Adventures with Olaf!

Dance Exploration’s January 2015 theme for our Preschool aged Creative Dance and Pre-Ballet Classes is ‘Winter!’

What better kid-friendly and, very popular, character to help us with this concept, than with Olaf! Everyone knows Olaf! He’s a silly snowman who likes ‘Warm Hugs!’ and dreams about living in summer.

Here are some fun Snowman games inspired by Olaf that you can play in your Preschool Aged Dance classes!

Build a Snowman!

This game was inspired by the following Dancing Olaf Video created by Disney Animation Studios:

What you will need:

Construction Paper
Scissors
Black Sharpie

Cut out the different parts of your snowman (ours had 9 pieces total):

2  Small Circles (Feet)
1 Large Circle (Bottom)
1 Medium Circle (Middle)
1 Small Circle (Head)
2 Arm Pieces
1 Carrot Nose
1 Head Piece (hat or hair)

Our Snowman looks like this:

Olaf game

Have the kids help you build the snowman piece by piece so they know how he’s supposed to go together.

Now it gets harder. They must build their snowman blindfolded!

First blindfold each child. Ask them how many spins they want to do (no more than 5) After they’ve done their spins have them put their snowman piece down.

After all the kids have had a turn, your snowman may end up looking more like this:

IMG_5789But it’s okay! It’s all fun and games…and the kids will LOVE it!

olaf game 2

Snow Man Prints in the Snow!

Fun for any preschool aged hip hop class!

Pretend that each dance move you do, is to make a print in the snow!

Round 1: Hand Prints
Take a few steps forward and jump down and touch the ground to get your hands in the snow!

Round 2: Snowman Foot Prints
Take a few steps forward, jump down and do a big spin on your bum. Jump up  and do it again!

Round 3: Skid Marks
Take a few steps forward. Bend down with your hand behind you, shoot both legs out and pull them back in. Miss Zoe demonstrates below:

IMG_4811

Round 4: Make a circle
After successfully making your ‘skid marks’ in the snow, next you must cover your tracks by making a big circle! Miss Stephanie’s student demonstrates in her preschool hip hop class:

Dance Exploration is a mobile after school dance and performing arts program for kids, traveling into preschools and elementary schools in the Denver Metro Area! Our ‘Dance to Learn!’™ Curriculum is enriching the lives of children through out Colorado! Book a free trial at your school! Olaf can’t wait to dance with you either!

IMG_5852

Advertisements

Celebrating going Back to School in Dance Class

We’ve had a great start to our Back to School Dance Classes for the 2014/2015 school year! We couldn’t be happier with all that our children are learning and with an upcoming Nuggets performance, we will be able to share their progress with a live audience!

This year, in our preschool classes, we have been creating a monthly theme of which to base our weekly curriculum and song choices!

Our September theme was ‘Back to School!’
Our kids enjoyed some fun activities based entirely on going back to school! We are going to share some of the fun activities that the kids learned during the month of September. You are more than welcome to try any of these in your dance classes! The next time you’re looking for a ‘Back to School!’ dance game or activity for your little ones, give any of these a try! Leave us a comment and let us know how you like it!

Warm Up Activity: Pack a Lunch
Sitting in a Straddle position go around the circle and ask each child individually what they want for lunch.

Jimmy wants a sandwich- Reach towards your right foot. Grab a sandwich and put it in your box (drum the floor in the center of your legs).
Sally wants an apple- Reach towards your left foot. Grab an apple and put it in your box (drum the floor in the center of your legs).

Boys at the Montessori Children's House of Denver pack up their lunches during warm ups in dance class.

Boys at the Montessori Children’s House of Denver pack up their lunches during warm ups in dance class.

When all the kids had a turn, eat your lunch up. Starting towards your right foot, bend forward and across the floor to the left foot. Ask, “Who still has food left? Raise your hand!” Then start from the left foot, bend forward and across the floor to the right foot. Be sure to make your “Nom, Nom, Nom!” noises!

Around the Room Activity: Wheels on the Bus
Standing in the middle of the room in the circle sing, ‘The Wheels on the Bus go ‘Round and ‘Round!’

March around the circle and add a different movement to each verse.

The Wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round: March while circling your arms to the right and to the left

The Wipers on the bus go swish swish swish: March while doing swishing arms above your head

Students at BMH-BJ demonstrate how they march in a circle during 'The Wheels on the Bus!' activity.

Students at BMH-BJ demonstrate how they march in a circle during ‘The Wheels on the Bus!’ activity.

The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep: Bend your knees and bounce each time the horn goes beep

The lights on the bus go on and off: When the lights are on do a big jump with arms out. When the lights go off jump in and get little.

The driver on the bus says ‘Sit, Sit, Sit’: Make a pointing finger and bounce. Tell a friend to sit, sit sit.

When you’ve done it a few times, have the kids sing and dance the song on their own!
Across the Floor Activity: Late for School Obstacle Course!

Put together a fun, ‘Late to School!’ Obstacle Course.

Clear the room and put down items in a pathway that the child must jump, climb, or crawl through.

For example: Mats on the floor can be rocks the child must hop scotch on.
Jump ropes could be stairs that they have to leap down. Hula Hoops can be puddles they must jump in.
They need to crawl through a tunnel to get to their spot on the bus.

A student at the Primrose School climbs through an Obstacle Course.

A student at the Primrose School climbs through an Obstacle Course.

Try these fun ‘Back to School!’ Games in your class! Let us know how like them 😀

Teacher Tip of the Week: Using Placement Markers for Classroom Management

Miss Jessica uses scarves during story time and warm ups so children have a spot to sit.

Miss Jessica uses scarves during story time and warm ups so children have a spot to sit.

We’ve all had those classes: Walk in, ready to teach and the kids are running around the room like crazy people! As a new teacher, we ask politely to listen and stop running. One, two…TEN times. Finally our pleading may result to screaming, frustration and unnecessary discipline. Here’s a simple, and easy trick to help children know their spots and where they need to be at all times during dance class.

In classes, especially preschool aged, it’s helpful to use “markers” or “spots” in class to help children know where to stand, sit, or be while waiting for instructions. For warm ups, this is as simple as a mat the kids can stand on. Across the floor, it can be differentiated between two points. “Today we are going to skip from the cat to the unicorn!” (we like using stuffed animals but you can also use cones, markers, hoola hoops, etc). When it’s time for choreography, using Masking Tape (which can easily be removed) with a sticker on it, will help kids stand in their correct places! Try this teacher Tip of the Week! Let us know how you liked it!

Dancers in our City of Edgewater classes, are spread out equally in a circle when they have a spot to stand on.  Photo: Deanna Trevizo

Dancers in our City of Edgewater classes, are spread out equally in a circle when they have a spot to stand on.
Photo: Deanna Trevizo

Creating Fairy Tale Dance Camps- Magic Mirror Dance Activity

Magic Mirror Activity
Dance Exploration is in full swing planning our Fairy Tale Dance Camps for Summer 2014! One of our favorite and classic princesses to explore is Snow White! We’ve wanted to create a fun craft and activity involving the Magic Mirror that the Evil Queen uses daily to indulge her ego. When one day the Magic Mirror responds that Snow White is the fairest one of all, the Evil Queen decides to get rid of Snow White forever!

Our Magic Mirror Game and Craft is fun for campers as well as teachers.

Materials Needed:
Materials

1 Image of Snow White
1 Image of Evil Queen
Glue
Paint Brush
Double Sided Mirror
Scissors

Step 1: Locate an item the size of your mirror to use as a trace.
Step 1

Step 2: Trace your Mirror Shape over your Chosen Image.
Step 2: Magic Mirror

Step 3: Cut your image out.
Step 3: Magic Mirror

Step 4: Apply Glue to the Mirror and adhere your picture to the mirror.
Step 4: Magic Mirror

Step 5: Repeat with your second image!
Step 5: Magic Mirror

Great! Now you have your beautiful Mirror! It’s time to play the Magic Mirror Game!

‘Magic Mirror on the Wall Who is the Fairest of them all?’

Magic Mirror Game

Play this game in the style of Freeze dance.

