One of my favorite activities for getting children up and moving is to start with a wonderful book, add a little bit of imagination and a few movement prompts, and you have a ready-made lively and fun movement session. I have written about this many times in previous blog posts.
I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite books for dance stories for the autumn season, which have sparked creativity in children over and over. When you use these books as inspiration for movement, not only will you and the children have fun, you will be enhancing early literacy skills by reading the book, then moving and dancing to the stories. Through kinesthetic learning, the dance story activity reinforces sequencing, develops the children’s ability to identify with different characters, helps them to explore and learn about the setting and background, strengthens vocabulary acquisition, and nurtures many other valuable pre-literacy and early language skills. In addition, the children will have that all-important large motor activity time in which they can develop movement skills such as balance, body awareness, stamina, strength and flexibility, and coordination.
Late Summer/Early Fall:
In the Tall, Tall Grass, by Denise Fleming:
Children love the color, sounds and movement evoked in this beautiful story of life in the tall grass. Some of the movement suggestions are: wings flapping, snakes gliding, hummingbirds darting and dipping …
Barn Dance, by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault:
A dance teacher friend told me about this book years ago. Children love to dance this story. Prop suggestions: Bandanas for the children, orange paper plates on which the children draw pumpkin faces, felt apples. Music suggestion: Bluegrass instrumentals. This story can be developed into a wonderful classroom presentation for family and friends.
Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton: A fun book to use in conjunction with Barn Dance.
Books about leaves and the autumn season:
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert:
Tap the Magic Tree, by Christie Matheson.
Let It Fall, by Maryann Cocca-Leffler:
Leaves and trees inspire movement, and with the wind and rain in autumn, the leaves begin to fall to the ground. Twirling, swirling, falling, raking, jumping, these are all movements that can be woven into the stories.
Have fun with these dance stories!
Connie Bergstein Dow