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Overview and benefit
Children will be learning a series of songs that each focus on using a particular piece of equipment. The aim is for the children to learn rhythmic movements using the equipment that will help to build rhythm, motor skills, sequencing skills and coordination using a specially designed song. Each song will be learnt over two weeks to give the children the opportunity to master it. This element should not replace the normal props element as it focuses on learning a dance routine with props as opposed to the more free flowing props element.
I like shaking my Pom Poms
Shake it Shake it
- Music tracks
- Chosen equipment from the following list
- Ribbons – ideally 1 for each hand per child
- Pom Poms – 1 pom pom per child is fine
- Shakers – 1 per child
- Bean Bags – 1 per child
- Castanets – 1 per child
- Parachute – large enough for a class of 16 children
How it works
The children will all have the same piece of equipment matched with the relevant song. Instructor will lead the class, demonstrating the moves as the songs plays.
What to do in the class
Before the song starts, brief the parents on what the song is trying to achieve in terms of building rhythm, sequencing skills and motor skills. Distribute the chosen prop to all the children. Lead the children to the chosen song. You may like to do the song twice so that the children really get the moves. Encourage keeping in time with the music and nice big movements from the children.
These songs work really well at parties as the props are exciting and they get even the shyest children involved! They are also a really popular Discovery Time element. They work best when you spend 2 to 3 weeks on each song before moving onto the next, as recapping is key to the success of them.
Practice the jumping feet wide and then together during the intro as its quite difficult for children to do once the song has started if they are not clear.
When singing ‘do you think its funny’ and it can fun to shake the shakers by your bottom – the children really enjoy it! Take three weeks per song so the children can learn and enjoy each one. Texture is important in a class, so remember to vary your song tempos when planning.
Shake it Shake it
A shaker song using lots of positional words, shake it forward backwards and in between!
Can be done standing or sitting. Get the children to count – 1,2,3,4 – in the intro so they get the idea before the song starts. Get them to count as they tap. Getting the children to make really big actions on the slower beats helps them to adapt to the change in pace. On the slower ‘1, 2’ make the moves big ‘like a crocodile’ to help slow the children down.
Getting the children to stamp their feet whilst counting can really help – it reinforces the flamenco feel and helps the children feel the beat. On the musical interlude you could turn around, taping your castanets up high, like a flamenco dancer – you can even shout ‘Oh lay!’
Make sure you tell the children and parents that this song is all about working together and that you wont be using the parachute in the normal way, so they have to listen very carefully to the instructions. Otherwise all the children will start trying to get under it or shaking it as they normally do. Keep the parachute turning in the same direction during the song or it can get confusing.
Ralph the Pirate
An alternative parachute song is Ralph the Pirate. This song uses lots of positional words to describe Ralph’s adventure’s on the seven seas while acting out the adventure with the parachute.
This can be the hardest of the songs because it is slower, but it provides a really nice contrast to the rest, so worth doing.
Some instructors have used the choreography but set it to other music such as Pocahontas- Colours of the Wind (for a slow and lilting dance) or Paolo Nutini’s Pencil Full of Lead (for an upbeat dance).