Until I began teaching the ‘little ones’, I had no idea the magic of utilizing props for teaching dance. The right prop can be amazingly helpful! I like to talk to other teachers to get ideas for their best props—props that teach the lesson without creating a distraction (so it’s probably not a good idea to use props from popular movies or that are a character, like Elsa from “Frozen”.)
Besides the props for our Magnificent Moving Kidz curriculum (shameless plug...sign up for the wait list here), we have even more that we use regularly. Here is how we use them, but don’t let yourself be limited to our ideas…
Hula hoops- Use for indicating a specific place for a pose or dance move. The hoop serves as a visual reminder that something is supposed to be performed inside the circle. Or, lay 2-3 differing colored hoops on the floor in a sequence and assign each color a pose or dance move. Gradually add more colors or specific counts for older groups.
Little plastic skeleton- Use for teaching anatomy.
Big plastic bowl and tennis ball- Introduce the pelvis (represented by the bowl) and it’s purpose of balance (represented by the tennis ball). Put the ball inside the ball, roll it around, and show how your balance shifts in your pelvis to keep you balanced and on your feet. You can also demonstrate what could happen when you ‘lose’ your balance and make a big ruckus with the bowl and ball crashing to the floor.
Orange cones- Create an obstacle course and utilize the cone for the start/end point or a specific shape or move. You can also indicate a floor pattern through the space for the students to follow (zig zag, diagonal, etc.) or teach formations like columns, staggered lines, semi-circle, etc.
Barbie doll- Demonstrate leaping.
Rectangular foam block or stuffed animal- Leap over. Make sure you have both high and low level options for the older kids (4 and up), low level only for 2-3 year olds.
Tape, tape, and more tape- Use a variety of colored electrical tapes for a variety of activities or to mark places for dancers to stand.
Bean bag friends- Dig out those old beanie toys and use them to balance on kiddos heads during pliés, arms in a la seconde position, or on lifted ankle in attitude. There are multitude of ways to use these but these should get you started.