Freeze Dance the Night Away

Guest Authored By Carolyn Stoesser, PT, DPT

There is nothing better than turning on a Disney playlist and watching a child light up. Incorporating music and dance into physical therapy sessions at Blue Bird Day creates a wonderful environment for self-expression and creativity. Sometimes, children can become discouraged by movement and exercise. Music and dance brings joy and confidence to exercise and movement. Here at Blue Bird Day, music is incorporated into various aspects of each child’s day, including circle timedance parties, and transitions. Although music and dance with pre-school aged children is not always structured, it provides an activity that incorporates motor movements, turn-taking with peers, and creativity.  

 

Dance-parties provide a structured way to learn challenging and difficult motor movements, including jumping jacks, galloping, crawling, hopping on one foot, and jumping with two feet forward. Freeze dance provides a child with the opportunity to pick a motor movement to perform with their peers. Your child may be excited by doing a windmill motion with an arm, and freeze dance gives them the opportunity to perform this movement and have other peers follow their lead. It teaches leadership, camaraderie, and turn-taking, all during one song. It also provides a great opportunity for the therapist to assist with upper extremity tasks to improve motor planning and coordination. During the remaining portions of a freeze dance song, the therapist can incorporate other movements that may be challenging for the child. If hopping on one foot is challenging, freeze dance may help alleviate some of the stress of learning how to perform this motion.  

Another favorite song and dance combination is “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” This is a wonderful game for identifying body parts, as well as incorporating stretching and movement into a song. This slower paced song also helps improve coordination and receptive language skills. Some other dance hits among Blue Bird Day classmates includes the hokey pokey, interpretive dancing to “You’re Welcome”, and the twist. These dance activities also provide a great release for daily frustration and the ability to regulate after longer seated therapeutic sessions. 

Aside from dance parties, music also assists with transitions and timing of daily tasks. A favorite activity for many therapists at Blue Bird Day includes singing about transition activities. This includes songs for “waiting by the wall,” “lining up at the door,” and “marching down the stairs.” Providing a specific rhythm, intonation, and tempo of each song provides a more structured guide for each child to follow directions. This form or music provides organization to difficult transitions. 

Music and dance provides a fun outlet for movement, exercise, and routines at Blue Bird Day. Each child appreciates and utilizes each song and dance in his/her own way. It provides regulation, stress relief, organization and joyIt is important to take time to listen and observe each child and therapist at Blue Bird Day. Behind each frustration there is also a joyful dance and a heart full of music.