Early Movement and Ballet Exercises for Toddlers

creative_movement1Dance schools normally start dance classes for young children at age 3, and from age 3-5 children are normally enrolled in a class called “Creative Movement”, which combines basic ballet positions and movements with periods of free expression and creative movement visualization exercises, and depending on the teacher, other styles of dance or activities to get the children started moving to music and working together.  Most toddler and preschool age children respond enthusiastically to music, so if your child is not yet 3 years old but you want her to get started with dance, or if you are still considering enrolling in a formal dance class, this will introduce you to some simple positions and moves to get her started that you can try in your own home.  The will help to develop motor skills and introduce basic ballet terminology.  You can work with any music that you and your child enjoy.

1. Stretching - Before any dance class, there will always be a short period of stretching to ensure that the dancers don’t  hurt themselves.  Toddlers are usually limber and will enjoy doing these simple stretches. It will help them maintain that limberness in their body as they grow older.  Don’t force any of these stretches, everything should feel comfortable for your toddler.Toe touches – Demonstrate how to sit on the floor with legs straight out in front.  Have your toddler try to touch her toes and encourage straight legs if possible.

 2. Creative Movements – Try some of the imaginative exercises below to help your child start moving creatively and challenging herself.

    1. Have your child imagine she is a frog by standing on all fours and hopping around the room.
    2. Have your child pretend she is popcorn kernels about to burst inside a popcorn machine. You can cont to three together and then jump like popcorn popping.
    1. Have her pretend she is a tree with branches swaying gently in the breeze
    2. Have her imagine she is a flower growing and opening in the sun. She can start on the floor and begin to stand up, slowly opening and raising her arms as the flower opens up. She can pretend her arms are the leaves and stretch up as high as she can, then open her arms wide as she imagines the sun opening the petals.

 3. Ballet Positions and Movements – For this portion, you will want to have a chair available that is sturdy enough for her to use as a ballet bar.  These activities will improve her balance and refine her motor skills and muscles.  You can also teach her the ballet terms as you do the activities.

 

Source – http://dance.about.com/od/ball2/ss/Teach-Your-Toddler-Ballet.htm