We have what we loosely refer to as a “Songs and Dance” session at the beginning of the day before our mat session. We like to incorporate some kind of gross motor movement with as many songs as possible. Not only does this get the jiggles out and allow the children to be ready to engage in the mat session but it also enhances their gross motor development.
One of our favourite songs at Kindy is Five Grey Elephants. I think one of the things that makes it so much fun is that I made up some simple marionette puppets from elephant plush toys. I bought these elephants at Big W as they were the cutest things ever! As soon as I saw them I knew they’d be perfect for this song. A teeny bit of sewing, some dowel and some string and there you go, instant marionette puppets.
We had a piece of orange string that we’d walk along. The first child would bounce their elephant puppet along the line walking back and forth to the words of the music. The song pauses long enough between the next elephant for the preceding child to call the next one. I like to get them to say, “Hey, come on _____. Join in.” or something along those lines. It’s a great way to get the children to learn each other’s names. It’s also is a good starter for a conversation on how easy it is to get someone to come and play with you.
The children’s favourite part of the song is when the string breaks and they get to make their elephants fall over. This takes quite a bit of puppetry skill and I always like to tell them how clever they are to make their elephants fall over.
If you’re not familiar with this song you can see it in action below.