Creative movement activities toss all the conventional rules out the window and encourage toddlers to move their bodies freely. One minute your toddler is leaping into the air like a frog. The next she's swaying to the music with a scarf in her hand. Shake away your own inhibitions and get crazy with your own movements to encourage your toddler's creativity, expression and physical development.
Music naturally makes kids feel the urge to move. For a simple creative movement activity, turn on some music and let your toddler move around based on how the music makes her feel. Choosing a variety of music of varying speeds and beats encourages her to change how she moves. For example, an upbeat song will likely cause her to move around wildly while a slow, flowing song may naturally cause her to sway around the room. To make the activity a cultural experience, incorporate ethnic music from various cultures.
In this creative movement exercise, you provide some guidance but encourage your toddler to interpret the movements herself. For example, you might tell her to close her eyes and move like a tree in the breeze. Another option is to tell her to move in a particular way, such as in a happy or scared way. Instead of showing her how to move her arms and body, let her figure it out for herself. As your toddler gets used to the creative movement activities, she might take the initiative to think of her own actions or call out movements for you to do. To turn it into a game, play follow the leader with one person choosing the movements while everyone else follows.
Role playing with props adds a twist to the creative movement activities. For example, gather several costumes and let the kids dress up and move as the person or animal. While wearing a dog costume, your child might crawl around on the floor and bark like a dog. Scarves work well as creative movement props. Encourage your toddler to wave the scarf around to represent things like a fairy wand or fireman's hose.
When planning creative movement activities, spontaneity and a child-centered focus make the time enjoyable for your toddler. Forget about setting rules or telling your child how to move during any of the activities. She'll find her own groove as she sways to the music or embraces her inner cat. A CD player kept handy means you can do creative movement activities at any time. If you notice your toddler getting bored or causing problems, get her involved in creative movement to redirect her attention and engage her in a beneficial activity.