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Fun Music and Movement Activities for Preschoolers

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There are so many benefits to music and movement activities for preschoolers. Plus, they’re a lot of fun! Music activities encourage preschool students to build cognitive skills, develop motor skills, and be physically active.

It’s easy to add musical activities to your preschool lesson plans this school year.

Discover my favorite movement activity to do in the classroom and music and movement activities for preschoolers to do at home. Then, get ready to get up, get moving, and make music with your kids this school year!

music and movement activities for preschoolers

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My Favorite Music Activities for the Preschool Classroom

My favorite music activities for the preschool classroom promote development in key learning areas and help to create an effective learning environment for all students.

Another requirement for the music and movement activities I incorporate in my lessons is that they include fun songs and creative movement activities. Children of all ages can benefit from musical activities, but I think they’re particularly effective for preschoolers.

The best classroom musical activities can enhance learning, improve transition times, capture your students’ attention, and help them to learn something new. Check out a few of my favorite music and movement activities below.

Dance Break

Sometimes a dance break is exactly what you need when you’re teaching a challenging new concept. Dance breaks are perfect for giving preschool students a chance to reset or move around. 

In my preschool classroom, I like to use The Brain Break Dance from The Kiboomers. You can play your favorite tunes and encourage students to get up out of their seats to move along with the music.

A quick game of freeze dance is another fun way to have a dance break in the classroom too.

Memory Songs

You are probably already using some memory songs in your preschool classroom. If you’ve taught your students to sing counting songs or practice the letters of the alphabet with the ABC song, you’re singing memory songs. 

Head Shoulders Knees and Toes is a really fun memory song you can use to help kids learn their body parts. Plus, it encourages them to explore music and movement at varying speeds.

My favorite song to teach math skills and counting during the holiday season is The Twelve Days of Christmas. This memory song is an excellent way to help your preschoolers build memory skills, practice counting, and even explore history by learning about the lyrics.

movement songs for preschool

Other favorite memory songs include Five Little Ducks, The Ants Go Marching, and Ten in the Bed. 

Musical Painting

Painting to music gives kids a chance to interpret and process sensory information. They can also take some ownership of the music by creating their impressions through art.

Preschoolers will begin to understand the connection between the things they hear and experience and how they can affect their feelings and actions. 

I like exploring different types of music through musical painting.

For example, classical music can help preschoolers to create a very different painting from art created while listening to different sounds and other musical instruments. It’s also a great way to practice fine motor skills and develop strong listening skills at the same time!

Bucket Drum Activities

Bucket drum activities are so much fun! You’ll need a 5-gallon bucket and two drumsticks to begin. 

Help your preschoolers develop hand-eye coordination and explore playing the drums with this exciting music activity. Bucket drumming helps kids develop motor control and learn about rhythm too.

Egg Shaker Songs

Egg shakers are one of my favorite musical instruments for preschoolers. Kids love shaking along to all our favorite preschool songs. Plus, it always sounds like music so it’s a great way to give kids success early in their experience with instruments.

Some of my favorite egg shaker songs for preschoolers include BINGO, Shake and Stop, and Herman the Worm. My students just love singing along, shaking their eggs, and giggling with these silly preschool songs!

The Benefits of Music and Movement Activities for Preschoolers

There are many benefits to music and movement activities for preschoolers. Children can build social, cognitive, and motor skills as they sing and move along with the music in these types of activities.

Below are just a few benefits young children will develop if you incorporate these kinds of music activities into your lesson plans. 

Motor Skills

Young kids will use large and small muscle groups during a movement activity. Movements like bouncing, clapping, stomping, dancing, or jumping encourage children to explore healthy physical activity in a way that’s fun and engaging for them.

Fine motor skills can be practiced with musical activities like playing instruments or participating in finger-play songs. 

Music and movement activities for preschoolers also encourage children to explore their own movements. They begin to better understand how their bodies work and what they are capable of doing. This kind of physical awareness helps preschoolers develop coordination and confidence in their independence.

Language Development

Music and movement activities also support healthy language development for preschool learners. Kids can build phonological awareness and practice letter recognition as they sing along with musical activities like the alphabet song or clap along to syllable games. 

