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Halloween Brain Play™: Swing Little Skeleton

Wondering how you can add vestibular input to your BrainDance™ warmup? Check out our Halloween Brain Play™ Swing Little Skeleton!

Fall is here and with it our Halloween Brain Moves Series 🎃

Brain Play™ and narrative BrainDance™ is a quick and easy way to effectively warm up the body, whether you’re in the dance studio or classroom. Our Halloween-themed resources include activities that focus on breath, tactile input, core-distal, head-tail, upper-lower, body sides, cross-lateral and vestibular input.

Swing Little Skeleton

The ‘Swing Little Skeleton’ song is a fun, creative way to incorporate vestibular input into your Brain Play™ warm-up. Our vestibular system coordinates balance and spatial orientation and lives in our inner ear. This system is one of the first to develop in utero and is activated by the movement of the mother’s body.

The ‘Swing Little Skeleton’ activity utilizes swinging, rocking and spinning movements that ignite the vestibular system in this imaginative, playful Brain Play™ activity!

Why BrainDance™ and Brain Play™?

Brain Play™ and the BrainDance™ patterns mirror the development of the brain and motor skills that babies and toddlers progress through on their way to becoming mature movers. By practicing these fundamental movements, we strengthen the body’s internal support for both every day and more complex movements.

Moving through the BrainDance™ patterns help fill in developmental gaps, provides sensory integration, rewires the nervous system and reorganizes connections to the brain.

You can learn more about Anne Green Gilbert’s BrainDance™ here.

Learn more about what makes Intellidance® unique

The foundation of the Intellidance® Method is the combination of dance and music concepts, identifying specific vocabulary in dance and music, and developing the understanding of both through the connection between concepts. These connected concepts provide opportunities for children to explore, discover, practice, and create using multiple senses and intelligences. This is what makes the Intellidance® Method so unique!

Interested in learning more? Check out our website and subscribe to our YouTube Channel to learn more about the Intellidance® Method.

Learning Students’ Names

Do you struggle to learn the names of your students? It can definitely be a real challenge! Depending on the class load and studio size, it’s not uncommon for teachers to need to learn anywhere from 10-300 new names of students each fall! So, what’s the secret to learning names quickly?

SING to learn your students’ names!

We recommend starting each of your early childhood classes with a Welcome Song! This is where you sing hello to each student, using beat and simple movements to guide the song. Combining music, movement, rhythm and language creates an ideal environment for the brain to learn new names!

The Intellidance® adaptation of a Welcome Song uses the familiar tune of Frere Jacques:

Stand up (child’s name), Stand up (child’s name)

Stand up (child’s name), Stand up (child’s name)

Reach up to the sky now,

Reach up very high now,

Now sit down, now sit down.

You can also change the words “Stand Up” to “Hello”!

Brain Science!

Why use a familiar melody as your Hello song? It is much easier for the brain to learn something new within the context of something familiar! Rather than the brain needing to remember a new melody AND new names (requiring two new neural pathways to be created), it can use established knowledge (a previously existing neural pathway, AKA the familiar melody) and link this to new information!

Not only does this support you as the teacher in learning new names, but it will also support the little ones learning (and their caregivers in parented programs).

Interesting Research

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh conducted a study on the relationship between music and remembering a foreign language. They found that remembering words in a song was the best way to remember even some of the most difficult languages. If music supports learning an entirely new language, it definitely will support you in learning your students’ names!

Learn more about what makes Intellidance® unique

The foundation of the Intellidance® Method is the combination of dance and music concepts, identifying specific vocabulary in dance and music, and developing the understanding of both through the connection between concepts. These connected concepts provide opportunities for children to explore, discover, practice, and create using multiple senses and intelligences. This is what makes the Intellidance® Method so unique!
Interested in learning more? Check out our website and subscribe to our YouTube Channel to learn more about the Intellidance® Method.

