Movement is at the very core of how children develop intellectually, emotionally, socially, and of course, physically. Here at Moving Smart we foster children's naturally move-to-learn style while helping parents and teachers understand the comprehensive benefits of all that wiggling!

That's why we say "A Moving Child is a Learning Child."

Saturday, December 7, 2013

KINETIC CHRISTMAS: Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Day 6
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
FROM HOPPING TO SKIPPING (Approximately 4+ years)

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With all the holiday music in the air, I've been thinking about the importance of dance for little ones. 

In our new book, A MovingChild Is a Learning Child, we describe dance as "a party for your body." That's because dance offers so many multi-faceted benefits. For instance…

Physically, dance challenges children to move their bodies in new and different ways. And even though it may not look like it sometimes, that means whole-body coordination, head to toe!

Socially, getting and staying in step with others is a big accomplishment. Set to music, the beat and rhythm provide the soundtrack for a powerful, physical sense of community.

Cognitively, remembering structured dance steps takes focus and concentration. 

And of course, emotionally... well, let the party begin!

For this activity, choose any music you like. I selected the classic Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree because the four-beat bar is upbeat, but not too fast for little ones to keep up with. There's a lot going on with this or any other structured dance, so take it slow, introduce one idea at a time and see how they get along before presenting the next step.

And note: if you have younger children, clapping or bobbing up and down to the beat is a great way to get ready for more coordinated dancing next Christmas.

So, gather everyone into a circle, hold hands, and let's get rockin'!

By Johnny Marks

Rocking around the Christmas Tree at the Christmas party...
Hold hands and walk/march/skip in a circle to the right.

Jump or hop in place.

Mistletoe hung where you can see. Ev'ry couple tries to...
Hold hands and walk/march/skip in a circle to the right.


Rocking around the Christmas Tree. Let the Christmas Spirit...
Hold hands and walk/march/skip in a circle in the other direction.

Raise your arms up and down to the beat (like ringing a bell).

Later we'll have some pumpkin pie and we'll do some
Rub your belly.

Shout "Hey!"

You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear,
Voices singing "Let's be jolly,"
Hold hands and sway back and forth from left to right, lifting the free foot off the floor if they can.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly"
Stop and sing "Deck the halls with boughs of holly."

Rocking around the Christmas Tree. Have a happy...
Hold hands and walk in a circle to the right.
Jump or hop in place.

Everyone's dancing merrily in a new old fashioned way
Free form dancing merrily!

Wishing you a happy, healthy, active holiday season!

From A Moving Child Is a Learning Child: How the Body Teaches the Brain to Think by Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy, copyright © 2013. Used with permission of Free Spirit Publishing Inc., Minneapolis, MN; 800-735-7323; All rights reserved.


  1. This whole series is great and so helpful. Thanks.

    1. So thrilled you are enjoying them Pennie. Thanks for writing! Happy holidays from the team at Moving Smart!