Singing songs is also a phenomenal way for preschoolers to learn new words and memorize new concepts. Your students will be chanting rhymes and increasing their comprehension skills as they listen to music and sing along with songs in the classroom and at home. 

These fall songs for infants to preschool aged kids are a perfect introduction to chants you should try during your next circle time!

Social Skills

Practice social skills and encourage healthy social development through music and movement activities with your students. Your students can learn to take turns, follow the rules, share, and even how to clean up toys from songs and music in the classroom. Plus, the rhythm of the music helps us to focus, release tension, and regulate our own emotions. Not to mention, it’s a great way to get those preschool wiggles out! 

Memory Skills

Want to help your kids remember something? Teach it with a song. Musical activities make it so much easier for students to remember. For example, the alphabet song and counting songs make it easy for preschoolers to learn and practice these important concepts.

Healthy Physical Activity

Encouraging healthy physical activity for kids of all ages is important. Music and movement activities for preschoolers are a great way to get your children up and moving around the room.

You can use them to encourage fitness in the classroom, at home, and outside. It’s an easy way to help your children develop healthy habits and stay active well into adulthood.

Incorporate an Indoor or Outdoor Movement Activity

The music activities I mentioned above are all great musical activities you can do in the classroom, but what about music and movement activities for preschoolers to do outside? After all, getting preschoolers outside has tons of benefits too!

These days, it’s easy to pass an entire day without going outside. However, any teacher will tell you the students do so much better when they can get outside, spend time in nature, and find entertainment in the natural world. But how can you get reluctant kids to step away from the screens and fall in love with nature?

Taking music and movement activities outdoors is a great way to engage your kids with nature through play. No matter what time of year it is, there’s a fun movement activity you can use to spend more time outside with your preschoolers. Check out some of my favorites below.

Musical Hopscotch

Hopscotch is a great game for helping preschoolers develop gross motor skills and practice body control. Kids will build strength, balance, coordination, and more as they play. Once your preschool learners have mastered a traditional hopscotch game, you can make it more fun by playing in different ways. 

Musical hopscotch is a fun way to add rhythm skill building to the mix while strengthening brain body connections with your students.

Movement games like this can be played a bit like freeze dance by having children stop hopping when the music stops or you could encourage kids to hop in time with the music using simple songs like nursery rhymes. 

Jumping Animals

The Jumping Animals Game will help kids develop balance, coordination, and motor skills. To play, preschoolers pretend to be different animals jumping around the classroom. How would a kangaroo or an elephant jump?

music and movement activities for preschoolers

Add music to the game to make it even more fun! The Jump Around song from Maple Leaf Learning. It will encourage your preschool students to walk like an elephant, fly like a bat, and jump around like a kangaroo. 

Marching to the Beat

Have you tried marching with your preschoolers? It is so much fun for little ones! Marching to the beat is a movement game that will help your kids practice following directions and mimicry. 

Plus, it’s one of my favorite fun activities for exploring concepts like rhythm and timing in music. Just play a song and show your preschoolers how to march to the beat around the playground or backyard.

Ring Around the Rosies

Ring Around the Rosies is a fun music and movement activity for preschoolers that will help them learn to work together as they move about in a circle. Students will need to fall down at the same time, in time with the lyrics for this classic movement game to work well. 

Musical Activities You Can Do At Home with Preschool Children

Many of the musical activities I’ve shared will work in the classroom or at home, but there are definitely a few music and movement activities that work better in a home setting. If you’re looking for games and activities that don’t require many children, try some of my favorite music activities you can do at home.

Dancing with Silk Scarves is a fun way to encourage children to get creative by moving with the music. You can also sing songs like Going On A Bear Hunt from The Kiboomers. It has fun actions for your child to participate in as you sing together. 

music and movement activities

Preschoolers can also learn to clap to the beat of music. Familiar children’s songs that encourage clapping are songs like Patty Cake and Rockin Robin. 

Another fun idea is to build a musical obstacle course in your living room. You can use sofa cushions, throw pillows, blankets, and chairs to create a fun obstacle course set to music. It’s the perfect way to spend a rainy day together!

What are some of your favorite music and movement activities for preschoolers? Do you have any fun musical activities I didn’t mention? 

Tell me all about your favorite movement game or music activity in the comments. I can’t wait to read them and try a few of your favorites with my preschool students too!

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