The Shape Game: A Dance Game for 6-8 Year Olds
Young kids may love playing games in dance class, but if you’re a teacher and you’re like me, it probably bugs you a little to waste 5-10 minutes of class time on something unproductive. The parents are paying for their kids to be educated, right? Leave the games to babysitters!
Okay, I’m not that hard core with the little ones, but you know the feeling, right?
Well, here is my go-to game for dancers age 6-8. I love it for several reasons:
- It works for most genres of dance.
- You can make the game short or long depending on their attention spans and how much extra time you have.
- It builds creative thinking skills.
- The children learn to watch and evaluate dance movement without judging “good” or “bad.”
- It builds confidence in their creative choices.
- It enforces basic composition skills: creating movement with an audience in mind.
“The Shape Game”
The premise is simple. Each child first thinks of a shape, without telling anyone what shape they’re thinking of. (It can be limited to squares, circles, etc. or you can branch out and allow letters, numbers, or even things.) Then you give them some time to practice walking in their shape. So if their shape is a square for example, they would walk in a square.
Have them practice all at once so no one sees each other’s shape. When they’re done, have them stand by the mirror. Pick someone to go first and have her walk her shape in the middle of the room while the others watch. When she’s done, have the class guess what shape it was. (If they don’t get it after a few guesses, have the dancer tell them.)
From there, just give each child a turn to show their shape. You can even do a shape of your own if you want to give them a challenge (or if no one’s been able to guess any and you want to give them some confidence).
See? It’s simple, and it’s a great time filler because everyone takes turns. If you have a small group and you need to fill more time, consider adding part 2.
Part 2, or a variation of part 1
Now that the kids have walked their shapes, have them add movement. You can put whatever restrictions on the movement you want. Maybe it can only be ballet steps, or it has to include both high level and low level movement. For example, if your shape was a square, you could chasse down one side, chaine down the next, etc. Or you could chasse the whole thing.
Then put on some music and have each child perform their shape. Clap after each one to practice being a good audience!
I’ve done this game with my 2nd-3rd grade ballet class many times, and they love it. It’s an excellent game to play when you’ve still got 5-10 minutes of class and you’ve already exhausted all your other options.
What games do you play with your students? What are your thoughts on fun vs. educational classroom games? Let’s discuss in the comments!