Playlist: Moving Through Literacy

Picture books can be a great addition to any dance or music classroom! Using beloved children’s books as part of your lesson plans can help students learn concepts like Body Parts, Emotions and Locomotor Movement Skills. Check out our “Moving Through Literacy” Spotify Playlist for music inspiration to play along with your favorite books!

Just click on the play button in the top left-hand corner to open the playlist in Spotify.

From Head to Toe

One book we love to use during the unit on Body is From Head to Toe by Eric Carle!

Here’s why we love it: Young children are fascinated by their own bodies. Every day they are discovering all the different ways their bodies can move them through life. When provided with the opportunity to explore WHAT their bodies can do, educators can support developing body positivity in the classroom.

Through simple prose and Carle’s signature illustrations, this book invites young children to make shapes and move like different animals, using their own body parts!
As you read, encourage your students to use their body parts to make a shape that matches the illustrations in the book. Each page ends with “Can you do it?” “I can do it!”, so once each child has mastered the shape, have them all say “I can do it!”. This is a great way to boost their confidence as movers!

The Way I Feel

One of our favorite books for exploring emotions with children between the ages of 3-6 is The Way I Feel by Janan Cain!

Here’s why we love it: Dance provides a kinaesthetic way for children to explore and express their emotions. And let’s be honest, it’s been a year (or two) where we are all experiencing BIG feelings ❤️

In this sweet rhyming storybook, children are introduced to a wide variety of emotions alongside language and imagery that can be explored physically!
Try playing different sections of instrumental music I have selected to match each emotion in the book.
After listening to a section of music we discuss which feeling the music could be representing and why.
Finally, explore dancing each emotion from the book with the music! As the children are dancing, call out specific concepts that match the emotions they are dancing to. For example, ” I see dancers moving with strong, sharp bodies. My body feels strong and sharp when I am angry too!”

Barnyard Dance

One book I love to use to help introduce locomotor and non-locomotor movements is Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton! 

Here’s why we love it: This book is full of fun movements for your little ones to try along with the farm animals as you read. “Bounce with the bunny” “Strut with the duck!” “Prance with the horses!” “Skitter with the mice!” Barnyard Dance is a great book to practice skill development and can help our students build a vast movement vocabulary.

Happy Dancing!

Learn more about what makes Intellidance® unique

The foundation of the Intellidance® Method is the combination of dance and music concepts, identifying specific vocabulary in dance and music, and developing the understanding of both through the connection between concepts. These connected concepts provide opportunities for children to explore, discover, practice, and create using multiple senses and intelligences. This is what makes the Intellidance® Method so unique!

Interested in learning more? Check out our website to continue reading about Intellidance® Method.

“Get to Know Me” Activity Sheet Download

A new dance season is quickly approaching! The beginning of a new season is always so exciting. Meeting new students and families, creating new ideas, using new music and feeling new energy circulating the studio are just a few wonderful things a fresh season brings. But, sometimes we need a little help along the way. Have you found yourself searching for new ways to get to know your dancers? Look no further!

We’ve created a “Get to Know Me” activity sheet to help learn a little more about your dancers, new and old! Click the image below to get your PDF download.

Intellidance Get to Know You Activity Sheet
Click the image to download your PDF!

Have your students complete the activity sheet in class and hang them up for all to see. This is a great way for you to learn about favorite songs (great for free dance ideas!), how dancing makes your students feel and why they love coming to class. Dancers love seeing their creations displayed and parents always enjoy sharing fun tidbits about their children.

Enjoy!

Looking for more fun activity sheets?

Check out this Obstacle Course Connect the Dots activity sheet and Where are the Bees coloring page.

Learn more about what makes Intellidance® unique

The foundation of the Intellidance® Method is the combination of dance and music concepts, identifying specific vocabulary in dance and music, and developing the understanding of both through the connection between concepts. These connected concepts provide opportunities for children to explore, discover, practice, and create using multiple senses and intelligences, creating long lasting positive outcomes later in life. This is what makes the Intellidance® Method so unique!

