Dance Theme Ideas for Preschool

Preschooler dancing at sock hop
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Children love to dance. Integrating a dance theme into your preschool lesson plans gives you the opportunity to teach physical education, art and social studies -- all at the same time. Not only that, but dancing feels good and engages children with music and rhythm. Additionally, set aside time to teach the origin of dances to round out the preschoolers' awareness and appreciation of dance.

1 Ribbon Dancing

Secure one end of a 3-foot ribbon to the end of a 12-inch dowel with tape or hot glue. Make one of these dancing ribbons for each child in your class. Turn on some music and show your students how to dance, waving the ribbon as you move. Ribbon dancing gives a visual demonstration of how children move through space as they dance. Use fast and slow music. This is a good indoor or outdoor activity.

2 Dancing to the Beat

Bring a drum to class and let your students dance to the beat as you play. Dancing to the beat is a good way to integrate math with music and dance as you demonstrate how four or eight beats makes a measure. Beat out a rhythm and have the children clap to it as they dance, or stomp around to the beat. Let students take turns beating the drum for their classmates' dancing enjoyment.

3 Dancing to Directions

Teach your students to do the Hokey Pokey, which has easy-to-learn steps described in the music. Alternately, children will giggle with delight watching you demonstrate Chicken Dance moves, such as flapping your arms like a chicken. Both dances have easy-to-learn steps that are described in the music. Learning these dances is not only fun for students, but also teaches them to listen to and follow directions. Let them take turns adding their own steps to either dance.

4 Folk Dancing

Introduce your students to the dances of different cultures. Hula dancing, square dancing, belly dancing and the merengue are easy enough to incorporate into a preschool lesson plan. Teaching folk dances is a good addition to lessons about other cultures or as a jumping off point for those lessons. Find videos of people doing the dances and introduce the music as well as the dance styles and steps.

Shaunta Alburger has been a professional writer for 15 years. She's worked on staff at both major Las Vegas newspapers, as well as a rural Nevada weekly. Her first novel was published in 2014.