Friday, July 22, 2016

What's Bugging You? Summertime Dance Activities About Bugs and Insects!

Happy Summer!

Here are some fun movement activities that are based on bugs and insects.*  Many of them can be done outside, and would work well for a school or day camp activity for young children.  They can be used as brain breaks, transitions, or a whole morning or afternoon's theme for creative play.


Several lively musical selections, and/or songs about bugs

Paper and crayons 

Craft Project:   Plastic headbands, pipe cleaners, beads,  curling ribbon, and/or other items to decorate antennae
(See photo below)

1.  Bug Dance and Freeze

Play one of the musical selections

Ask the children to dance while the music is playing

Stop the music throughout the song.  Call out a different bug each time, and ask the children to freeze in the shape of that bug.

Finish the game by asking the children to freeze in the shape of their favorite bug.

2.  Warm Up

Sitting on the floor in a circle:

Curl in and out like a pill bug.  Then try it lying down.

Roll onto your back, and imagine you are a bug that is stuck.  Move your arms and legs as many ways as you can.
Imagine you are a bug that is stuck on its back!

Roll from side to side like a role-poly bug, then bring yourself back up to sitting.

Inch around the circle like a caterpillar, and end up back where you started

Imagine you are a spider, going up and down (from floor to standing) on your silver thread.  Do it several times, finishing standing.

Imagine you are a little cricket.  First do small bounces, then do little bouncy jumps.  Always bend your knees when you land from a jump!

3.  Large Motor Skills Practice

March like hard-working ants!

Tiptoe like a very quiet bug

Walk fast in a zigzag pattern like a spider

Turn around like a caterpillar spinning a cocoon

Hop and jump like a grasshopper as it goes from one blade of grass to another

Run and swoop like a moth as it flies around a bright light at night

Skip and gallop like a water bug skimming across a pond

Leap like a butterfly taking off and landing 

4.  Opposites

Play another musical selection.  Ask the children:

Can you dance slowly like a caterpillar?  Now can you dance fast like a bumblebee?

Can you dance smoothly and gracefully like a butterfly, then in a zigzag, herky-jerky way like a housefly?

Can you dance quietly like a spider, the loudly like a buzzing mosquito?

Can you glide like a centipede, then bounce and hop like a jumping water bug?

Can you move like you have little tiny legs like a small spider, and then as if you have great big legs like a daddy longlegs?

Can you hop like a small cricket?  Now can you hop like a giant grasshopper?

5.  Craft Project

Take a break from dancing to make colorful and fun antennae.  Use the materials described above.  Help each child to string beads on two pipe cleaners and then twist them onto the headband.  Use whatever other materials you have to add extra decorations.

Draw a Bug and Dance!

Ask the children to think about all of the bugs they have danced about.  Then, ask each child to draw an imaginary bug, with all of his or her favorite ideas combined into one bug!

Play a musical selection, and prompt the children to dance like their imaginary bug would move, while wearing the antennae they made.

Finish the activity by asking:  How would a bug bow?

I hope your little ones had fun dancing about bugs!

Keep on dancin'!


Moving is Learning!

*Ideas based on the 5-session unit called Busy Bugs: A Multilayered Movement Study, from my book One, Two, What Can I Do?  Dance and Music for the Whole Day, published by Redleaf Press.


  1. Nice ideas - I'm sure my kiddos will have fun with them. Would love to have suggestions for "Several lively musical selections, and/or songs about bugs." As the daughter of an entomologist, I'm surprised that spiders are included in this activity. Though both are invertebrates, a spider is not an insect.

  2. Hi Brigid, Thanks for your comment! Yes, I just was including spiders loosely in the activity, but I appreciate the clarification. Some songs about bugs I like to use are "La Cucaracha" (I have versions in both English and Spanish that are kid-friendly), Laurie Berkner's "Doodlebugs" and "Flight of the Bumblebee."


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