Interested in learning more? Check out our website to continue reading about Intellidance® Method.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for additional activity ideas.

Hokey Pokey BrainDance™

Classic children’s songs are great to use and modify for BrainDance™ warm-ups and movement breaks. Check out this week’s video share of the Hokey Pokey BrainDance™!

BrainDance™

If there is ONE thing we’d love to see in every classroom daily it would be BRAINDANCE™!

Do you use BrainDance™ in your classes? We love using classic children’s songs such as the Hokey Pokey to introduce children ages 3-6 to the 8 movement patterns in BrainDance. This version works well in dance, music, preschool and Kindergarten classrooms.

Anne Green Gilbert

BrainDance™, created by Anne Green Gilbert, is a series of 8 developmental movement patterns that integrate the brain and body. The BrainDance™ Hokey Pokey presented by Intellidance®️ provides children ages 3-8 with a fun way to warm up or as a movement break after sedentary periods in school or as a warm-up in dance class. Read more about Anne Green Gilbert here.

More BrainDance™!

Check out this blog post to learn more about BrainDance™ and why it’s vital for our students. Looking for more BrainDance™ activities? Take a look (and subscribe!) at our YouTube channel for a variety of BrainDance™ songs, poems and narratives.

Learn more about what makes Intellidance® unique

The foundation of the Intellidance® Method is the combination of dance and music concepts, identifying specific vocabulary in dance and music, and developing the understanding of both through the connection between concepts. These connected concepts provide opportunities for children to explore, discover, practice, and create using multiple senses and intelligences, creating long lasting positive outcomes later in life. This is what makes the Intellidance® Method so unique!

Interested in learning more? Check out our website to continue reading about Intellidance® Method.

3 Marketing Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

There are 3 BIG MISTAKES studio owners and dance teachers make in their parent and tot classes that are dramatically limiting their program’s success and growth.

1. Marketing Program Product vs Program Process

Pictures of sweet preschoolers in perfectly posed Tutus may seem like the perfect way to market your early childhood dance programs, but in fact, it could be the very thing stopping parents from giving your program or studio a try.

Unrealistic Expectations

Images that show perfectly posed dancers set unrealistic expectations. Many parents look at these pictures and think

“What if my child…”

  • Won’t sit still
  • Doesn’t listen
  • Can’t keep up
  • Won’t participate
  • Doesn’t like wearing a leotard/tights/ballet slippers/hair in a bun/etc.

This can cause parents anxiety and, ultimately, discourage them from attending your class.

Most parents know that perfectly posed ANYTHING at this age is unrealistic, and may even question the studio’s unrealistic expectations.

Doesn’t show the learning journey

Perfectly posed images fail to show the learning journey and provide a limited view of dance. First off, these photos display a very ballet-centric world of dance versus the creative and exploratory concepts we utilize in class.

Second, there are some gender issues that need to be addressed. Most images exclude boys (and we all know that boys dance, period), and ignore the girls who love to dance but don’t like wearing tutus or ballet.

Third, inclusion. There are families in which the caregiver is a grandparent, aunt/uncle, babysitter, etc. And, there are families that can’t purchase a leotard and tights due to financial constraints. We want to be sensitive to these very common issues and ensure we’re including all types of families regardless of their family structure.

Solution: Market your PROCESS

Instead of showcasing the product, show the PROCESS!

  • Capture the feeling, not the pose
  • Feature caregivers as much as children
  • Learning is about the journey, not the destination
  • Describe the benefits that move beyond the dance class
  • Feature REAL families

2. Teaching the kids, but not the caregivers

Did you know: Kids under 3 years view their caregiver as their #1 teacher. By not involving caregivers, we are not meeting kids where they are. If a child sees their caregivers not engaged in class, they will follow suit. This can lead to our students tuning out and cause more classroom management issues. Ultimately, decreased engagement = decreased retention.

