs.  With the second piece of music, move as a puppet, floppy movements.

Music Suggestion – Doll on a music box – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Music Suggestion  - Vodka m’interese – Rene Aubry.

Adapt for younger children:

Listen to the music together and adults model the movements like the props


Encourage children to move around the room and incorporate floor-based movement as well as locomotor movement.   Invite children to showcase their performances.

Teddy Bears Picnic 

Give each child a teddy bear and play the music, invite children to move with their teddies; swinging them, skipping with them, lifting them up, spinning them around.  Not forgetting to hug them and care for them. Music Suggestion Henry Hall – Teddy Bears Picnic

Adapt for younger children:

Give each child a teddy and encourage movements on the floor with teddies.  When ready progress to moving on 2 feet.


Include throwing and catching teddies, swinging through legs, spinning, etc.  Incorporate balancing teddy…laying on legs up high and balance teddy on feet.  On hands and keens walking with teddy riding on backs. Balancing teddy on one knee – stand on two feet and elevate 1 knee place teddy on that knee.

Line dance

Using masking tape make a line across the space.  Ask the children to stand on the line.  Introduce a simple line dance, 4 claps, 4 heels, 4 knee bends, 4 leg slaps, repeat.  During the chorus gallop around the room on your imaginary horses.  Repeat the verse movement.  Extend to change the ending of each section, eg, instead of 4 leg slaps, 4 lassoes around the head.

Music Suggestion: Bellamy Brothers – Let your love flow

Adapt for younger children:

Introduce movements children can do with ease: clapping, kicking legs, hands up high, shoulder shrugs. Extend to standing and include 1 more challenging move each time


Invite children to create their own movements to add to the sequence. Perhaps offer this as a performance to parents/carers.

Oh so Quiet

Have image Use this piece of music by Bjork – when the music is quiet and slow, children can place fingers on lips and tip toe.  When the music is louder, children run around the space.  Children must listen for the change of music.

Adapt for younger children:

When the music is quiet and slow imitate sleeping, when the music is loud clap and bop.  Extend to crawling, walking or jumping when ready.


Give each child a piece of chalk and invite them to chalk puddles on the playground.  Invite children to jump in the puddles, splash in the puddles, kick the water in the muddles. Play some music to encourage rhythm.  Music suggestion: Raindrops keep falling on my head – Burt Bacharach

Adapt for younger children:

Adult draws the puddles and children, with assistance if required, practice two feet jumping in the puddles.


Introduce challenge – only 1 child per puddle, 2 children per puddle, find a yellow puddle etc.  Progress to hopping


Remove socks and shoes and if possible cover the floor with recycled bubble wrap.  Invite the children to pretend to walk on the moon, slow, big movements.  

Music suggestion: Strauss = Space Odyssey.

Adapt for younger children:

Crawl on the bubble wrap and roll on the bubble wrap.  Tape a couple of foil blankets to the floor and children can see their reflection.


When on the moon, encourage more slow movements, sit down, take out a blanket, open up your lunchbox and eat your picnic ALL SLOWLY!

Space Mission

Watch the video and copy the movements

Adapt for younger children:

Keep the movements floor based for non walkers.


Encourage children to create their own movements to space words and objects and demonstrate them to the class.

Parachute Dance

Each child holds onto the edge of the parachute and when the music plays children must walk around clockwise and anticlockwise. Progress to stepping inwards for 8 counts and back for 8 counts.

Music Suggestion: ABBA- Mama Mia or Dancing Queen.

Adapt for younger children:

For non-walkers, adults can either hold infants and do the activity or for walkers hold hands and do the activity.  Start with a small parachute.  This works well as a parent/carer outreach workshop.


Lift the parachute up and invite 2 children opposite each other to swap places, and repeat until every child has had a turn.

Parachute ball

Place a large beach ball on top of the parachute and invite the children to hold the parachute while standing to see if they can make the ball touch the ceiling or the sky…by shaking it.  Then introduce 50-100 ball pit balls onto the parachute as popcorn and sing:

  1. Popcorn kernels, popcorn kernels,
  2. In the pot, in the pot
  3. Shake them, shake them, shake them,
  4. Shake them, shake them, shake them,
  5. ‘til they pop, ‘til they pop!

On the ‘shake them’ section, encourage the children to shake the parachute.

Adapt for younger children:

Start with introducing this activity sitting and progress to kneeling and then to standing.


Invite the children to only shake the parachute when the adult say’s popcorn, adult then tells a story and incorporates the word “popcorn”.  Invite children to take turns at telling a story too.

Get in touch…

If you have a generic question please email the Herts Sport & Physical Activity Partnership team: