I had a great time working with the kids for the Music and Movement part of the summer camp. For the majority of time, I allowed to the children to dance freely to various types of music. Because children are accustomed to constantly being told what to do by adults, I wanted to give the kids a chance to dance freely with no restrictions.
I played dance music and nursery rhymes for them, while at the same time allowing the kids to create their own dance moves. Free and creative dance increase self-esteem and creativity because the children see there is no right or wrong way. They can dance as they choose.
In school, children are constantly memorizing and following orders from teachers. I wanted to provide a liberating and safe environment where the children felt free to do what they want and not be judged. So, I put very few demands on the children, and instead let the kids be themselves. Provided the child was safe, anything the child did was acceptable and he or she did not have to fear disapproval. They could walk, skip, jump, hop or whatever suited them. In addition to free movement, we imitated various sounds and movement of animals and played musical games. My only goal was for the children to have fun, while being free to express their emotions. The kids could use their imagination, while at the same time get some exercise and increase their motor skills. I wanted the children to see that the teacher can have fun along with them. Most importantly, I wanted the children to have a fun and exciting time.
Some benefits of creative dance (from Sparkplug Dance Education):
- Improves fine motor skills
- Improves flexibility and neurological functioning
- Emotional and social growth and development
- Greater self-esteem and confidence
- Linguistic and aural (listening) skills enhanced
- Early creative spark developed in the child
As parents, we can encourage children by singing and dancing with them and not judging what they do. We can focus less on the perfect dance moves and more on what the child is expressing. In daily life, we can ask kids how they are feeling and what they want to do. We can give children more choices and fewer commands.