The teacher or assistant should hold your Magic Mirror behind their back. A child will come up and say ‘Magic Mirror on the Wall Who is the Fairest of them All?” The teacher will pull the mirror up whichever image appears is the most fairest!

If Snow White is the Fairest of All, the Children will dance around the room happy to the music. If it is the Evil Queen, they fall down in despair. Use a fun upbeat song from Snow White to play as the music.

Buliding a Snow Man Port de Bras and other Snow Day Dance Ideas!

If you live in Colorado, then you know that Colorado weather definitely has a mind of it’s own! Spring was less than a week ago, and today we are snowed in expecting a little over a foot of snow! A snowy Saturday a few weeks ago, I was teaching my 3-4’s Ballet/Tap

A Dance Exploration Creative Dance Student practices her third position Port de Bras.

A Dance Exploration Creative Dance Student practices her third position Port de Bras.

Combo class and our theme was snow day! We did a lot of fun-filled snow exercises that the kids really loved! I am sharing a few of the ideas below. Try them in your next snow day dance class and let me know what you think!

Building a Snow Man Port De Bras!

We warmed up our arms by building a snow man. This exercise taught the kids their different ballet arm positions, and they had a blast while doing it! First we rolled up the “snow” pushing it across the rooms. Then we built the bottom of the snow man, holding our arms in preparatory position (en bas). Next we built the middle of the snow man holding our arms in first position. Finally, we put the head on top, holding our arms in Third Position! Don’t forget the final touches putting on the coal eyes, carrot nose and top hat!

Image

Dance Exploration students grabbing their toes in their Creative Dance Class.

 

Going Sledding. 

This is a fun warm up exercise for Creative Dance Class dancers. It stretches their hamstrings and backs before getting into the rest of the class. Let the kids know we are going outside and ask them what we need to take with us so we aren’t cold.

Teacher: “What do we need to go outside?”

Kids: “We need a coat!”

Teacher: “Put your coat on. Grab your toes and slide them outside. WAIT! We forgot something! Pull your toes back.”

Kids: “We need our snow boots!”

Teacher: “Put your snow boots on…grab your toes and slide them outside. WAIT we forgot something! Pull your toes back!”

Teacher: “We need a scarf! Put your scarf on. Slide your toes outside! WAIT we forgot something! Slide your toes back.”

Kids: “We need our gloves!”

Teacher: “Put your gloves on…slide your toes back outside.”

Now you can go sledding. Put your arms up above your head and dive down towards your toes! “Whee!” Do it again, and again and again! Slide down big hills, and small hills, you can even “crash” a few times. The kids love it!

Hot Chocolate!

This is another fun snow day warm up to stretch the student’s flexibility. Have the children sit in a straddle position for this exercise.

Teacher: The dance teacher should ask each child to grab something to make our hot chocolate. “We are making hot chocolate today! What ingredients do we need?”

Kids: “Coffee Cup!”036

Teacher: “Reach up to the shelf (reach over the right leg) and get the cup (come back to the middle and pat the floor). What else do we need?”

Kids: “We need Water!”

Teacher: “Pour our water (reach over the left leg) and put on the shelf (come back to the middle and tap the floor). What else do we need?”

Kids: “We need our hot chocolate mix!”

Teacher: “Grab our mix! (reach over the right leg) and put on the shelf (come back to the middle and tap the floor). What else do we need?”

Kids: “Marshmallows!”

Teacher: “Grab our Marshmallows (reach over the left leg) and put it on the shelf (come back to the middle and tap the floor). What else do we need?”

Kids: “We need to mix it together!”

In the middle of your straddle move your arms in a circling motion.

Teacher: “Let’s drink it up!”

Stretch down the middle and make your “nom nom nom” noises. Is there still some left? Do it again. Maybe even make seconds!

Making Snow Angels!

In our dance classes we do a butterfly chasses! Looking at yourself in the mirror, you wave your arms up and down like wings and then chase your feet across the floor! On a snow day we call it making a snow angel. Make sure your arms are big and reach high to

A Dance Exploration Creative Dance student practices her butterfly chasses!

A Dance Exploration Creative Dance student practices her butterfly chasses!

the sky and down to the floor as your make your snow angel! When all the kids have gone across the floor, let them lay on the floor and make their snow angels laying down on their backs! They love it!

