Classroom Tips

Teaching dance to children | Dance lesson plans & activities

If you are preparing to start a business teaching dance classes for kids, then you are likely passionate about the art of dance. Whether you are a professional dancer or just a long-time lover of the arts, knowing how to dance does not automatically make you ready to teach it. 

Teaching dance to children requires knowledge of how to write a lesson plan, what types of dance lesson plans are beneficial for different ages, and activities, games, and easy dance moves for kids to master. To help prepare you, we’ve outlined all of these elements and more so that you can turn your passion into a business and help children learn and grow through dance. And if you want to learn how to write a curriculum, check out our guide!

Benefits of dance for kids

Before you can begin teaching dance to children, it is important for you to understand the benefits of dance for kids. This knowledge is great to communicate to parents who are interested in booking classes with you because it shows them why dance classes are helpful for their child’s growth and development.

  1. Children work on balance, coordination, and endurance. Dance promotes physical development, stamina, strength, and muscle growth. This is one of the best benefits of dancing for toddlers because they are already working on better movement and coordination.
  2. Dance stimulates the brain. Interacting with music and rhythms helps children develop neurologically.
  3. Children develop better posture and flexibility. Dance encourages children to stand up straighter and stretch their bodies.
  4. Dance classes help children sleep better. A study found that children who were inactive took longer to fall asleep than those who were physically active. 
  5. Children learn empathy. Research has shown that dance classes help children accept one another and treat each other with respect.
  6. Dance is inclusive. A study showed that dance classes encouraged acceptance and inclusion of autistic students in a mainstream school.
  7. Dance can increase one's sense of self. Research demonstrates that children (and adolescents) who participate in dance classes showed stronger self-confidence, self-awareness, and self-trust.

Learn more about the benefits of kids dance classes, including the mental health benefits of dance classes, in our articles.

Photo of teaching dance to children

Dance lesson plans

Writing lesson plans is necessary for successful learning in the classroom. Not only do lesson plans help you, as the instructor, stay on track, but also they ensure that your students will learn effectively and efficiently. A strong lesson plan has a learning objective for the class, a list of the materials needed, the activities you will be doing and the time allotted for each one, and space for assessments and evaluations.

To help you plan your dance lesson plans, we’ve outlined some dance activities for preschoolers, toddler ballet class ideas, and learn to dance games. For more information on how to write a lesson plan, including lesson plan examples, read our guide.

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Dance activities for preschoolers & toddler ballet class ideas

Teaching little ones is a great practice in patience. You want to have activities and classes that will encourage learning and having fun at the same time. Here are some great dance activities for preschoolers and toddler ballet class ideas inspired by the classes currently being taught by our wonderful Sawyer providers!

Parent and child dancing

Young children benefit greatly from parent/caregiver and child interactive classes. Studies show that participating in activities as a family can help babies and toddlers learn important social skills from the adults and from other children in their class. Adult and child activities can take up a whole class or be interspersed throughout a semester. 

Storytime dancing

This is a great activity for any type of dance class. Have the children create dance moves or dance routines to act out a story you tell or one that they choose. Fairytales and popular children’s books are great options for this. Children will learn to be creative, explore their bodies, and have fun!

Movement exploration

To get the children active and having fun, incorporate other types of movement into your dance classes. Even if you are teaching toddler ballet classes, include some time for tumbling, running, jumping, and spinning so that the children can get the energy flowing and have fun with it!

Creative dancing

Toddlers are creative, imaginative, expressive, and love to explore being independent. One of the best ways to ensure they have fun in your class is to let them be themselves. We recommend starting or finishing your class with creative dancing time where the children can do whatever wiggles and squiggles they want as they discover rhythm and dance on their own. For more ways to incorporate Montessori techniques into your teaching, check out our guide.

Photo of dance activities for toddlers

Learn to dance games

Did you know that playing games can enhance learning? Here are some of our favorite learn to dance games that you can incorporate into your dance lesson plans so that children in your classes have fun and learn at the same time.

  1. The animal game. Call out the names of animals and have children act out the animal through dance. This is a great way to get them comfortable in their bodies and having fun in class.
  2. The feelings game. Like the animal game, except this time you call out the name of feelings and ask the children to create a dance that embodies that feeling. In this game, children will really need to connect their brain to their body.
  3. The high five game. Pair up the students and ask them to come up with a dance that incorporates high fives, claps, snaps, and other hand movements. Children will learn how to work with a partner as well as gain valuable knowledge about the importance of rhythm in dancing.
  4. Simon says. This is a great learn to dance game because children use imitation as one of their main ways of learning. In this game, stand in the front of the room and have them copy the dance poses that you do, as long as you say “Simon says.” If you don’t say it, they should remain still. When children get out, have them practice their favorite pose.
  5. Limbo. Since flexibility is such an important part of dance, having the children play limbo at the beginning of a class is a great way to stretch their bodies and get them excited for the rest of the activities.

Teaching dance to children is rewarding, fun, and exciting. After reading this article, you should feel more comfortable preparing dance lesson plans with great dance activities and games for children of all ages. If you are looking for guidance on managing and running your children’s education and activity business, the team at Sawyer is here to help. We work with educators  every day to save time on admin and spend more time doing what they love. See how it works with a free trial or demo today.

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