Practice Language Skills with a Dance Map!

It can take a little work to make learning fun, but when go that extra step, the outcome is always rewarding.  When children have fun, it is easier to learn and usually makes a stronger impression on them in my experience.  This exercise takes my children’s love of dance to a whole new level!

A valuable part of writing and expression is learning to use descriptive language. Work with your child to create fun adjectives and movement combinations. When you’re finished, your child’s word pairs will make a unique dance map, which he’ll be able to use to make up his very own dance! Help your child expand and reinforce his vocabulary and literary skills with this fun activity that will get his mind and body moving!

What You Need:

  • 2 8.5″ x 11″ sheets of paper
  • Pencil or crayon
  • Some space to move!

What You Do:

  1. Draw a line down the middle of one sheet of paper. Write “WHAT” at the top of one section and write “HOW” at the top of the other section.
  2. Number 1-8 in each section.
  3. For the “WHAT” section, work with your child to make a list of eight different kinds of movement – jump, slide, melt, turn, stretch, hop, roll, and skip are some examples.
  4. For the “HOW” section, create a list of eight adjectives that will show how the movement can be done. Each ‘how’ word will pair with the ‘what’ word on the opposite side. Encourage creative thinking – word pairs such as “shy turn” or “silly walk” make for memorable dances!
  5. Take the second sheet of paper and fold in half lengthwise. Fold again, this time top to bottom. Fold once more, again top to bottom. Unfold the paper and you will have eight squares.
  6. Turn the paper horizontally, so there are four squares going along the top and four squares along the bottom. Help your child write the movement pairs from his list in the squares. He may put the pairs in any order on your map.
  7. He now has a map to lead him in creating his very own dance! Have fun stringing the movements together. Take turns making a movement, or create separate dances with the same words. He can read the map differently each time by reading the word pairs in different orders to create a new dance every time you read!
  8. Finally, in order to fully solidify what your child has learned during this activity, discuss with him how each person’s movements may be similar or different.

Here are some activity enhancers that you can incorporate into this activity to make things a little bit more challenging and interesting:

  • ask for all adjectives to begin with a certain letter
  • use vocabulary words or spelling words for ideas
  • have him illustrate each square showing the movement created

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