Tuesday, May 22, 2012

DANCING THROUGHOUT THE DAY Part 3: A Transition Activity


Part 3: A Transition Activity

Hello EC Community,

As a way to further my passion for offering many different dance opportunities to children, this blog entry is the third in a series of activities based on the daily routine of young children.  They are simple and ready to use!

Using playful movement activities, you can create fun transitions to use when leading children from place to place.  In addition, the tasks are useful to help refocus the child's energy as they progress to another part of the day, such as going from a lively activity to a quieter one, in order to help ease the children into the calmer state needed to concentrate on small-motor skills and related activities. Giving the child a movement task while he is making a transition can help to focus his attention and energy on completing the task.  This can help to make smoother transitions throughout the day, and happier children and teachers!
                           Tightrope Walker

Adapted from One, Two, What Can I Do?  Dance and Music for the Whole Day (Redleaf Press, 2011)


This transition activity can be done indoors or outside.  

Optional tools for this activity:  

*Masking tape, string or yarn, or chalk  

*A picture of a tightrope walker

Prepare for the activity:

To create the "tightrope" -- a straight line -- for the children to walk on, use masking tape on an uncovered floor, or string or yarn on a rug.  Hold one end of the string or yarn, and tie the other end to the leg of a desk or chair.  Use chalk if you do this activity outdoors.  The tightrope should be six to eight feet long, so that the children travel only a short distance the first time you try this transition activity.  Challenge the children to walk a longer tightrope if you repeat the activity.  Line up the children at the starting point:  for instance, in the hallway, outside, or at the classroom door.  Point out the destination.  You can say, We will all be walking from here, our starting point, to the door of the classroom, our destination.  Show the children a picture of someone walking a tightrope, if available.  

The activity:

Say to the children:

Have you ever seen a picture of a tightrope walker, or visited the circus and seen one in person?  Tightrope walkers have to have very good balance, don't they?  We're going to imagine we are walking on a very high and very narrow tightrope, which is this line of masking tape (or string or yarn).  Keep your eyes on your feet as you step on the tightrope.  Try to place your whole foot on the rope when you take a step, and then change to the other foot very carefully.  Don't try to go too fast -- it is important to take your time so you'll stay on the rope!  Hold your arms out wide at your sides to help you keep your balance.

I will clap my hands one time to let each of you know when it is your turn to climb high up the imaginary ladder and start across the tightrope.  When you get all the way to the end of the tightrope, imagine you are climbing down the long latter back to the ground.  Then sit down and watch the other tightrope walkers come across.

Start the children one by one.  Make sure a child is at least halfway across the tightrop before you cue the next child to begin.  

Once everyone has had a turn, finish the activity by saying: You all made it across!  Now let's stand up and take a big bow, imagining we just finished our tightrope show in the circus!


Follow up to this activity:

Once the children have completed this activity as described above, you can use the tightrope idea without the string or yarn.  For example, say to the children:  Let's imagine that there is a tightrope all of the way from this tree on the playground to the door where we will line up to go inside.  Proceed as above, asking each child to start one by one, and then sit or stand at the destination, watching the other tightrope walkers.


Next up in the DANCING THROUGHOUT THE DAY series: 

Part 4:  A Movement Exploration That Addresses English Language Arts

Keep on Dancin',


Copyright 2012, Connie Bergstein Dow



  1. simply brilliant!

  2. I love this! It's very much like the "walking on the line" activity in Montessori schools except for the tightrope-walker part. We often create a "line" with colored electrical tape on the floor. I pinned your post to my Circus Unit Study Pinterest board at http://pinterest.com/debchitwood/circus-unit-study/


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