Music is such an exciting time, especially for little ones. Sometimes our young group members get caught up in their excitement and lose their focus on what the rest of the group is doing. This can have a spiral effect and soon the group can feel out of control. How do we handle these situations?
First, it’s important to analyze why the event occurred. I find most often that it occurs during transitions, particularly when collecting instruments after doing a fun instrument play activity. During these transitions, I try to minimize these disruptions by talking throughout. You can reflect on what we just did, explain what we are going to do next, or simply facilitate dialogue between each group member as you collect their prop or instrument.
In those situations where you need a little extra help in regaining everyone’s focus, I like to turn to movement songs. This gives the children an opportunity to channel their excitement into a structured activity. Here are some of my favorite movement songs that reinforce on-task behavior.
The familiar melody of “We All Will Sing Together” will catch everyone’s attention! It is easy to adapt by changing the lyrics to whatever movement you want the group to do. You can also get group members involved by asking them what movement we should do next. I always like to use the last verse as a way to prepare for the next activity. For example, if we will be reading our storybook next, I will sing our last verse as “we all will sit and listen”.
“Move Your Body Along” is very similar to “We All Will Sing Together” in the way it brings the group back together. This song also provides opportunity for adaptation. I like to make the movements gradually get slower and simpler as the song goes on. This helps our bodies prepare to focus on our next activity. How many different movements can you come up with?
I have some groups that just love to move around! It can be very difficult to get them all to stay in one place. The stretchy band has become my secret to bringing this group back on-task.
“Movin’ in the Circle” utilizes the stretchy band to perform different movements such as up, down, out, and in. I like to use the stretchy band because it provides a central location for my very active participants to do their movements. Also, this song encourages everyone to coordinate their movements together!
Regaining the focus of a big group of little ones can be a challenge. These are just a few songs that I have found to be helpful in tackling that challenge. What techniques do you use to regain your groups’ focus? Let us know in the comments!