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  • Writer's pictureDani Albertina

Teachin’ Tots & Tunes To Keep ‘Em Movin’ & Groovin’

Teaching toddlers can be such a sweet treat filled with unforgettable firsts & precious moments! On the flip side, anyone who has a toddler or who works with this extremely energetic & lovable age group also knows that teaching the two’s & three’s can be a little tricky! Never fear as some tricks of the trade for this age group can be found right here.


If you arm yourself with the knowledge of child development, pack a little patience & allow a bit of your own inner child to come out & play, you’ll be sure to discover toddler teaching success & wonder. 🙂 At this stage in development, tots love to show their new found independence & fearlessly experiment! They experiment not only with how creatively their little bodies can move within space, but also with their social & emotional behavior… Here’s some thoughts I imagine the little scientists have dancing around in their heads before they ultimately choose to act: “How will the teacher or grown up react if I do the OPPOSITE of what they’ve asked?” “I wonder how funny it will be when I hide or run away from where I’m supposed to be?” “Who else will partake in this fun act of defiance with me?”

“Last time I broke a rule, I got a lot of personal attention from the teacher/my grown up...” LOL! Just like real life comedians, these little humans love to laugh and make others laugh all the while testing boundaries and limits. Pretty impressive stuff for only existing in the world for a couple years… The good news is that when the little’s have bought into what you’re teaching, you can distract them from the defiance & help them lean into the lesson. Tots can successfully follow two step instructions (i.e. “pick up your sticks and tap to this beat” or “clap your hands and march your feet.”) The more imaginative or “playful” the exercise, the more engagement earned. Tots are also keen to copying other adults and children’s simple movements & words with ease. (So make sure to set a great example please 😉). See video below for an example:

(In this video you'll see first I taught the words, then I added the tapping of the sticks with the words. Scaffolding your exercise & lesson is so important so their brains are not overloaded with information all at once!) By embracing our adorable tots' curious nature and buckling yourself up for some exploration through their eyes, you just might be lucky enough to find that sweet spot in time where you capture their undivided attention and hearts simultaneously. Below I have 5 fun songs and gross motor skill exercises that can help you do just that!

Whether you’d like to bond & move with your little one at home or you’re leading a class with lots of tots, these songs and exercises are sure to get everyone movin’ & groovin.’

1.

Fun Movement Exercise: Marching! Step to the beat and use the upper body (arms) to showcase each “bus” action. (i.e. “wheels go round” - roll your arms around each other, swish swish - move arms like windshield wipers, people go up and down - raise arms up and down). For simpler locomotor exercise - carry your favorite toy or prop around for a “bus ride” while marching & follow the leader around the space.

2.

Song: Baby Shark (Hip Hop Version) - Lil Donald Fun Movement Exercise: Bouncing! Bend your knees and bounce to the beat! With each new “shark” mentioned in the lyrics, play with the height and weight of your claps. (i.e. grandma shark is light and small using only just hands/wrists, daddy shark is large and heavy using your whole arms!).


3.

Fun Movement Exercise: Jumping! Lay favorite small toys, polydots, or small pillows on the floor and jump over each. Play with different pathways (i.e. lay items in circle, diagonal or zig zag to explore different directions and formations). 4.

Song: Row, Row, Row Your Boat - Gracie’s Corner Fun Movement Exercise: Rolling! Roll your shoulders and move around your space as if you’re “rowing a boat” with an imaginary oar. Play with different tempos of animals you’d see when rowing a boat (i.e. slow like a turtle, or fast like a fish) or different direction changes. Roll your shoulders backwards to move your boat backwards or forwards to move forwards. Roll only your right shoulder to move your boat in a circle, or your left to move the circle in the opposite direction. 5.

Fun Movement Exercise: Swaying! Sway, shift or “fly” side to side like a chicken flapping its wings. Can have arms out in a t shape, long diagonal line or bend at elbows bringing hands to armpits to make small “chicken wings.” Flap the elbows up and down for a trickier chicken wing sway.


Happy developing those gross motor skills & of course, dancing!

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