Snowflakes!

This is a really great cool down exercise for the end of your hour long dance class. Explain to your students how no one snowflake is the same, they are all unique and different, just like the dancers in your class! Have them dance around the room like a snowflake that is falling from the sky! There is no right or wrong way to dance.  The Teacher then yells “Fall to the ground!” All your snowflakes should fall gracefully to the floor. Then do it again! Play with music tempos maybe it’s a blizzard and the music is fast and crazy, maybe it’s a mild storm and the music is soft and slwo, maybe it’s freezing and rigid and the music is harsh and sharp. The kids love portraying the different types of snowflakes and storms! Always be sure that as the teacher, you are demonstrating and moving with the kids to ensure they learn all the different ways they can move and dance like snow!

Try any or all of these snow day ideas! Let me know if it worked, or how you changed it! What are your different snow day activities! Leave me a comment and share below!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter! Happy Dancing!

Family Engagement Blog: Parker Core Knowledge

Dancers participating in Dance Exploration, LLC Creative Movement Classes are taught "Dance to Learn!" Curriculum

Dancers participating in Dance Exploration, LLC Creative Movement Classes are taught “Dance to Learn!” Curriculum

Written by Samantha Mattei

Hello Parents/Guardians!
Another very successful and fun-filled week! Your daughters were incredibly imaginative, eager-to-learn, and energetic… they are such a joy to teach. I started out by meeting both of them by having the girls pass around the ‘Happy Hat’, which is a little bowler-hat covered in smiley faces. I asked each student to introduce themselves with her name, and one thing that made her happy. (Both Ashlyn and Macy said they were happy that their families were coming into town for Thanksgiving—too cute!) After that introduction game, and the girls had a few minutes to share their stories, we moved on to the dance! This week, we did a lot of stretching for warm-ups that involved animals, because the students respond very positively to these imaginative and interactive poses. I used the flashcards that promoted color-coding and reading the names of animals (cat, dog, bear, etc). They also came up with a few of their own ideas, such as ‘snow angels’ and ‘unicorns’. We then moved onto ‘across the floor work.’ I placed green, yellow, and red circles on the ground. The girls were instructed to do specific movements (tippy toes, stomps, cat crawls, etc) fast to the green, slow to the yellow, and then stopped at the red, where they would then give us their favorite dance move. It gave each student a chance to shine and show us her stuff! And finally, we wrapped up our day with a freestyle dance, where they both danced and taught me their dance moves… and we cheered-on each other, as they individually went into the center and danced to Devo’s “Whip It”. At the end of class, each girl participated so well, that each was given a ‘smiley’ sticker and a high-five. Another great class!

 

Tips and Tricks for Keeping your Dance Class on Pointe

Dance Exploration, LLC offered a $5.00 Dance Teacher Training on 11/11/2012 to offer hands on tips and advice for running a structured dance class for preschool and elementary aged children!

We had a great time doing hands on activities and getting the teachers and children involved! We wanted to share with everyone our tips and tricks to keeping your Creative Dance Classes on Pointe!

1) Music Choices
A big concern and question our teachers had was how to pick music that is kid friendly, fun and easy to dance to! Here are some of our favorite music selections for Creative Dance Classes:

Can’t go wrong with Disney! Most children have seen Disney films, they can relate easily to the songs and characters and makes the class more enjoyable!

Dancing with Miss Melody
This is great for practicing ballet moves. Some of our favorites are her Flowers in the Garden, where we Plie in the sun, Grow Leaves (Passes), and Sip from the puddle (Piques).

Her Jump song also invites us to practice our Sautes, Echappes, Chasses and Skips!

Miss Melodee - Dancing With Miss Melodee CD Cover Art

The Fairies
Another Favorite, more upbeat CD is Fairy Dancing by the Fairies

We do the Fairy Boppity Bop, Dance the Sleep Away and much more fun activities!

2) Creating Structure

We believe in using props and imaginative rules to keep the class structured and under control.