Solution: Empower the caregivers

  • We facilitate the caregivers and they facilitate their kids.
  • Empower through education.
  • Clarify YOUR role (to educate them, facilitate the activity and learning environment + differentiate support options for learning).
  • Give specific jobs to caregivers to increase confidence (if your child isn’t walking, hold them in your arms to feel start/stop – if they do walk, hold their hands).

3. Cotton Candy and Brussels Sprouts

No, we’re not talking about the foods. We’re talking about activities! Brussels Sprout activities are not play-based. They focus on or are dependent on the teacher and can’t be recreated without them. They are mainly physical-domain focused, usually have only 1 correct outcome and have limited differentiation.

On the other hand, we have Cotton Candy activities. These are the activities that only focus on fun. They typically have limited connections to the lesson plan and learning objectives. They tend to be too easy and can cause regulation and sensory challenges.

Solution: FUN on purpose

So, where’s the middle ground? Creating activities that are fun on purpose!

FUN is a learning modality!

  • Play is how kids learn
  • Play is collaborative
  • Play is brain-compatible (positive – which opens neuropathways)
  • Play is multi-sensory and holistic
  • Play focuses on process and possibilities

PURPOSE is your intention in every activity. Consider who, what, where and why when putting together your activities for class:

  • WHY are we engaging the child in this activity
  • WHAT are the overall learning objectives
  • HOW does it support the child (physical, cognitive, social-emotional)
  • WHAT does learning look like (VAK)
  • WHERE is the activity headed

By providing FUN on purpose, empowering your caregivers and marketing process over product, you’ll increase confidence, expertise and satisfaction all while accelerating your business profitability and success!

Learn more about what makes Intellidance® unique

The foundation of the Intellidance® Method is the combination of dance and music concepts, identifying specific vocabulary in dance and music, and developing the understanding of both through the connection between concepts. These connected concepts provide opportunities for children to explore, discover, practice, and create using multiple senses and intelligences. This is what makes the Intellidance® Method so unique!

Interested in learning more? Check out our website to continue reading about Intellidance® Method.

Playlist: Dance Party Time!

Why fight the wiggles? Have a dance party instead! Check out this new Dance Party Time Spotify Playlist created by Certified Intellidance® Instructor and Advisory Board Member, Liahona Walus.

Spotify Playlist, intellidance written in orange and blue. Orange circle with white disco ball and stars. There are two cartoon children, a boy and a girl, dancing under the disco ball. Dance Party Time! Is written in bold orange letters.

Just click on the play button in the top left-hand corner to open the playlist in Spotify. Happy dancing!

Let your students dance!

Dance parties are one of our quick, go-to regulation activities! Asking our dancers to sit still and listen won’t regulate the wiggles. If we want children to find stillness, we need to let them MOVE! Just throw on an upbeat song, turn on your party light and let your students DANCE! After 3-4 minutes of vigorous, physical self-expression they are ready to return their focus to our learning goals because we’ve met their sensory needs.

Learn more about what makes Intellidance® unique

The foundation of the Intellidance® Method is the combination of dance and music concepts, identifying specific vocabulary in dance and music, and developing the understanding of both through the connection between concepts. These connected concepts provide opportunities for children to explore, discover, practice, and create using multiple senses and intelligences. This is what makes the Intellidance® Method so unique!

Interested in learning more? Check out our website to continue reading about Intellidance® Method.

Baby Brain Play™

Cuddles, snuggles and tickles are all an important part of infant development. Baby Brain Play™ supports infant neuro expansion while incorporating all of the snuggles and cuddles babies need. Moving through these simple songs and rhymes increases the caregiver-child bond and is fun on PURPOSE!

What is Brain Play™?

Developed by dance educator, Anne Green Gilbert (M. Ed), the BrainDance™ is based on eight movement patterns we go through in the first year of life through infant reflexes and floor play. These developmental movement patterns help connect the brain and body. You can learn more about BrainDance™ in our previous blog post here.

