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The other day at our local mom and tot's group had a workout day where we got to use exercise balls for a fun and active morning.  The next day I felt the pleasant ache of muscles that hadn't been used lately in my regular yoga & treadmill routine.  This made me think of how different kinds of music stretch different "muscles" in my brains and encourage me to move in different ways, and how Yummy's current love of Jazz music has stretched me to discover different artists that I wouldn't have bothered to listen to otherwise.  
After reading The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (SO GOOD!) for my book club, I downloaded The Best of Chris Barber, a British Jazz musician whose music career was pretty big in the 1950s and 60s.  While I wouldn't listen to it all night, it makes for some very fun dance parties in the kitchen.  
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Even Dooter came up with some new and interesting moves to this different kind of music.  My favourite: A bouncy, deep-knee bend with his hands bouncing in front of him and head bobbing along.  Yummy and I learned it quickly and added it in to our line up of bouncy jazz moves.
I love how this music has freshened up our dancing.  how about you?  Discovered any inspiring music lately?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

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When considering the letter "W" for an Alphabet Dance, I immediately thought of Wind.  There have been some insanely windy days out here lately, and with our lack of trees and buildings, we feel it in all it's glory.  

 
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Yummy and Dooter were due for another Alphabet Dance experience.  I chose the letter T this time, for Twirl & Twist.  We've been doing a lot of dancing to Christmas music in our house these days and Boney M really gets the kids moving.  Yummy's favourite is their version of Joy to The World.



 
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This post is part of my ongoing series, The Alphabet Dances, which you can find here.  For the letter 'U', I decided to create some ribbon wands as dancing props, something to physically dance under.  I used some wooden circles that I found at a thrift shop (you can likely find some at a dollar store or craft store) and simply tied long ribbons to each. 

 
The Sunday Showcase
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This post is part of a series called The Alphabet Dances where I am exploring the alphabet through movement and dance with my children.  Today it is Z for ZigZag (Yummy's letter choices seem to have no rhyme or reason), which seems like a perfect occasion to explore pathways.  

 
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The letter "E" was Yummy's next choice for an Alphabet Dance, so we got to experiment with the non-locomotor movement of EXPLODE!  

 
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I am starting a series called The Alphabet Dances, which is going to explore different elements of dance and give me and my children some exercise with our creative explorations.  I'd love to have you join us and let me know how your kids enjoy it!

 
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I recently saw these activity mats on amazon.com -they gave me the idea to make my own activity mats for dance.  I printed them out and laminated mine so we could use them often and even take them outside.

We turned on some music and I lay the laminated mats on the floor.  Yummy and I stepped from one to the next, exploring these different qualities of movement.  

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Ideas for extending the fun and learning:
  1. Try using different body parts (legs, arms, torso, head, shoulders, fingers, spine, etc.)
  2. Do the movements really slow or really fast
  3. Try out different levels: standing tall, crouching low, laying on the floor, etc.
  4. Repeat movements to make a pattern
  5. Take the movements and travel!  (walk backwards while punching bread, skip while catching a butterfly, etc)
Read on to get your free printable dance mats!

 
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If I didn't already know how fun it is to dance and be silly and free, then having kids surely convinced me it.  We have a LOT of dance parties at our house.  I am always amazed at the creativity Yummy shows in how she moves and the new ideas she comes up with, and Dooter, well, he's just plain cute when he dances.  Some of Yummy's latest dance moves include The Bread Punching dance and the Easter Egg dance.  Both involve a lot of strong arm movements.