This game is based on the freeze dance, gives children a chance to move and be still, observe and imitate, listen and express.
Overview: Children dance around and freeze when the music stops. Teacher chooses a student (or a few) to make a movement, a noise, an expression and the rest of the class imitates.
Songs they love – You can always use the freeze dance song, an action song like Shake Your Sillies Out, Walking Walking, or any pop song they know (Kidz Bop has sanitized versions) to let them dance, freeze, and then choose a student/students to make a movement that everyone gets to imitate. Teacher should model first and then have a student model.
Fast/Slow – One option is to choose a few different tempos of music and ask children to dance either fast or slow depending on what the music is telling their bodies to do. This gives children a chance to learn about tempos, as well as connect sound, feeling, movement, and emotional expression. Here are sample songs (all available on Spotify):
Piano Sonata No.14 in C, Beethoven
Flight of the Bumblebee, Rachmaninoff
Four Seasons, Winter: III Allegro, Vivaldi
Eye of the Tiger, Rocky
Reuben’s Banjo, Pine Tree String Band
Black Mountain Rag, Eddie Adcock
The Turkish March, Mozart
Floating on a Cloud, Craig Wingrove
La Traviata, Verdi
Don’t Cry, Guns and Roses
The Swan, Carnival of the Animals, Yo Yo Ma
Feelings – You can choose different feelings of music – lullabies, songs in minor chords, marching band music, heavy metal, classical violins – and ask the children to show what feeling the music brings up for them. They may start to yell “that’s sad!” or “that’s happy” and you can respond with “Don’t tell me, show me – show me with your body and your face!” There’s no right or wrong feeling for the song – some kids think the slow “sad” ones feel very crazy and wiggly. Songs I like for this (all songs available on Spotify):
The Flight of the Bumblebee, Sergei Rachmaninoff
Don’t Worry Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin
The Turkish March, Mozart
We Shall Overcome, Selma Soundtrack
Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, Paul Simon
Not Alone, Patty Griffin
Hey Ya! Radio Mix, OutKast
Worlds Apart, Joshua Radin
One Week, Barenaked Ladies
Percussion instruments – Teacher can use three different percussion instruments and assign a corresponding movement to each instrument. “When I play the drum, march.” Give them a chance to practice with the drum. “When I play the maraca, crawl.” “When I play the bell, jump.” Mix the order in which you play the instruments in order to challenge them to listen and remember.
Don’t forget to let them freeze and make a movement or noise that the rest of the class can imitate. As you can see, this game can be played over and over in so many different ways. Gives them a chance to observe, listen, imitate, move and play!