Dear CCS Summer Club,
Hi everyone! My name is Maddie Hopfield (she/her) and I am a former Oak Teacher. Today I will be sharing a couple of imaginative movement games I’ve used as a dance teacher at CCS summer camp. While these games are great to play in large groups, they can also be adjusted for smaller ones, even duets. 🙂 More detailed or abstract prompts can make this game more challenging for children over the age of three, while a looser structure will likely work better for younger ages.
Moving imaginatively has numerous benefits: it can help children express themselves physically, and promotes gross motor learning and creative problem-solving skills. Added bonus: doing these activities with your children can give you these benefits too! (Not to mention, not all children are used to seeing adults in their lives move and dance in a way that’s pleasurable for them. It can be a very special experience!)
Video Link: Teacher Maddie’s video lesson
Activity 1 : The Spaceship Game
(tape, chalk, OR any physical markers that create a pathway)
For playing indoors, lay some tape out on the floor. Create two tape boxes large enough for whoever is playing to stand ‘in’ and a long line to connect them. Each box represents your spaceship which will be flying around to different movement planets! Get in a spaceship, put on your seatbelt, helmet, press many buttons (as one does), and get ready for takeoff! When the spaceship “lands,” decide what movement planet you’re on. Here are some examples:
Animals: snake, dog, monkey, giraffe, lion, bear, dinosaur, cat
Sensory: floor is lava, floor is sticky honey, wiggly planet, tiptoe planet
Emotions: angry, crying, happy, excited
“Evolution”: egg, chicken, dinosaur, baby, grown up
Levels: low, middle, tall
Speed: Slow motion, medium, fast
So you might say, “Shhhk! *imaginary doors open* Oh my goodness, we’ve landed on SNAKE PLANET! We’ve got to be snakes all the way to the other side!” Then, the goal is to move like that thing across the connecting tape line until you are safely back in the other tape box/spaceship. This game can also be done in a more wide open space like a park, as long as you know where your “spaceships” are. Older children might be able to grasp onto more abstract movement vocabulary like swinging or robotic movement.
Activity 2: Freeze Dance
(music, link to Maddie’s kids’ Spotify playlist, optional: costumes and props)
This is a simple movement game many children are already familiar with. Just put music on, and freeze when the music pauses! There are many variations you can add to make this game more challenging for different age groups and skill levels; for example, turning the volume up and down for slower/faster motion, or letting your child stop and start the music while the grownup(s) dance. You can also add more rules to the freezes: what about a freeze that has to have three body parts touching the ground? A freeze where you have to be touching someone else? What about a happy/sad/sleepy freeze? A friendship freeze? A silly freeze? If you have several people playing, you can also have the music-pauser walk around the different freezes like a ‘museum’ and pick their favorite one.