BE the Bee, or the Bird

It was a delight to watch a classroom full of little buzzy bees swarming in a colorful beehive of scarves, then flying out to gather nectar from all the flowers, then darting back into the beehive, all in coordination with the classical music they are listening to.  This is not as part of a dance with specific steps, but rather exploring free expressive and creative movement while learning about the nature of these creatures.  This is one of my favorite type of Kindermusik activities, and one that can be easily repeated at home with family and friends.

This week in many of our family class adventures, we focused on creatures that fly, those that nest in trees (all different types of birds), as well as our little friends that fly to flowers (butterflies, bees, and ladybugs).  There are many ways to use these child friendly themes to expand a child’s learning experiences on several developmental areas:

We explored the opposing concepts of High and Low / Up and Down with our voice, with our bodies, with the sounds of the instruments, and in the music we listened to.

Our little ones (15 months to 4 years old) pretended to climbed up the tree to see the little eggs in the nest using the sounds of a Major octave, using our words “Up, Up, Up…”  I think the children really liked helping me make the sounds of the angry bird protecting her nest.  Then we went “Down… Down… Down…”.    Repeating such a fun short little story like this, when presented with interactive movements and sounds, makes for a multi-sensory experience that allows learning across all the developmental planes.

We are also expanding our child’s movement vocabulary, both through our actions and the words we use to describe them.  Most children know that these animals FLY, but as we watch these creatures, or pretend to BE these creatures, we recognize so many more types of movements that we can imitate.  It is easier to learn to move in these new ways as we connect it to something we are familiar with.  And in the process, our additional knowledge and ability to move in these ways expands our problem solving skills in other physical areas.  Here’s a good list of movement words based on these flying creatures:

  • Birds:  fly, swoop, glide, hop, peck, nestle
  • Butterflies:  Sway, flutter, float       As caterpillars:  Creep, roll, sleep, and spread wings
  • Bees:  Hover, dart, swarm, and do the wiggle waggle dance

Of course, these new words and actions are introduced as appropriate for the age and abilities for each child.  Little ones around 18 months old may only be exploring fly, hop, and nestle.  Whereas the older the child is, the more they can explore.

It is REALLY excellent when you start combining these new movements with the opposing concepts of High and Low…  Glide HIGH, then glide low.  Peck at the ground looking for worms, then peck up high on a tree like a woodpecker. Hover over a pretty flower, then dart back and swarm underneath the picnic table.  Enjoy making up little short stories about these creatures (like our bird and bee stories in class) to enhance the fun and set them up for successful repetitions they can remember and initiate on their own.

Throughout the rest of our adventures this summer, we will be introducing new opposing concepts, and the actions of more of our favorite creatures.  I look forward to our next buzzing adventures.

Please share how YOUR child likes to imitate creatures that fly?  Do they like the new wings they made in the art class to enhance their pretend play?

One comment

  1. Amy Foltz /

    My children love to pretend they are flies and bumblebees. They flap their wings and “buzz” each other!

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