Movement and Music!

Guest Authored By Stephanie Barkan, PT, DPT

Physical activity is an important component of your child’s development and keeps their heart, lungs, and bones healthy. Music is a wonderful and motivating way to get your child moving. Incorporating your child’s favorite songs will help them see moving as fun and lead to the development of healthy habits for life!

Moving while singing along or listening to songs also helps pair your child’s language and motor systems to further develop their skills. These activities also require no additional equipment as many fun movement songs can be found on Youtube*, and all you need is your body to get moving!

*While your child may enjoy watching the videos at first, it is recommended that you practice moving along while listening – rather than just watching – to limit screen time and encourage improved body awareness and initiation of movement.

Some excellent songs to work on movement, coordination, and body awareness include:

  • Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes: This song works for both younger and older children. It is an excellent way to learn different parts of the body and improve motor coordination. For older children, you can sing the words out of order for an added challenge!
  • If You’re Happy and You Know It: This is an excellent song for younger children to work on basic body awareness as it incorporates clapping, stomping, and jumping.
  • We Are the Dinosaurs/The Ants Go Marching: Work on your child’s marching skills to improve strength, postural control, and coordination as they march around the house.
  • Shake Your Sillies Out: This song includes a variety of movement skills, such as clapping, jumping, jogging, and reaching to work on motor planning, bilateral coordination, strength, and direction following. It is also an excellent way for your child to get some extra energy out prior to working on more seated tasks (mealtime, homework, etc).
  • Five Little Monkeys: This is a favorite for many children. Dance to this song to improve leg strength and jumping. You can even crash into a pile of pillows/cushions as they “fall off the bed” for added sensory input.
  • The Hokey Pokey: This is an excellent song to progress to from basic body movements. It encourages children to learn their left from their right and in versus out. Again, this is a great song to help with understanding language. You can use visuals to differentiate left from right or in from out as your child is learning these.

Finally, you can play freeze dance with your child to get them active and moving and work on direction following. Freezing in silly positions also works on stability and strength!