Dancing with Dinosaurs
It's one of the kids' (and teachers!) favourite themes of the year - DINOSAURS! And in this week's lesson, we're going to be using Laurie Berkner's song "We are the Dinosaurs" to march around like dinosaurs and drum along to the beat. The song also gives me a chance to use the new Rocking the Playroom Music Appreciation Cards - get your free printable of the cards to use at home here!
Music Appreciation - "We are the Dinosaurs"
I recently created a printable set of music appreciation cards that I'm offering all my Rocking the Playroom subscribers for free. If you haven't already, I'd love for you to subscribe, and you'll get an electronic copy of the cards to use at home, or in your classroom to help your kids appreciate and describe the music that they're listening to.
For this lesson, show the kids the different cards, and then stick them up where all the children can see them.
Play "We are the Dinosaurs" and tell the children to listen carefully to the song - is it loud, or is it soft? Is it fast or slow? How does the song make you feel? Use the cards as visual cues for each description.
The song changes quite dramatically from chorus to verses, so the children will have to choose one card for one section, then choose a different card for the next section. Allow for a few different answers, particularly for the "feelings" category.
The music appreciation exercise will help the children to get to know the song. Mention that the song makes you want to march because of the drum beat. And then when the drum stops and the piano starts, the music becomes more flowing and peaceful for the dinosaurs to "stop and take a rest".
"We are the Dinosaurs" Dance
Start by practicing the moves that the children will do in the song.
Ask the children to stand in a circle and then get them to practice marching in a circle, to the left. Get them to use big steps, lifting their knees up high. Tap out a beat on a drum and get the children to march to this beat.
Then get them to stop and get down on all fours, like a dinosaur grazing on grass.
Stand up again and march to the right. Once the children have got the idea of marching to a regular beat, add some rhythm, using the words, "I'm | a | din-o-saur", or the count "1-, 1-, 1-2,3-". (The idea is to copy the rhythm of the snare drum in the song - the snare is the drum that starts the song - so listen to the song for more guidance on the rhythm I'm aiming at here!).
Then get the children to stop and kneel down and pretend to go to sleep, like a dinosaur in their "nest".
Play Laurie Berkner's "We are the Dinosaurs" on the music player and move as follows:
- For the first section (we are the dinosaurs, marching, marching...), march to the rhythm of the snare drum, to the left.
- For the next section (we stop and eat our food...), get down on all fours, like a dinosaur grazing on some grass.
- Stand up when you hear the snare drum again and get the children to march to the right (we are the dinosaurs...).
- Kneel down and pretend to be sleeping and rock from side to side (we stop and take a rest...).
- Stand up and march to the left again.
- Give a big ROAR at the end!
Drumming with Dinosaurs
If possible, show the children a real snare drum, or a video of one.
Give each child a bucket drum (a drum made out of a small bucket, or a coffee or baby formula tin). Ask them to tap out the "I'm - a - din-o-saur" beat on the drum. They should ideally alternate hands as they're tapping. This is the rhythm they'll play in the marching section of the song.
Then ask them to tap their fingers on the drum - lightly, but very quickly, as if they're tickling someone! This should make a gentle sound like rain falling on a tent. This is the rhythm they'll play during the quiet sections of the song when the dinosaurs are eating and resting.
Play "We are the dinosaurs" on the music player again and get the children to play along on their drums.
Looking for more fun musical activities to do with your kids?
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