Some little tips:

  • For Warm Ups: Place bandanas or mats on the floor in a circle. Children will know where to sit and it will stop the pre-class run and romp.
  • Across the Floor: Kids get a little antsy when having to wait their turn to go across the floor. This is when your magic super glue comes in. Give everyone some glue on their hands and have them super glue themselves to the wall.
  • Get them talking: Children have a lot they want to say, so instead of trying to keep them quiet, get them talking. When warming up, create warm ups that ask them questions “Where do our butterflies want to fly to today?” “What color are your wings?” “What princess do you want to be today?” A Secret is to keep your warm ups music free to let them get all the stories they want to tell you out at the beginning of class.

3) Incorporating Boy and Girl Movements for the same activity.

One of our student’s favorite activities is Bibbity Bobbidy Boo! We turn the dancers into the character of their choice and then they tip toe walk across the floor! Our teachers learned how to turn all exercises and activities into something both boys and girls could enjoy.

For example the girls were asked which princess they wanted to be? They then put on their glass slippers and tiaras and princess walked. The boys were asked which superhero they wanted to be and then put on their capes and flew across the room. Before the spell can work, they must all show the teacher the Dance Move the Day.

4) Encouraging Good Behavior

The biggest questions we received were how to encourage good behavior, and what to do when a child acts out. Here are some great tips:

Reward Board
On a dry erase board write all of the kids names in your dance class. Next to each name draw one star. Explain before every class that all the children start with one star and throughout the day they can earn more by sharing, being patient, being polite and following rules. When the teacher sees them doing a great job, a second and third star is added by their name. At the end the stars represent the number of stickers the kids will receive. Remind kids who only received one star how they can earn more at the next class and what they can improve on. Be specific! Avoid taking any stars away, as this can be traumatic and cause conflicts in the class. Instead give warnings and remind the kids of the star system. We want to promote the positive behavior through positive reinforcement.

Curbing the “I don’t Wanna’s”
We’ve all had those dancers who just don’t feel like doing something. Whether it’s because they are having an off day, or if it’s every class, here are some techniques to use to curb the “I don’t want to!” Syndrome

  • Offer them a special task: For example you know Miss Sally loves being the Tickler in Dance the Sleep Away. “Miss Sally, if you can do all of your across the floor exercises today, you can be our first ‘Tickler’ in our Sleeping Game!”
  • Partner them up: Children often times feed off the energy of other children. If you see Miss Sally sitting down and not dancing encourage a friend to hold her hand and help her dance.
  • Turn them into something new: Give the nonparticipating dancer a magic wand and ask them to turn the class into different animals: Toads, Cats, Dogs etc. Then tell the dancer it’s your (the teacher’s) turn to turn the class into things. When the dancer sees how much fun everyone is having, they will be quick to participate.
  • Bring a Friend: Usually the “I don’t wanna’s” are more common when a dancer is new to their dance class. New dancers can be more timid as they learn what dancing is all about. Encourage these dancers to bring a friend, usually a favorite stuffed animal or doll, and sit them on the shelf to watch the dancer!

Miss Jessica teaches students in her Creative Movement class how to leap like mouses.

5) Making your class Personable

The best dance instructors are great at creating a curriculum and class flow that fits themselves and their personality. If you aren’t having fun, aren’t confident, or uninspired, you will have a harder time convincing a group of preschoolers to follow along on your dance adventure. Here are some tips for keeping your classes fun and exciting for everyone!

Educate yourself!

  • Check other local dance studios that have popular dance classes, ask if you can observe a class.
  • Participate in Teacher Trainings, like those offered by Dance Exploration, LLC to gain new ideas for your classes. To be involved in our next training, please visit: http://dancexploration.co/Teacher_Trainings.html
  • Search the web for blogs, youtube videos and other tools with advise and tips on preschool dance classes.
  • Attend Seminars and workshops.

Switch it up
If you feel yourself getting burned out or tired, or if you notice your kids are appearing bored, it’s probably a good time to switch up your class. Teach them some new dance steps, create a fun new game, or bring in some new music and props to dance with!

Be Yourself
Make sure your class is a reflection of you and your personality so that the kids can really bond with you and have fun!

Stay tuned for our next blog on our tips from our Hip Hop Training Complete with Video!