Barnyard Dance and Backyard Crabwalk

Monday, May 10, 2010

Grab Your Partner…

Barnyard Dance! (Boynton on Board)
“Stomp your feet! Clap your hands! Everybody ready for a barnyard dance?” The bouncy rhythm of Sandra Boynton’s Barnyard Dance is nearly impossible to read without dancing right along with it! T discovered clapping this weekend, which is an amusement in itself, but it prompted me to fish out Barnyard Dance from our board book bin in the living room. B loved listening to this one as an infant too, I think especially because I couldn’t help bouncing him in my lap and acting out some of the movements with his little hands. The book is not so much a story as a narration of a silly square dance caller in a barnyard full of animals where pigs twirl, ducks strut, and everybody promenades!

Physical Fun
All the action in Barnyard Dance lends itself to great physical development for your little one! Infants will love the rhythm, and by six months or so will likely bounce along on their own. “Helping” them with the movements as I did with T’s hands (and B’s before him) may help children learn about their muscle movements and the control of their limbs. Toddlers and preschoolers can practice both large muscle coordination and language processing if you read the book as directions for them to follow and complete the dance for you. B loved this activity, which prompted me to come up with a new game (see below).

Big Box of Boynton: Barnyard Dance! Pajama Time! Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs!If you don’t already have a shelf of Boynton books like I do, you might check out this pack from Amazon. It’s a good deal for a lot of fun!

Appropriate for babies, toddlers, preschoolers.

Roll the Dice…

 B had so much fun acting out the dance movements as I read to T that I decided to turn it into a game we could play beyond the book. Together, we came up with 6 movements he could do and 6 locations in our backyard. Our choices for actions were crabwalk, run, spin, flap, hop, and waddle. Our locations choices were sandbox, swing, gate, garden, playhouse, and basketball net. (You could just as easily make these locations in your house for a rainy day, or the classroom, or a park, etc.) I used a Dice Template from Sparkle Plus resources and cardstock, but he enjoyed this so much I may make a more durable version using foam cubes from the craft store or some other cube shaped object destined for the recycle bin. I made one cube for action and one cube for location. Complete directions for the dice are below. Once I completed the dice, we took them outside to play. We had a blast being silly, and we both got our hearts pumping! I can also see this game keeping B busy while I fix dinner or get a little clean-up done around the house by modifying the location cube for indoors (Most of our chores would allow for occasional breaks to roll the dice, right?)

How to Create the Game:
Materials Needed: Sparkle Plus dice template, cardstock or heavy paper, scissors, pen/marker, glue or tape.
  1. Print the template on plain paper for tracing (what I did) or directly onto your cardstock.
  2. Trace the template onto at least two pieces of cardstock (expansions are endless!)
  3. Cut out each traced template.
  4. On the first template, write and/or draw an action on each surface. I chose to write the actions accompanied by simple drawings to help my pre-reader.
  5. On the second template, write and/or draw a location on each surface. Note: be careful to keep your pictures and labels from flowing onto the flaps which will be folded in during assembly.
  6. Fold in flaps and edges of each of the cube surfaces (a straight edge is helpful if your paper is really stiff).
  7. Glue or tape flaps to secure.
  8. Go Play!
Options and Benefits:
If you wanted to avoid the crafty part of this game, or if you were working on number recognition, you could play the game with a pair of standard dice and a numbered list of actions and locations. Then your child would count the dots on the die and match them to the corresponding numeral before completing the action. This game can contribute to physical development much like Barnyard Dance noted above. Children practice large muscle movements for the various actions as well as language processing. Depending on how you prepare your materials, they can also practice word/picture correspondence or numerals.

The Game in Action:

Give it a try and let me know how it goes! If you think of some other fun actions to add to your dice, please share! I can see this game growing and growing!


Chels May 14, 2010 at 8:27 PM  

This would be exciting for my son-- he loves games and being active!
Thanks for the comment on my blog (have a fun roadtrip) and for following too! I see that you're a new blogger! Welcome! ☺

welcome to our wonderland May 15, 2010 at 5:50 AM  

LOVE that book and that game is a great idea! July 20, 2010 at 7:19 AM  

Love Barnyard Dance and better yet the children love it. When we do Pre-School Staff Trainings we actually use this book and sing it to the tune of Turkey In The Straw. Thanks for the game idea. :)

polwig August 23, 2010 at 4:13 PM  

This is such a cute game and the recycled dice would be a great way to add some craft to physical activity. I guess its time to think of more animals and games.

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