July 2018 Newsletter – Performing Arts in ECE: Preschool Activity Ideas

Performing arts are usually included in early learning environments.  Perhaps you are looking for some new ideas to expand on what you are currently doing.   Some of these suggestions would be better for small groups and others would work for large group activities.

  • Fabric dancing – Introduce a variety of different fabrics to dance time. Encourage children to use fabrics in different ways and to compare and contrast how the fabrics behave when moved to the music.
  • Adapt popular games – Vary the rules to favorite games to make them more challenging. For example, when playing freeze dance, rather than the children freezing when the music stops, then can freeze when they hear drums playing in the song.  Involve the children in changing up the rules.
  • Role plays – use role-playing to help children create solutions to common preschool challenges such as sharing materials, making friends, and being cooperative. Ask two children to pretend to have a challenging interaction.  Ask them to freeze at the point of conflict, then ask the other children to come up with possible solutions.
  • Act out favorite stories – Introduce a variety of materials that promote acting out familiar stories. Include puppets, felt pieces, dolls, laminated cut-outs of characters, story stones, etc.
  • Emotions Dice – Create a die that contains different emotions on each face. Have children roll the die, then act out the emotion that they roll.  You can add different scenarios and more complex emotions as children develop their skills.  For example, you could add another die with the names of animals on them, which may result in a child acting out an excited elephant or a sad snake.
  • Storytelling and Playacting – Encourage children to make up their own stories and then act them out with a cast of their peers or with puppets. You could use interesting pictures, famous paintings, or random photographs as story prompts.
  • Sound walls – Create a sound wall with recycles pots and pans on the playground. Provide a variety of drumsticks and types of metal for children to explore.
  • Theme or project related drama – Be sure to change up the materials in the dramatic play area to reflect the theme or project that you are exploring with the children. Change the dramatic play area into an airport, animal hospital, or farm.
  • Outdoor theater – Establish a space on your playground for a stage. Provide costumes and props that children can use outside to engage in dramatic play.
  • Art stories – Capture the stories behind children’s artwork. encourage children to act out these stories with their peers. An excellent resource that shows how this can be done in early learning environments is Vivian Gussin Paley’s book, The Boy Who Would be a Helicopter.

Check out more ideas on our Pinterest page here!

For the Main Article on Performing Arts in ECE, CLICK HERE.

For Infant and Toddler Activity Ideas, CLICK HERE.

For School-Age Activity Ideas, CLICK HERE.

For Director’s Corner Activity Ideas, CLICK HERE.