I am delighted to introduce the first of a series of guest blogs from Children’s Sports advocates, Sport4Kids for Mumsnet Berkshire. This brilliant local company offer a variety of sports and energy-busting activities for little ones, ranging from dance to football and rugby. To start this great series off, is Marie Willoughby, Head of Dance at Sport4Kids, to explain the many benefits of children’s dance classes.
8 Benefits of Toddler & Children’s Dance Classes
Childhood obesity is still a growing issue in the UK and getting toddlers and kids into healthy habits from a young age is essential to improving the issue. Dance is a fantastic way to engage both boys and girls in having fun, learning new movements and skills, breaking into performance and building confidence. The benefits to health are both mental and physical and dance can even have a positive effect on life skills (being a smooth mover on the dance floor can’t be a bad thing…). Check out our 8 benefits of introducing your child to dance below…
BENEFITS OF DANCE CLASSES
- It’s Fun…
Dancing is so much fun, the children won’t even realise that they are exercising at the same time! Toddler and children’s dance classes will often have dynamic sessions that are fun, engaging and framed around children’s stories and characters with lots of props to play with.
- It’s not JUST for girls…
While dance has traditionally been viewed as a feminine activity, the rise of dance groups such as Diversity have increased participation amongst the boys – in short – dance is for everyone! It is an activity that boys and girls of any ability can get involved in, even if your child is not necessarily ‘sporty’ or enjoys sports, it’s a must try.
- Healthy Body & Healthy Mind
Physical– Through pulse raising games, anaerobic exercises, skills and technique, the body will improve on energy levels, muscular endurance, strength, flexibility, balance and coordination.
Body Awareness – As toddlers and children grow and adapt to the dance movements and styles they will become more aware of their body and how it can move. This will in turn improve on the control of their bodies and thus their balance and posture.
Mental – Sport is a fantastic way to build confidence in children and dance can definitely help with this, as well as their self-esteem, attentiveness and even maintaining memory through mastering new skills and routines.
Emotional – Finding a toddler and children’s dance class provider that offers a safe environment where children can enter the space and are able to freely express themselves either through free play, improvisation, explorative exercises or choreography challenges for our older children can be amazing. It can help them feel joy and express things that they may not be able to verbally.
- Relationships & Friendships
Toddler dance classes encourage relationship building between children, coaches and parents. From personal experience many lifelong friends can be found in such classes as you can really create a special bond especially in group tasks and creative tasks in dance.
Parents can also stay and watch their child dance and witness their learning and therefor build a stronger relationship through a shared experience with their child and other parents.
- Dance isn’t just Tutus!
While many girls and boys like to pop on a tutu – most dance classes offer variety. Many are not style specific, which is highly beneficial so that the children can experience new ways of moving, new rhythms and beats. As the children advance, more emphasis will be put upon technique and skills and new dance terms will be introduced to reflect the style and to expand their dance vocabulary. Body alignment and foot placements follow the basics of ballet technique, which will guide them in executing movements safely and effectively. However, a lot of the tricks and floor skills in the older classes are breakdance based and are actually moves they would learn in gymnastics.
- Creative Expression
Finding a children’s dance class that starts from toddler age can offer a creative platform for child development. Of course introducing a creative activity such as dance at any stage during childhood can assist with creativity too! We want to help build the imagination and creativity in your young ones, allowing them to have a creative input in the dancing process as they progress through a dancing curriculum. This will in turn encourage communication and confidence.
- New Cultures
Dance can introduce new cultures through style, music, costume and props that are not encountered in every day life. From Bollywood India to Flamenco Spain and African Bhangra to Brazilian Samba – there is so much to learn!
- Life Skills
Aside from providing boys with snake hips, any dance class worth its salt that hosts children and toddlers will also teach valuable skills in their sessions; skills that can be transferable to any future educational or career paths such as communication, listening skills and team work.
Introducing toddlers to dance at a young age and encouraging pre-school children and primary age kids to get involved is a great way to keep healthy and encourage an active lifestyle from an early age. Music is everywhere and therefore dance can be everywhere too – just switch on the radio in your car and watch your little ones boogie away – there is nothing better!
Marie Willoughby is Head of Dance at Sport4Kids. She first began performing as an athlete and rhythmic gymnast but later found her true passion in dance. Her background in dance steers towards Musical Theatre and Contemporary Dance. A garaduate of Kingston University with a degree in Dance and Social Sciences, Marie has trained in a vast range of styles including Modern, Jazz, Ballet, Street Dance, Break Dance, Indian, African, Wushu and even Sword.
Discover more about Sports4Kids and the classes they offer at Sport4Kids.