The Benefits of Dance for Toddlers Part 2
In my last blog post I looked at the Benefits of Dance for toddlers. Today I am looking at how Little Bear Feet dance classes deliver all of those benefits in each class.
Physical activity and body awareness
Little Bear Feet classes are action packed. From the moment we start warming up with the Melody Bear Follow Round until we do our final stretches and say goodbye to Melody Bear, the children are always on the move.
Dance is wonderful for developing fine and gross motor skills. In our good toes/naughty toes and magic hands exercises we are aiming to get the children using their hands and feet thereby building strength and developing their fine motor skills. Many of the dances are based on the natural actions of the body such as running, walking, jumping and galloping which helps the children build their physical fitness as well as developing their gross motor skills.
As well as developing the natural actions of the body, many of the exercises we do introduce children to fundamental dance techniques. For example: walking on our tip toes in the Follow Round, simple stretches in the Stretching Song and transference of weight when we rock our teddies to sleep in Rock a Bye Baby.
Self expression and creativity
Little Bear Feet classes are all about allowing the children to express themselves and be creative. The Dance & Freeze warm up near the beginning of the class is designed specifically for this. The children can dance however they like without having to copy the teacher, it also helps each child settle into the class.
Being able to express and understand their feelings and emotions is also important for children; during our Miss Muffet dance we run and hide from the spider but then with the help of the teddy bears we are very brave and scare the spider away.
One of my favourite ways of allowing the children to express themselves is when we use the props. The children's faces come alive as they explore the space around them whilst running with scarves, rolling or crawling through hula hoops and playing away on their instruments in the Melody Bear Band.
Education and learning
Little Bear Feet classes are all about having fun, but the children are still encouraged to listen to what I say or the other children in the class. Using props teaches children the importance of sharing.
Children also get the opportunity to problem solve. For instance when the teddy bears have fallen off the wall during Humpty Dumpty and have hurt themselves, the children decide to take them to see the doctor and then they decide where teddy hurts and they bandage them up to make them feel better.
An important part of Little Bear Feet classes is the variety of music and nursery rhymes used. The repetition of rhymes and stories as well as singing along to the nursery rhymes helps to develop a child's language and enhance their vocabulary.
Self-esteem and confidence
For me one of the best aspects of Little Bear Feet classes is the confidence it builds in the children. To watch the transformation of the child who comes in on their first lesson shy and clinging to mum but within a few weeks is happily dancing around independently and galloping across the floor with me. Or to listen to mum telling me about how their child goes home and practices their dances with their teddies or wants to teach daddy how to do 'good toes/naughty toes'!
I am also delighted that our classes provide a valuable opportunity for parent and child bonding. I love seeing parent and child spinning around together, rowing in their boats together or falling on the floor together in Humpty Dumpty (and it makes for a great workout mums and dads)!
Socialising with other children
As well as learning to dance as individuals, many of the exercises introduce children to dancing with a partner and in a group. This is particularly evident during our chosen nursery rhyme where we might gallop around altogether in a big circle. Through this the children learn the importance of teamwork and co-dependence.
When galloping one at a time from the corner or jumping on the coloured stepping stones children learn to wait their turn, how to interact appropriately with other children and are able to start building friendships.
As you can see we really do have lots and lots of fun!! So if you haven't tried a class with your little one yet, what are you waiting for?!
Sign up for your free trial today and discover the joy of a Little Bear Feet dance class!