Baby Brain Play™ activities are designed to support an infant’s body awareness and coordination, assist with early brain development, and support language and literacy skills. This is an infant-specific adaptation of the practices of Anne Green Gilbert’s BrainDance and Laban’s Bartenieff Fundamentals.

Keep the beat!

Rhythmic movement begins in infancy. After learning how to identify the beat, babies will naturally work on the ability to move to the beat. Exposure to a steady beat in music teaches babies how to purposefully move their bodies by using the time between each beat to move their limbs or bodies at a faster or slower speed. This supports body awareness, control and coordination – all skills that promote proprioception (aka knowing how and where our bodies are positioned). Beat can help babies learn to move with intention!

Baby Brain Play™ Video

The Baby Brain Play™ video showcases three different Brain Play™ activities: Pat-a-Cake, Buckle My Shoe and London Bridges. Pat-a-Cake focuses on the Upper Body movement pattern, while Buckle My Shoe uses just the Lower Body. Organization of the upper and lower body allows babies to move their upper and lower body limbs independently or in synchronization. Grounding the upper or lower body also promotes emotional stability.

London Bridges takes the babies through the movement pattern of Body Sides. Moving body sides balance the body so that both the right and left sides have equal strength and mobility, and supports horizontal eye tracking.

Are you looking for more FUN on purpose?

Visit and Subscribe to our YouTube channel for hundreds of activities!

Learn more about what makes Intellidance® unique

The foundation of the Intellidance® Method is the combination of dance and music concepts, identifying specific vocabulary in dance and music, and developing the understanding of both through the connection between concepts. These connected concepts provide opportunities for children to explore, discover, practice, and create using multiple senses and intelligences. This is what makes the Intellidance® Method so unique!

Interested in learning more? Check out our website to continue reading about Intellidance® Method.

Obstacle Course Connect the Dots

Did you read last week’s post about reversing your obstacle course? The benefits speak for themselves! Between balancing physical strength to flexing spatial awareness skills, we have no doubt your students will love the challenge. Check out this week’s coordinating obstacle course activity page! Just click on the image to download your PDF.

Benefits of Connect the Dot Activities

Connect the dot activities help:

  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Teach the alphabet and numbers
  • Foster creativity and drawing skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Engage students in the learning process

Are you looking for more FUN on purpose?

Visit our YouTube channel for hundreds of activities

Intellidance® is an international early childhood dance and music program that combines movement, music, rhymes and sensory activities to support children as they grow! From tummy time to dancing on their own, Intellidance® promotes brain and body development. Our certified teachers strive to nurture young families through our FUN on purpose methodology.

Find a certified Intellidance® instructor near you.

Get certified in the Intellidance® Method.

Reverse the Obstacle Course

If you utilize obstacle courses in your early childhood music and dance classes, (which we highly recommend you do!), partway through, have your class switch the direction they are moving around the obstacle course.

Balancing Skills

Reversing the direction supports children in working on balancing skills on both the right side and the left side of their bodies.

For example: rolling along with mats in the obstacle course. Most children will lay on their belly and roll towards their left side, using their right side to initiate the roll. By switching the direction of the obstacle course partway through, children will roll towards their right side now using their left side to initiate the roll, balancing the work on both sides of the body!

Spatial Awareness

This reversal of direction also supports younger children’s spatial awareness development as they problem solve how to move through each station from a new perspective. This may seem simple for older children or adults but for our littlest dancers, these are skills they need to practice. Later, this skill transfers over to their ability to face any direction while performing a dance- so you’ll see these benefits in your recitals and performances, too!

Learn more about what makes Intellidance® unique

The foundation of the Intellidance® Method is the combination of dance and music concepts, identifying specific vocabulary in dance and music, and developing the understanding of both through the connection between concepts. These connected concepts provide opportunities for children to explore, discover, practice, and create using multiple senses and intelligences. This is what makes the Intellidance® Method so unique!

Interested in learning more? Check out our website to continue reading about Intellidance® Method.