Dance is a great activity for toddlers, it gets them physically active in a non-competive way as well as helping to build their confidence.
The following are just some of the benefits that dance for toddlers provides:
Physical activity and body awareness
Dance is a great way for people of all ages to keep fit and healthy, and by encouraging toddlers to be active now, by the time they are 5 they will be more likely to maintain some sort of physical activity especially as dance is so fun and energetic. Learning simple age-appropriate dance moves and routines will help to develop a child's co-ordination, spatial awareness, balance and control as well as helping to develop their fine and gross motor skills.
Self expression and creativity
Dance allows children a way to express and understand their feelings and emotions which is particularly important at this age when they don't necessarily have the vocabularly to be able to do this. They are free to move and explore in a safe and encouraging environment.
Education and discipline
Dance classes introduce toddlers to many things they will learn in the classroom. They learn to listen to the teacher and to the other children within the class. They must share props so that everyone has one and they learn that they must wait their turn when doing things one at a time. The repetition of rhymes and stories will help to develop their language and enhance their vocabulary.
Self-esteem and confidence
Dance releases happy endorphins which will help children feel happier, more confident and more positive. As children become more proficient at their dances their confidence in themselves and their ability will grow. They feel pride in their achievements.
Socialising with other children
As well as learning to dance as individuals children also learn the skills of dancing with a partner and a group. Through this they learn the importance of teamwork and co-dependence. Children learn how to interact appropriately with other children and are able to start building friendships.
In Part 2 of this article I will look at how we are able to incorporate all of these benefits into our Little Bear Feet classes.